Mimes roller blading on the Quai of the Seine
Statue of Liberty
Jardin des Plantes
Canal St Martin
When clothing stores start taking over boulangeries.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
It wasn’t mine!
La Grande Mosquée de Paris
A fountain tucked away from a sidewalk in the Marais
Jardin du Luxembourg; my usual spot for lunch
Fashion Night Out, Paris, 2012
The Spectacle of the Great Water Jets, at Versailles. This was one of many of the smaller fountains at Versailles that were concealed inside the maze.
La Basilique du Sacre Coeur where I attended mass for the first time in ages.
Yesterday was the first time i came so close to the Tour Eiffel
Every hour, on the hour, Gustave Eiffel rolls over in his grave.
A few days ago, I happened upon my program’s guidebook to studying abroad in Paris, which had a photograph of the Eiffel Tower on the cover. The photograph was taken from the less standard angle in which the photographer takes a photo from underneath the tower. The result, is similar to what you see below- a photo of two of the Eiffel Tower’s legs and the underbelly of the tower- with all of the beautiful golden lace-like-design contrasting from the solid colored-blue sky.
This image with its unconventional and close up view of the great monument ignited a memory. At first vague but then, as I remembered where and when I this memory came from, I realized I had been very acquainted with a similar view of the Eiffel Tower. I had been right underneath the Eiffel Tour, cornered in the hollow of its legs. That was once upon a time in a video game.
I must have been in the third grade, as I can imagine myself in Ms. X’s class talking about it will a classmate and knowing it was around the year when playstation2 was in its glory days. What I knew about Paris at that point, I’m guessing, had all been acquired through movies. I must justify this as I don’t want my 8 year old self sounding uncultured. I don’t think we were taught European history by third grade nor was I researching images and information about Paris on AOL. Thus, I think I can say with some confidence that I didn’t really have a clear image of what Paris was like. Not the way you can so easily form an image of a far and distant place thanks to Google Earth, blogs, the travel channel, etc.
The game I’m referring to is called “Twisted Metal”. I won’t get into details but it was a car game with the objective of destroying the other player’s car (I really mean killing the driver inside. It was pretty violent.) I assume that to make it interesting you would have the option of playing in different cities- like Moscow, Tokyo, some boring place in America and Paris. I actually preferred to kill my opponent in Paris- I loved trying to find them in the narrow streets, looking at the little shops I drove by, or driving down les grands boulevards. You could even visit the Eiffel Tour, be transported to its upper levels, blow it up (!), watch a mime perform on the streets and even run him over.
I had long forgotten about this game by 5th grade and hardly have given it a thought since then. But that image on the front cover of my guidebook triggered this memory that is now so vivid in my mind’s eye. I wonder if my entire life has been driven towards getting me to Paris. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I was never one that dreamt of living in Paris (mostly because I never thought it was possible) until a little more than a year ago. I now wonder that my going to Paris is the result of outside [French] influences that have accumulated within me over the years:
a vision of Paris in a video game, followed by a viewing of Mary Kate & Ashley’s A Passport To Paris, realizing the chic’ness of Parisians through those posh-woman-at-a-cafe graphic (you know the drawing of a disproportionately thin French (maybe?) woman in a cute outfit walking her small dog or sitting at a cafe), the allure of European transportation through “Barbie with Vespa”, being taught in high school by a teacher obsessed with the French language and Paris (and Jackie Kennedy), reading a 1000 page book on the history of France, having a friend who spoke French, watching Amelie for the first time and loving it, thinking of going to fashion school where French classes were mandatory, being accepted and attending a school with a renown Paris study abroad program…
And each time that I kept these experiences in my “French repertoire”, instead of rejecting them, I was getting closer and closer to sealing my fate as une fausse-Parisienne (and conversely, farther and farther away from an alternative, eschewed path).
Which makes me wonder, what will happen once I get back from Paris?