Dec 1st, 2015, 02:03 PM

AUP Students List Their Favorite Things About Paris

By Robert Caruso
Image Credit: Twitter/@Paris
While the city of lights fights to return to a sense of normalcy following the tragic events of November 13, AUP students recall what they love about Paris.

Following the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, students at AUP have fought to return to a sense of normalcy in the city that we all call home, even if temporarily. While mourning the lives loss and recognizing the changed atmosphere in the city, Parisians have returned to cafés and terraces and begun to celebrate what they love about the French capital. The Plume has decided to showcase student voices reminding themselves of what they love about Paris. These vignettes range in tone from celebratory pieces about quartiers or arrondisements to reactions to the November 13 tragedies.  

Djenabou Diallo: "The Joy of Living in Paris"

Image Credit: David Monniaux / Wikimedia Commons

Paris is hands down the best city in the world. This city has been my home for more than a decade now, when I get back to my home country, I will start missing Paris 3 weeks after.  To me, beyond all the stereotypes associated with Paris being the ‘city of magic, love or light;' Paris truly is magical and the most beautiful city that I have ever been to.  The joy of living in Paris includes so many different things. From the smell of the bakeries in the morning, to the restaurants, the gardens, and stores in the city. Apart from the unlikable Parisians, what is not to love about Paris? My favorite part of Paris is and forever will be Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore in the 8th arrondissement of the city. As a shopping and dessert addict, it is the perfect place for me and I have been going there with my mother for as long as I can remember, shopping and taking deserts and hot chocolate breaks at Angelina rue de Rivoli.

I love this part of Paris because of it is right across the Jardin des Tuilleries, which is a really great place, especially during summer time, it’s the best place to hangout with your friends. My best and funniest memories happened in the Jardin des Tuilleries.

Paris is and will forever be the best city in the world and my home away from home. 

Francesca Cretella: "Ode to Paris: Le Marais"

Image Credit: Flickr / Un Bolshakov

The narrow, winding streets resemble a nouvelle vague film, the sidewalks linger with the scent of fresh croissants and tiny Vespa’s flee past.  Could this be anymore stereotypical? It’s as though a postcard of Paris came to life and was playing right in front of me. The thing is… The city is no Disneyland or Las Vegas; the city is real and it's history and culture are there to prove it. Coming from the modern and fast paced New York, all these details are tangible.  Historical buildings aren’t torn down to become symbols of capitalism, the cobblestones aren't ripped off the ground to make it easier for hustling people going to work and cafes don't want you to leave before you've even finished.  This is just in the DNA of the city. Paris has nothing to prove, it is just effortlessly stunning.  It has a character that not even my favorite city and hometown, NY, could give me.

We walk down Rue Vieille de Temple and window shop, looking at the doll-like boutiques with dreamy eyes, like we just wanted to immerse ourselves in this life.  “Mom, why is everyone so pretty?” I ask.  She smiles and shrugs.  The elegant yet charismatic style of the city and the people and the cafes and the shops overwhelm and inspire me.  We sit at Les Philosophes for a confit de canard and a rosé, facing the street so we can observe all the people.  I notice their clothes, attitude and effortless cool. We sit there forever, just enjoying every moment.  As I looked around at the delicate architecture, creative people and small marble tables filled with wine and food, I realized this is where I see myself.  

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast

Natalie Stamatopoulos: "Paris Breathing Still"

It is hard to imagine now, a different Paris. A Paris before my life in Paris. The Paris that is read about and painted, that is romanticized and generalized. I cannot imagine now thinking of the city in these ways. Now, I cannot think of Paris without thinking of walking along the river in the pink of the evening, when the air is fresh and the water breathes along with each rolling step. Rushing is a part of most cities, but in this city I stop. I stop to look at how the sun hits the corners of old buildings, I stop to listen to the opera singer echo on Pont Neuf, or to sit on a park bench just to read. Even in the misty rain, I feel a certain spell set upon me, a gift from the city, a secret maybe, reminding me how lucky I am to be alive and in Paris. I have been pushed enormously in living here, forced much out of my comfort zone only to create new levels of comfort. I have realized my strength here by being constantly ruined and renewed and I can be nothing but grateful.

Image Credit: Natalie Stamatopoulos

Recent events have humanized this city more and more, and now I think of it as both child and mother wishing for its safety while wishing for it to keep me safe. The relationship with any place is such an in-the-air thing that is inhaled slowly until you become a part of its earth, left to exhale it in your next destination. I am warmed to see the people, the heartbeat of the city, working so hard to keep it alive.

Emilie Chung: "Solace in the City: Parc Monceau"

Image Credit: Flickr/ParisSharing

Amidst the current turbulence of the city, peace and quiet can feel especially distant. Yet a brisk, thirty minute walk from the Combes building will bring you to the beautiful Parc Monceau. (Looking for a celebrity endorsement? Monet made it the subject of six of his paintings).

