A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Where in Paris would you live?

 “If you could live anywhere in Paris, where would you live? Where you are now, in the 19eme arrondissement, or elsewhere?”

“My first grand love in Paris was Montmartre. The hills, the narrow winding streets, the social cats, the artisan jewelers…the views and bells that rang crisp through the air. You could hear the city bustling below. The neighborhood is popular yes, but it is also tucked away, much like Belleville. I still hear people say ‘I need to go down into Paris today’.

Next, I had a secret love affair with the Marais. It’s the quintessential Paris that tourists thinks of. I found it to be tongue in cheek because everyone - especially the girls who love to romanticize the city by editing photos in low saturated grey tones, dressed in their over the knee boots and flared skirts, loved it here. I remember a time when I wanted to be that girl too: decked out in stripes and designer, teetering in heels on cobblestone streets. An old man saw me with my camera there once and gave me a walking tour of his childhood memories. He introduced me to boulangerie owners. Friends on the street. Took me for a cafe. Just because. That’s what the Marais is to me now; sweet memories that someone else gave me to hold. 

Just this year, I’ve discovered the heart of the St. Germain des Prés neighborhood. I’m embarrassed by that. I’ve been to this city so many times; it’s been a good check to my ego in that you can never fully know, or understand a city, no matter how much you love it. Perhaps that’s why I love it: it can still surprise me in wonderful ways. It can still teach me new things. One time while having lunch a mouse darted out from under my chair, and next to my foot. I froze. And then decided to name her “Sourisette” as in ‘little female mouse’. I snuck her fries under the table for our entire meal, and she ate everything except the parsley. 

But…honestly, I think I’d live on the isle of Saint Louis. If cost were no consequence of course. I’d live in a spacious, herringbone wood floor apartment with floor to ceiling windows, facing in the direction with the most light. I’d want to wake up to the sounds of the city mingled with the waves and the boats. To be nestled between the Pantheon and Sacré Cœur; to eventually hear the bells of Nôtre Dame ring once more. I’d want to be there for that. For when the tourists leave full of new memories, and observe my neighbors come and go about their daily lives. To watch the Seine change colors with the light; to watch the tide rise and fall. To have my canvases and paints scattered about over my drop cloth, coffee in hand, wine collection in the background. To have my daily jog on the cobblestone riverbank, scanning faces for the familiar smiles and nods…to return home with a clearer head after a chilly afternoon, and write. 

Don’t let them tell you the French ‘don’t smile’; it isn’t true. 

It’s a dream, I know. And sometimes I feel silly for wanting something so grand and magical. But I know someone in one of those Haussmanns is living it. I can feel it. I’m happy for them. I hope someday it could be me too. I don’t want a big, grand life in Paris: I just want my routine, my corner nook of home. I’ve found it here, I just want above all things the ability to stay.”

© A•Mused

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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog