"When good Americans die they go to Paris."

9:31 PM

Paris is a terrible fucking cliche in books and movies, with all its despair and poetry and romance and death. But truth is, its a terrible cliche in the flesh. When we travelled around Europe as a family (I was nine), we didn't go to Paris. Toulon, Saint Etienne, Bordeaux but not Paris...Mum said something about a terrorist attack there. In hindsight, perhaps it was just too expensive for my parents to take two hick kids to one of the most expensive cities in the world. We were four kiwi's traveling squashed in a campervan and on a diet of canned tomatoes and packet spaggetti. Where would we camp? Passing its outskirts on our travels, Paris became a kind of mysterious city to me, somehow not of this world. I imagined it walled and sealed off to us and other poor travellers. Back in NZ I built my Mecca up; reading Hemingway, Miller, Nin, Proust, watching Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. My Paris was musty, filled with damp basements lit by candles. Cheap Bordeaux served in tumblers. Absyinthe fueled fights/sex/conversation. Grey stone bricks the size of double beds. Hunched old women in fur; glossy creme brulees; pastel macaroons; extortionately priced toasted cheese sandwiches at tabacs filled with haughty smokers. Every pause and gaze loaded with meaning, with yearning.

I made my first trip to Paris with Andy 11 years ago. He bought a bottle of cheap red wine, a 50c baguette and led me to Sacre Coeur at dusk. Such a fucking cliche. I loved it so much I thought I'd die.

"When good Americans die they go to Paris." Oscar Wilde

My photos of Paris

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