After you’ve passed through its gilded gates, be sure to savor your first breath of fresh air. Ahhhh. Wikipedia describes the park as “unusual” for its “informal layout, curved walkways and randomly placed statues” and emphasizes how this distinguishes the park “from the more traditional, French-style garden.” What does this mean for the casual wanderer? Simply put, the park feels like magic. Its unconventional layout fosters the childlike state of being curious at every corner. Forget the formulaic jardins of Versailles, Parc Monceau lets the visitor chart their own journey. The park’s most iconic feature is its classical Roman colonnade, a striking monument rising out over a scenic pond of water lilies. But explore the park further, and you’re likely to stumble upon its miniature Egyptian pyramid or discover an antique statue peeking out at you. For all you Instagramaholics, never fear, the site is a free Wi-Fi area.

While undoubtedly remarkable for its natural beauty, part of the spectacle of Parc Monceau is being submerged in a community of spectators. Joggers abound, families frolic, and many come wielding paperbacks as they search for a slice of solitude. Albeit notorious for their cool demeanor and affinity for dark-colored clothing, the Parisians here their softer side. Show yours, too, and enjoy Parc Monceau.

Fortunately, I live in the 8 arrondissement, where the park is a convenient space of solace for me. Studies have shown that being in nature is a wonderful way to relieve stress, and this has never rang more true. Ralph Waldo Emerson once declared that, "in the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows." Personally, when life in the city feels overwhelming, it is so powerful to retreat to Parc Monceau and be reminded that, despite how dire a situation might seem in my head, the world is ultimately a beautiful place to be. I've experienced firsthand how being surrounded by natural beauty forces a person to see reality in terms larger than themselves. Negativity seems suddenly absurd when surrounded by the enchanting landscape of Parc Monceau. The uniqueness of its sculptures and monuments are enough to distract anyone from the pitfalls of being consumed by their own biased thoughts. Now more than ever, it is important for us to seek out spaces that provide perspective, by helping us realize the smallness of ourselves, and bringing to light the ephemeral nature of our sorrows.

Laura Dibady-Mayla: "What A Bliss Living in Paris"

Even though I have not always lived in Paris, I have grown to be fond of it and it has become my home. Paris is old and beautiful. Also, there is so much to love about this city and so many places to enjoy. 

One of Paris' charms is its Cafés. Le Café de Flore, located in St Germain des Prés, is a old Parisian bistrot, where regardless of the time of the day (it be, in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon or at dinner time) you will not be disappointed. The croquemonsieur or croquemadame, musts of the Parisian café, is delicious.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Alexemanuel

Five minutes away from my place, the Bar la Vue, which is on the 33th floor the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, offers an astonishing panoramic view of Paris. The cocktails are fantastic.

Not far from Le Café de Flore, Le Bon Marché is the first Parisian emporium. It combines traditional and modern, in a warm and friendly setting where authenticity and cultural values mingle closely with the pleasure to buy. I like it there, because you can both find a wide range of grocery products at La Grande Epicerie de Paris, and shop for gaments. Plus, it is generally less crowded than the Galeries Lafayette or Printemps Haussmann.

Image Credit: Flickr/w00kie

Madelaine Walker: "Feeling the Love"

It was just a boring Friday night for me and I had decided to stay in for the night. I saw briefly where people had been attacked in Paris but it was right at the beginning and not much had been known I had put my phone down and gone about my night. I had fallen asleep and randomly woke up at around 3 a.m. and obviously went for my phone. The next thing I know I am being bombarded with messages from so many people. There were messages from my friends, my family, current bosses, past bosses, people I hadn't seen in years, people I hadn't talked to in months, it was incredible. The events that transpired in Paris were awful but it made me realize how loved I was. To see all these people being concerned and thinking of my safety made me feel very blessed. 

Lucille Befort: "Atypical place in Paris: Rue de Verneuil"

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nate Bolt

In those dark times, we all need to express in our personal ways the joy of living in Paris. We were all affected by the tragedy that happened last week, yet, life goes on. We keep walking, loving and dreaming around our beautiful Paris. The City of Lights can never be extinguished. 

Serge Gainsbourg's house is so special and embodies a lot of different beliefs. He was known for his provocative and scandalous attitude. Since his death in 1991, he has gained a cult following everything that he embodied: freedom of speech, liberty and humor. 

Rue De Verneuil is located in the 7th, bring your phone and possibly a camera because you will really want to immortalize the moment. The wall has let people tag, express, or write anything they want since for years. This Parisian house remains a celebrated shrine, with its various items. In the outside you will certainly see photographs of significant figures in Gainsbourg's life such as Bardot and Birkin. 

A must see, that will change your ideas for a few minutes, and help you once again find the spirit of the Paris we love, a place of enlightment and love.

Yuri Jong: "A Small Library to Take a Moment for Yourself"

After the cruel tragedy, many people may be feeling lost and fear in Paris. Relaxing at a cozy and historical library can remind you the beauty that still remains in Paris.

Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève is located in the 5th arrondissement just next to the Pantheon and was built in 1851. If you are a student in Paris, you can just go to the library and register for a membership, which is free of charge with an ID. One of the smaller libraries in Paris, the cozy and warm atmosphere is welcomed. 

Image Credit: Facebook/Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève

You can bring your own book or try to discover new books there. The architecture of the library itself is amazing to even take a look at and there are some historical paintings as well. Of course, this library has a great atmosphere to make you motivated to study for finals too.

Image Credit: Facebook/Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève

Just staying home does not solve anything and sometimes it is a good opportunity to change your mood by spending sometime in a historical library like the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.