While engaged in a conversation discussing the recent terrorist events in Paris, I was asked if I was going to move forward with my plans to visit France later this year. The question caught me slightly off guard. Of course I’m still going to France! What happened was inexcusable and horrific, but this dark event should make us turn around and see the lightness and beauty of what this city and her country have to offer.
I want to gaze at the Eiffel Tower in the evening: lights sparkling like glittering fairy dust as if magically whispering, “I’m here for you, and I’m beautiful”. I want to revisit the Musée d’Orsay and view my favourite painting of all time, Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World. Courbet’s painting may have shocked some due to the female visual, but it is a symbol of the freedom to be uncensored and makes no mistake of the simplicity of its title and true meaning. I want to walk along the banks of the Seine on a warm, sunny afternoon to delight at the sight of the throngs of young people enjoying their freedom to play their guitars, sing, dance and express their joie de vivre with abandon.
I want to skim rocks across Canal St. Martin, pretending I’m a more mature version of Amélie! I’m looking forward to whiling away an afternoon at an outdoor café and having the freedom to sit with any book I want to read, drinking strong coffee or a citron pressé with not a care or concern in the world.
I want to enjoy a worry-free flight from Paris to Nice, and relish in the familiarity of the Côte d’Azur. I want to spend the day in St. Tropez, arriving in the early morning and walking over to the far end of the little harbour where the old fishing boats are peacefully floating. I want to sit by the water, close my eyes and imagine that the ‘And God Created Woman’ Brigitte Bardot and I are discussing our love for Repetto ballet flats! I want to sit with Vincent on our terrace in Théoule and enjoy our nightly repas en plein air from apéritifs to dessert while admiring the view of the Mediterranean Sea in all her splendour.
I want to be able to walk past any one of the newsstand kiosks and see future editions of Charlie Hebdo in all of their satirical humor, making all who read them pause to think, perhaps to be a bit shocked, but then to break out in hysterical laughter. Not only do I want to do all these things I write about, but I will do them! Je suis Charlie. J’adore Paris!
©2015 Catherine Urbanski