Arc de Triomphe
November 8, 2016
Last week, I finally climbed the spiral staircase of the Arc de Triomphe. I had heard it was perhaps the most breathtaking view of Paris ,and I was not disappointed. It was a cloudy sunset, but my friend and I stayed up there until the lights of the Eiffel turned on to watch it twinkle on the hour. Seeing the city from a new perspective made me reflect on why I love life here so much.
Guys, I really don’t know how I’m going to leave Paris in under two months (!!). It’s beautiful: so full of life, history, and diversity. I was looking through a photo book of Paris at the turn of the 20th century this weekend, and it hit me that WHOAH I live here. I’d seen some of these photos before, but it was amazing to recognize the streets or the monuments I walk past in my daily life. Since I was little, I always wanted to live here and now I’m doing it. It’s a privilege to be a part of life in Paris, even just for a semester.
Roland Barthes, a French philosopher/linguist/general academic, wrote a lot about his experience as a city dweller in Paris. I feel like his words sum up what I’m trying to express: “The city is a discourse, and this discourse is actually a language: the city speaks to its inhabitants, we speak to our city, the city where we are, simply by inhabiting it, by traversing it, by looking at it.”
And another from Roland Barthes: “All this night, too, it will be there, connecting me above Paris to each of my friends that I know are seeing it: with it we all comprise a shifting figure of which it is the steady center: the Tower is friendly.”