Jaded in Paris. Isn’t That Pathetic? Or Not?
(Photos by Patty Sadauskas, Paris on a Dime)
I’ve gotten so jaded and I hate that. I promised myself when I first moved to Paris that I’d never take the city for granted…but alas, it happens. Last night at dinner with two journalist friends who have also lived here a long time, agreed. One was recently asked to write a story titled “My Paris” by her internationally respected journal and she confessed she almost didn’t know what to write. The sights, sounds and smells that were once exciting and exhilarating, become just “every day” and not “that big a deal.”
Isn’t that pathetic?
When I ride the bus, instead of peering out the window at all the beautiful sights, I find myself glued to playing a dumb game of Scrabble on my iPhone or talking to someone. I used to ferret out new restaurants and make a point of trying them. Now, I just land in my old favorites where the waitstaff know me and I can count on what to order. I once vowed to see every single exhibition the city offered and did — but, now I miss too many that shouldn’t be missed. When the Eiffel Tower sparkled on the hour, I used to sparkle with it. Now, I don’t even give it another thought. I’ve stopped taking pictures on the streets — don’t I already have a zillion photos of Notre Dame or the Luxembourg Gardens?
Isn’t that pathetic?
This is what happens when you’ve lived here so long that the newness wears off, and what used to be a new adventure becomes routine. But, the truth is that Paris is still so addictive, that I can’t really imagine ever giving it up…maybe for a few weeks, maybe even for a few months, but never, never forever. Even though I share my love and affection with the Riviera city of Nice, I don’t love Paris any less…it’s like having two children you love equally, even if they are so different from one another.
“La Maladie” is what I’ve always called the Paris addiction. Those who don’t have it may never understand it even when explained to them in as good detail as possible, but those who do have it, know exactly what I mean. The City of Light gets under your skin, like a heroine addiction you just can’t live without it, jaded or not.
There is also something really settling and cozy about knowing the city so well, that it’s no longer the dream you once had — because it’s real and in spite of it’s foibles, is still lovable. I might curse the over-entangled bureaucracy, detest some of the politicians, abhor the ridiculous regulations that tie one into knots, bore of the crappy weather, become frustrated with arrogant behavior by the French or even get disgusted by the doggy poop that still plagues the narrow sidewalks…but that doesn’t deter me one iota from staying put and “battling” it all.
We ask ourselves why? Why wouldn’t we want to go back to where life was “easy?” — where the customer is king, where doing business and making money is a dream, where just about anything you want to accomplish is doable just by making an effort?
Because it isn’t Paris. It isn’t stunningly beautiful like Paris. It isn’t rich with centuries of history like Paris. It isn’t rich with a culture that appreciates human accomplishment like in Paris. It doesn’t wallow in the finer points of life like in Paris. It isn’t Paris.
This still doesn’t explain it, does it? “La Maladie” is something you either catch or you don’t. Those who catch the disease are doomed to never getting it out of their system…so I warn you. Come here once and you’ll get the first sweet taste. Come here twice and you’ll be clamoring for a third time. Come here again and again and soon you will think this is where you want to be forever.
To all of you who contact me to learn more about how to purchase a property in Paris (or anywhere in France for that matter) with the idea that it’s a good investment — it is, but more for enriching your life than lining your pockets. Don’t do it for the money. Do it for how it will change your life in a way that is unimaginable. And one day, perhaps like me, you’ll wake up and complain that you’ve become jaded, too — and guess what? That’s not all half bad!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Please note that for security purposes the route of the Women’s March on Paris has been reversed. The march will now begin on the Esplanade of the Trocadéro and will end at the Wall of Peace on the Champ de Mars. See the official Facebook page for details and updates.