Where does one even start writing about Paris? The iconic Eiffel tower? The romantic Sein river? The historic Arc de Triomphe? The huge Louvre? The lifestyle coffee shops? There must be millions of articles out there praising the greatness and beauty and history of Paris, and I hate to ruin it with a shallow one based on only 2 days experiencing the city. So I guess I’ll just write about a fraction that was my most favorite moment in Paris – a night strolling down the Champs Elysees in the rain.
I am not a fan of the movie “Midnight in Paris”. I am not even a fan of either Owen Wilson or Rachel McAdams. I think Owen Wilson is mediocre at best and Rachel McAdams’ characters are all annoying whores. But I love The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. And there’s one line in that movie that I can’t agree any more: Paris is most beautiful in the rain.
Paris is called the city of light. Originally, “light” had a figurative meaning, referring to knowledge, as Paris was, and still is, the cultural capital of Europe. However, the nickname has become to deserve its literal meaning as well. Paris at night is lit by millions of lights, making it even more gorgeous than it already is during the day. There’s only 1 other city that can be prettier in the dark nights than in the sunlight: Vegas.
In the rain, the lights of Paris became even more glorious. Everything became blurred. The rain, during a warm spring night, added the emotional aspect. Suddenly, I felt like I was crying when reality slowly blurred into a fairytale-like fantasy.
My plan for that rainy night was to walk from the Arc de Triomphe, along the most beautiful avenue of the world – Champs Elysees – and finish at Concorde Plaza. As I slowly strolled down the avenue, I discovered many narrow, empty alleys that could only be found described in those dreamy novels or movies.
If you have watched Midnight in Paris, it is on one of those narrow, empty, stone streets like this that Scott Fitzgerald showed up in his car with his friends and showed Gil a world that he could only imagine. It was on the Champs Elysees, around 11 pm, on the rainy night, that a French asked me “excusez-moi, something something francois?” As I let out a surprised “I’m sorry?” he changed to “Oh, you speak English” and we continued walking and talking in the rain like that for a short time. It would have been a heavenly encounter if he hadn’t asked me to go in a bar too soon, which of course I refused. But as he said goodbye and I continued my walk down the Champs Elysees, I couldn’t help relating what I had just experienced with the plot of the Oscar-nominated movie and smiled, feeling an inexplicable happiness within.
Midnight in Paris is the time when miracles happen, and in the rain, miracles only become more surreal.