Written: September 11, 2012, my first day in Paris
Location: Rue des Gobelins, 13th arrondissement, Paris
Overlooking a large wooden window with cast iron rails, I gaze down on a quaint classic Parisian street where the sound of kids playing creates a harmonious echo that is winding down Rue des Gobelins. The street is small but timeless.
Shop owners eat on fold out chairs and greet familiar faces and strangers alike with a subtle “bonjour”. The sounds of Paris come to life on this street. It is everything I ever imagined it to be. As I look down, the light September breeze flows into the room and swoops the delicate drapes.
The late afternoon sunlight creates the perfect ambience, cast and reflected over a breathtaking Parisian building across the street, fit with a renovated antiquated wooden door and small attic windows on the top floor. Windows are open, boundaries are non-existent, everyone is enjoying the day. The streets below are cobblestone and darkened by a previous rainstorm, yet gradually getting lighter as the sun gains power.
This window provides a new perspective on life. The smells are different, the sights are rejuvenating, and the feeling of being alive, present, and vulnerable are vivid.
The small studio I am in is classic Parisian: a third floor walk up, kitchenette, twin bed, wooden beamed ceiling, and a tiny bathroom. There is no air conditioner but no air conditioner is needed. The two large windows grant access to both sunlight and fresh air and provide two small cracked wooded windowsills to sit. The perfect spot for a new observer, learning, watching, embracing. As I think back to where I was 12 hours before, the realization hits me. This is the window to my new Parisian life.