Oct 7th, 2009
The remarkably clear weather I had enjoyed up to this point simply couldn’t last. Something had to give. And give it did, welcoming me to Paris with a steady rain that melted newspapers to the pavement and sent tourists running for doorways. Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arche de Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, all seen through a darkened haze of falling rain.
Walking the streets, this city’s culture is exuded from every street corner, but none more than the sidewalks of Montmartre. As the rain clears for the next two days, I wander these close, quiet streets eating crepes, drinking the best espresso I’ve ever had with a single sugar cube, and taking photos in black and white. The photo setting feels natural to capture the monochrome of pervasive stone architecture and damp fall colors muted by steady overcast skies.
The longer I stay, the more I find myself falling into the listless pattern of lounging in cafes, aimlessly wandering through shops, or simply sitting on the windowsill of my hostel room. By now, my final day, I’m glad to leave, having sat in all the sidewalk cafes I care to, anxious to be free of the claustrophobic streets. I’m given a send-off though; I spend the evening on the windowsill of the hostel again, talking and laughing with my roommates, a kid from the states here to study theater and an Indian in his early twenties. We drink bottles of beer, eat quiche, listen to World War II-era swing music, and watch over the rooftops of Montmartre as a storm once again washes the streets clean. The city of lights shines back at us as night falls one more time, residents passing its streets unhurriedly as the storm relents, on their way to a characteristically late dinner. This is what makes Paris.