New York is huge, hectic, angry, ugly. Paris is wide and open, intense, joyous, secret and seductive. In New York, you’re trapped anywhere. In Paris, you’re free everywhere. New York is either dead or deathly. Paris is alive. In New York, there is Broadway and its broads and tarts and pushers and shabby and Hollywood. Paris is wonderful people, charmers and enchanters, theatre, music, dance and songs in concert halls and in the streets. Everyone is different and you can be yourself, for the French admire individualism. They dress with exquisite and irreverent taste rather than flashy fashion; they do not copy, they create. There is lithesome grace and feline dignity in their amble; they do not perform, they are.
In New York you run. Paris is a city for strollers; there is always a park, a café or a bench nearby. Walk along the Seine or in the streets with a friend, embrace tightly, kiss with passion: you are alone, though the streets are not empty; you are not ignored, but your privacy is respected. When people look, they do so with indulgence and connivance, for if New York is a city of businessmen, Paris is the city of lovers.
Paris is an impressionist’s palette of toned and subtle colours, odours and noises which caress and entrance: café au lait with crusty baguettes, crisp croissants and fresh butter; the wistful voice of a sad saxophone or the whine of a badly-tuned violin winding along the endless corridors of the métro past the smelly and garrulous bums and their inevitable bottle of red wine; the open markets flaunting lush piles of variegated vegetables and multitudes of glittering fish and pungent cheese and feisty cries of mongers in long aprons and rolled-up sleeves; the evanescent whiff of a delicate perfume lingering in the wake of an elegant apparition.
Paris breathes; it has quiet and secluded squares and gardens full of green where children play la marelle and le foot under the watchful eye of a gruff policeman with white stick and shrill whistle and the blind stare of moss-eaten statues of scantly draped grandes dames and dream princes, amid snow-haired little old ladies clad in black feeding fat and complacent pigeons, while the men, wearing bushy moustaches and bérets basques, eagerly dispute a game of pétanque. Paris is full of buoyant streets bordered with curtained windows through which the concierge and her cat see everything, paved with the cobbles which built the perennial barricades and witnessed many a revolution; for Paris is history and eternity, “never quite the same and never quite different,” stone and iron, mirrors and water and lights and shadows, while New York, cast in metal and concrete and glass, is forever frozen in the present.
There is light in the eyes of the Parisians, for they sparkle with fun like the waterworks of Versailles and reflect not only the sky and the sun but also the Seine in her lazy and mysterious greyness; their smile is warm and engaging for they have time to smile, there is music in their voice and their laughter is crystalline, there is intelligence in their humour, there is depth in their friendship, and yes there is tenderness and sincerity and infinite time in the fold of their arms.
Voir aussi les articles (liste générée automatiquement) :