Monday, September 14, 2009

The Older the Better. Always.

When people think of Paris, I'm sure they must think of gorgeous facades, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees...lots of postcard-y images that Hollywood throws at us. The Paris that I think of is the one seen through the eyes of Victor Hugo. In my head, Paris is The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, a world that does not put on a show for anyone. I so desperately wanted to find traces of that world still left in post-Haussmann Paris. Is it odd that I find Paris a litttle TOO beautiful? That's why it gives me such a thrill when I come across a little side street that looks as if no one has altered it since the Middle Ages. These streets were not designed with aesthetics in mind and I find them more beautiful because of that. I was wandering around St.Germain-des-Pres one day and I wandered into an antique book store. I always breath out a huge sigh of contentment when I enter a bookstore; I honestly can't think of anything more comforting than a well-worn book. It gives me great joy to think of all the other hands that have turned these pages before me, as if we were all joining in on some great secret. Perusing through the book stacks, I almost cried aloud when I found an old copy of Les Miserables from 1867 (5 years after its original publication.) I quickly put the book in some covert and discreet corner where (hopefully) no one will think to look. I cannot fully explain why but I feel such immense relief knowing that that book is there. Maybe it is because some old bits and pieces of Paris will always shine through when one takes the time to look.

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