Friday, June 20, 2008

Planning Paris: Part One

Sebastian Munster (attributed) - Lutetia, vulgari nomine Paris, urbs Gallia maxima (Paris), from Cosmographia, 1569

Paris, 2008

'Begin at the beginning,' the King said, very gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Typically, at the beginning of their courtship, a pair of lovers will spend inordinate amounts of time quizzing each other (usually to a chorus of disingenuously flirtatious glances) about their pasts. My question is: Why should things be any different with a city one has fallen in love with?

As I begin planning my next trip to Paris, my mind is pleasantly agitated by what I have learned about it (I want to say "her" - perhaps next time I will) from books and, more powerfully, by my memories of her (there - I've said it!) from previous trysts. One nourishes; the other arouses. One conjures her through the eyes of strangers; the other by means of fragrant reveries.

I feel for the person who is unable - or, even worse, unwilling - to lavish a city with affectionate, immoderate curiosity. I pity them because every question they fail to ask is yet another faltering step in what should be a mutual seduction.

C'est la vie? . . . Not for me.

Musique Du Jour: My Favourite Letter is U, Uni and Her Ukelele (aka Heather Marie Ellison)