This time next month, I’ll be sitting in a café on the Left Bank of Paris, sipping an espresso or munching a croissant while perusing endless streams of humanity streaming up and down Boulevard Saint Michel. September is the ideal month to be in Paris. Most tourists have gone by then. And Frenchmen have returned from their month-long August vacation. Many cafes, shuttered in August, reopen for business.
In September, The City of Light stretches, yawns and awakens from its summer nap, reassuming its more natural routines, free of some of the foreign visitors. The metropolis on the Seine once again becomes the property of the natives.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Paris. From time to time I have to return, to recharge. I was born in America, but I discovered years ago that my spiritual birthplace was not Virginia, but Paris.
Paris, where sitting in a café, sipping coffee and discussing art, literature…or even cooking, is not considered a waste of time, but a fruitful use of the same.
Paris, where it’s OK to be eccentric, even weird (being both are encouraged, if not celebrated). Where you can paint your hair green or blue, and either color is considered an artistic statement, not a sign of stupidity.
Paris, where if you don’t kiss the woman whose hand you’re holding, the French consider that an affront and insult to their culture and conclude that you lack good taste…if not good sense (regardless of how ugly the woman is). Paris, the one place in the world where you can be yourself and not worry about what others thinks.
Paris, where you can be eccentric and not worry about it, because in the City of Light there is always someone who is weirder than you. So you’ll be among friends.
Instead of yakking about the city I love, I’d better start packing for my trip. I’ll be sitting in a café in Paris soon. I hope I see you there. I’ll be looking for you. You’ll be able to identify me. I’ll be the guy with the electric blue hair.
**Calvin Davis is the author of The Phantom Lady of Paris.