Travelogue Part 8: On Happiness in Paris

I journeyed to Paris for a long weekend in September with one of my classmates. When we agreed to take this trip together we were hardly acquainted, but as the date approached I realized, to put it bluntly, that I didn’t much care for her company. I was too excited for our trip to let this bother me, though, and decided that despite our differences the two of us would have a fabulous weekend. I was finally visiting Paris, a city I had dreamed of since I knew it existed, and I would not let anything ruin that.

The first day of our excursion went surprisingly well, but on the second some tensions arose. She and I wanted to visit different sites – myself, a cemetery that held Jim Morrison’s grave, and she a holocaust memorial – so we parted ways. En route to the cemetery I stopped at a little café I had read about. It was called Le Chat Noir in reference to a nineteenth century cabaret in the bohemian district of Paris. The café was nestled on a corner right next to the Muslim neighborhood, around the Beaumont area of the 10th arrondissment. This area was known for being on the artsy side, and I was not disappointed. The café was a small, quiet place with only a few customers, none of whom appeared to be tourists. I ordered a pot of mystery tea and took a seat facing the window to journal for a bit. I had been walking almost all day, and the small piece of respite was much needed.

With soft jazz playing in the background, I sipped my tea and wrote while a feeling of pure bliss came over me. I had finally arrived in Paris, the city of my dreams, and I was loving every moment of it. I had wanted to visit the city for so long but never thought it would happen this soon. Every time I pictured visiting Paris I imagined myself an aging empty-nester travelling with her husband. I never thought I’d experience it like this – young and untouched by the world, completely open to falling in love with a city as romantic and glamorous as this. The entire trip was a dream come true, regardless of my less-than-ideal travelling companion.

I felt like a character in a movie or a book: some girl in her twenties who lives in the city and stops at a café a few times every week to enjoy her tea and write. Before my trip to Paris, I could never quite put a finger on what I thought simple happiness felt like, but now I know what it is; Paris showed me. It is being in the most beautiful city in the world, relaxing for a bit before embarking on yet another journey. Sites unseen and streets unexplored lie ahead, and all that separates you from them is that last sip of tea in the bottom of your cup.

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