I spoke mainly in French while I was there, trying as best as I could to remember the correct vocabulary and tenses. I wanted to fit in among the crowds of Parisians as easily as I was mushed into them on the Metro. Could they smell my foreign tongue? I stayed very quiet for the first few days. Observing every turn and holler, every breath and step, every tune and argument.
It seemed to me, that these people kept to themselves more than any sort I had ever seen before. As if it were discomforting to be urged to make contact with an unknown. Everyone was on their own mission. So focused. I wouldn't necessarily call it unfriendly. I never found the people I met and encountered there unfriendly. It was like their minds were racing on their own discoveries. Deep in thought, tout le temps. This was of course, from an outsider's opinion. I'm sure my perspective would change if I had stayed longer. And yes there were exceptions, but from a whole, this is the impression I was left with.
The organization of the city had me in awe with every Metro stop. Every building, every park. every palace felt placed with purpose. The entire city appealed to me as the floorplan of an art museum. This is where you want to sit to observe this view. Climbing a few hundred steps here would make a great look-out over the city. Of course you would want to walk along the river buying old books from these fold out cupboards. Unlike any city I had ever been to, this city above all felt like it was designed for those who wish to enjoy life, leisurely, yet focused.
The beauty of it is unrivaled. Khaki and pastel-colored and sparkling by night. Accordion players thumbing the keys to old songs. The click-clack of the well-to-do in their fancy shoes. The echos of prayers in the cathedrals. The scratch of pencils on sketchbooks in the museums.
The air felt so fresh to the lungs. If you could bottle the feeling of walking the streets of Paris...