Yesterday morning I was walking between meetings when I had a uniquely Parisian moment. It was raining, as it often is in October, the car next to me had just honked its displeasure at the car in front of it, as they often do, and I was in the process of dodging some dog poo that had been left on the sidewalk, as often happens. Typical Monday morning in Paris. And in and amongst the rain, honking cars, and dog poo, I happened to glance to my left. And there, beautifully framed between two Haussmannian buildings, was a truly stunning view of the Eiffel Tower. In that moment I had a thought. I can never take this for granted.
Of course, I then continued on, trudging through the rain to my next meeting. But it got me thinking. What are the things that I never want to take for granted about living in Paris. Not what do I love about it. What do I want to make sure that I always take the time to appreciate. What are the little things that could easily become mundane, but are actually quite extraordinary. Unsurprisingly, the list that I came up with was quite long.
First and foremost, I never want to take for granted the fact that I live in Paris. It has been a long journey to this point, but along the way, I’m constantly reminded that I’m living the dream of millions of people around the world. And as much as I love to complain about the bureaucracy of France, all the paperwork is worth it to live in a city that I truly love.
And then there is the art and culture. Don’t worry. I’m not going to pontificate yet again on how much I love museums. Although I never want to take for granted the extraordinary variety of art and culture that I have at my fingertips. But more important than that, I never want to take for granted the fact that I live in a city (and country) that truly values art and culture in general. I’ve lived in cities where this is not the case, so I know the difference. Paris is truly special in this regard.
And then there’s the every day things that are so easy to get used to. Like the fact that I have five different bakeries within a three minute walking radius of my home. Or the fact that Paris has one of the most robust public transportation systems in the world. And I certainly don’t want to ever take for granted the cafes and brasseries on every street corner.
But above all else, I don’t want to take for granted moments like yesterday morning. When I can glance to my left and casually take in a view of one of the world’s most famous landmarks. I have given tours in the past where people have literally started to cry upon seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, because they’ve been dreaming of that moment their whole lives. But me? I can see it whenever I want. And you know what? Yesterday morning that view still took my breath away. I hope that never changes.
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.