At 7 years of age I received a postcard from Robyn, my mums best friend. She had been travelling Europe for over 5 months and we talked every few weeks. This postcard was from a country i’d never heard of before, had a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the front, lit up with all the lights and surrounded by darkness. I had instantly fallen in love with this picture and it was forever a dream of mine to go see it in real life. This along with cartoon Madeline playing on my TV, this city became the only one i needed to be in.
The first time i ended up in Paris was 8 years of age, a year after my first dream. It was during my families own Euro trip whilst my dad was writing his book, to me, it lived up to everything I had believed it would be. I researched it and studied it, I visited Montmartre , L’Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Catacombs of Paris and so many other places. It seemed like a fairytale to me, the history of the place, coming from Australia where our oldest building dates to 1793, not that long ago when in Europe, countries had empires, wars, downfalls and complete histories by this time. I made a promise to myself that i would go back when i was older, a time when i could remember the most intricate details of my surrounds, a time where i could explore the entirety and not be surrounded by family.
The second time i ended up in Paris i was 13 on a school trip surrounded by friends, i was the youngest to go on that trip and yet sometimes i wonder how i was the most sensible. I often wondered how much our teachers trusted us and trusted the world around us, allowing us to wander the streets of Paris alone and in small groups, go shopping, eat, study and explore. It was a dream come true, i didn’t have someone always looking over my shoulder and i got to find myself in Paris. This time, I didn’t only discover Paris, I discovered France, travelling across the country with towns containing even more exciting prospects of history and areas to explore. We explored the artists areas of Montmartre, the views from Sacre-Coeur, and the art of the Musee d’orsay. We saw what we wanted to see, the romance, the art, the history. It was my dream come true.
As a year 12 literature student this year we study works from all over the world. This includes George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, an in depth view of Paris between the two world wars. It opened up a new side of Paris to me, the grunge, the poverty and the mystery. It only intrigued me more about the state of Paris and what i really knew about it.
Having been to Paris twice already, i’d seen the stereotypical picturesque foreign view of love and romance. So my next plan is to go back, notice the ins and outs, find the downs and outs, see the truth.