The Heart of Paris

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Words & Photography
by Sisi Zheng

“But first, coffee.” Before I started my day catching the sights downtown, I made a quick stop at this cute place called The Broken Arm - half coffee shop, half apparel shop. I felt very lucky to have found this renowned cafe empty. Having the whole place to myself to enjoy some coffee while chatting with friendly workers definitely left a smile on my face.

After having a cup of something sweet in hand, walking along the Seine was the next step. It’s common knowledge that the real essence of the city is to be found by the Seine. Possessing a certain mystical trait that allows poets, philosophers, authors and of course, tourists, to find themselves walking along the banks of this river that flows right through the heart of Paris. What’s not to like? Over eight hundred year old buildings, flocks of seagulls, lovers embracing on every bridge, and so photogenic that every snap can turn out to be a gem. There’s definitely something magical about the Seine. Take a walk and you will feel the enchantment for sure.

As I was slowly making my way around to see the more prominent scenes in downtown Paris, I couldn’t help but grin every once in a while at all the places you think you know so well, but seem completely different when it’s right in front of you. I imagine that is exactly why people always say you need to see something for yourself. Hearing about it or seeing it from someone else’s perspective will never come close to your very own. Having that in mind, here’s my shot of the Notre Dame that does not do it any justice, but let’s all take a second and admire how glorious it looks basking in the sunshine.

Averting away from the Seine, I headed towards the famous Louvre Museum. Examining painting after painting is hard work when there’s 70,000 of them, but luckily, every once in a while there would be a window along the halls that provided a stunning vantage point of the courtyard. After a while, I think I found myself walking up to these windows more often than the art work.

Quite possibly one of my favourite hallways and most adored painting in the Louvre is shown below. That one desolate hallway always reminds me to not be afraid to sit down for an hour or two and have a conversation with some paintings, listen, respond, and see if it has changed. As for the painting, I’m not fond of canvases the size of an elephant, so this one of Romeo and Juliet definitely caught my eye. It’s tiny, sweet, hidden in a corner away from most glances and, in my opinion, depicts perhaps the most tragic scene in Shakespearean history perfectly. At the end of the day, I felt blessed to be able to discover these little gems no one else seemed to be fascinated by. After all, “the little details are by far the most important.”

My favourite sound must’ve been my high heels clicking around on these marble tiled floors. I hope one day all of you could walk down these magical halls and imagine the Louvre as more than a museum. Think of it as a place where the royals once roamed.


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