The City had me at Bonjour

You hear about the magic of Paris all the time but apart from the very first time you lay eyes on the sparkling Eiffel Tower or stand at the bottom of the Champs Elysee, looking all the way up the tree-lined avenue to the ancient and magnificent, Arc de Triumph – sometimes it’s hard to see. What you see is a bustling; concrete jungle of people – all colors and kinds – not unlike most large, urban cities the world over. Not so magical.  But last night, after years of long, immersing visits to this city, I stumbled onto the magic. It happens when the sun sets over the river Seine in August. Walk along the river and every block there’s some different attraction; a magician, break dancers, a glowing Bateau Parisian passing, a musical ensemble surrounded by people vibrating to its rhythm, or an improvised picnic on the grass flanking the river. The quai of the river is softened by strategically illuminated, bridges and monuments, as ancient as they are picturesque. Sparkling light emanates from the Eiffel Tower down yonder, and, in the glow that envelopes you, the brightly lit boats that pass in the night are almost eerie. The whole quartier is drenched in the softest, warmest light that reflects off of the river in its own picture-perfect way. There are lovers, families and groups of friends.  On such a night, there is none of the hustle and bustle – no one’s in a hurry. A small group of friends huddle around a tiny, round table at a late night cafe, absorbed in their chatter – wholly unaware of their role in the perfection of this night. People pass on their mopeds and bicycles, no doubt on their way to meet a lover or a destiny, just the way you always pictured Paris on a summer’s eve.


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