I grew up with the saying that ‘if you’re not studying by the time the jacaranda trees bloom, you’re screwed’. So for the most part, spring has always been a season of revision and studying rather than travelling, despite the ideal weather. Paris in spring, however, was a romantic notion I couldn't get out of my head and, being a mere 3hr flight away as opposed to 23, I made the decision to commit to the trip, right before everyone had to buckle down and spend the sunshine-filled May days in the library. Best decision ever.
Paris’ colours were the colours of its flag for me: red, white, blue, and edged with golden summery sunsets.
Red was in the accent colours: the awning of the cafe where Amelie was shot, the windmill of Moulin Rouge, the flags waved by tourist guides competing to tell interesting stories in the exact same locations, the colour of impossibly beautiful pastries that we couldn't afford, points that caught my eye about the graffiti painted on walls, highlight colours on the pages of vintage enamel pins for sale by the stalls near the Seine and the layers upon layers of street posters piled on top of each other like cicada husks. It was the distinctive red lipstick look I saw and adopted for the week and the colour of the red shirt dress I coveted.
Blue skies were - blessedly - ubiquitous over our entire week in Paris but the best way I experienced the blue was exploring Abbesses in early morning, when the air was cool and shadows are coloured, and where feeding tiny sparrows with fresh baguettes from Le Grenier a Pain in a small park outside the metro was a natural thing to do. You’ll mostly be walking past sleeping shopfronts and remnants of the night if you go on a Sunday/Saturday so it’s not your typical tourist experience but you may, nonetheless, find a vintage photobooth straight out of Amelie up the hill, and find beautiful corners to take photos in.
Blue was the colour of the Parisian rooftops (fun fact: they were consciously designed to be identical so it would feel like you were walking through a palace when walking through the street). Deep blue was the Place de la Concord at night, when the sky finally goes dark, a backdrop to the Fontaines de la Concorde from the Devil Wears Prada (my guilty pleasure movie).
And white was the colour of the Parisian architecture, a blend of cream and white — a little worn, a little graffitied but still beautiful. The colour of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, specifically designed so that dirt and dust accumulated over the years would gather to give it that black and white outline it's so famous for. The colour of the marble statues we saw at the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay (post incoming), the Arc de Triomphe glowing, shopfronts and the white borders of posters being sold along the Seine, and in the white sneakers that were all the rage in the impressive street style I kept seeing around. White flowers on shopfronts. And the evening sunlight glow.
Hard not to fall in love. I went ahead and did just that.