For my final weeks in Paris, I started to regret all the things that I thought I would have had time to do but then I did not.
If I were to give advice to students who are interested in studying away in Paris, the city of the light, for a short three months stay, I would tell them to spend some time to be Parisians, and also spend more time to be travelers.
Today after my class, when I was on my way back to the dorm, I felt a strong sense of somber. It is the feeling I always get at the end of my travel to a new place. I know it is going to end soon and back to my usual dimension of reality. As if someone who was deeply in love, but later he realizes the flame gets weaker and the lights are dimmer—there is nothing he can do about it. He can only try his best to enjoy the most out of that beautifulness. And indeed, that beautifulness manifests its own temporality. After all, we cherish moments more when we know they are fleeting. They are like those flowers I saw people buying on the streets today. We know they are going to die, but we still choose to buy them over plastic fake flowers for that we know the measure of flower values is in its temporality.
So that being said, during your stay in Paris, no matter if it’s the first day or midway through, you should always be fearful for the last day. This way, you will get to see more of this city.
Also, pay attention to all the festivals and exhibitions going on around the city. The greatest things always happen here. I have not yet been to every museum here, and have only seen one percent of everything Paris has. The abundant history of art here is incredible. It is much more than the Louvre or the Mona Lisa. You can definitely find art that reflects your own interest and favorite.
Furthermore, don’t always look at reviews for the best place to go! Take some time to explore the city with friends or on your own. Chances are you will end up having a day much better what you could expect. Paris has prepared more surprises for you than what they put in the reviews. My most amazing discoveries here all came with spontaneity. When I looked up for maps and places to go before heading out, I will only end up getting what I can expect. However, if I prepare to get lost in the cities, all that I get in the end is serendipity.
Now that I only have a week left, I think I need to get rid of the mindset of a Parisian. I used to disdain those who go around only to take pictures and do sightseeing. I want to be one of those tourists at the moment, so that I can make the most out of my time here. Everything here deserves my attention and I will focus on those little moments now.
Going back to its temporality that manifests the beauty of Paris, I think the key for me is to go ‘rage, rage against the dying of the lights’. To do that, it is not just about the final moments, but also every single moment I have here. I have to make the most out of it to be as alive as possible.
- My trip in Provence: Howard