Paris, je t’aime…

VANESSA SMEETS

Ever fallen in love with a city ? You dream night and day of dancing to her music, eating her food and exploring her every inch. Every time you return home, you long to go back…

Paris, much like Berlin, Barcelona or Munich, is one of the few cities in the world that has this effect. She is filled with so much motion and emotion, you often feel lost in her culture, history and characters.

 

She is the most visited city in the world with an estimated 42 million tourists annually. Her 12 million inhabitants make her one of the most concentrated cities in the European Union. She has produced the highest number of higher education students in the EU through her 17 universities and 55 grandes écoles (Ivy League schools).

She contains about 3800 historical monuments and has inspired the world’s leading poets and philosophers. She is also hub to the world’s leading fashion houses : Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dior and Chanel.

Paris, a city for lovers of art, music, history, literature and lovers themselves. 

Rien ne m’a fait jamais battre le cœur
Rien ne m’a fait ainsi rire et pleurer
Comme ce cri de mon peuple vainqueur
Rien n’est si grand qu’un linceul déchiré
Paris Paris soi-même libéré

Nothing ever made ​​my heart beat as much
Nothing made ​​me laugh and cry
As much as the cry of my winning people
Nothing is as large as a torn shroud
Paris Paris, in herself released
– Louis Aragon, Paris

Her top attractions include :

Disneyland Paris : 15 million annual visitors
Notre Dame Cathedral : 13,6 million visitors
Sacré Cœur : 10,5 million visitors
The Louvre Museum : 8,8 million visitors
Eiffel Tower : 7 million visitors

Paris only became France’s capital in 508 AD/CE, after Lyon under King Clovis, and again in 1180 under King Philippe Auguste. The city of Vichy temporarily replaced Paris as France’s capital during World War II. This change in political structure was known as the Vichy-Regime.

Originally known as “Lutetia” meaning “midwater-dwelling” under the Romans, Paris became a popular and populous town built around the beautiful Seine river. The name “Paris” is derived from Homer’s Iliad based on Paris, the Trojan prince’s search for Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships. Paris therefore means “Son of a noble father.” Some believe the name is actually derived from the Celtic Gallic word parisio meaning hardworking people/ craftsmen. Other historians believe the name comes from “Par Isis” (from Isis, the Egyptian goddess of nature, magic and wisdom). Paris is also often nicknamed “La Ville-Lumière” or the city of lights.

For more important dates in Parisian history, visit : http://goparis.about.com/od/historyculture/a/ParisHistory.htm

Paris is also home to the Théâtre du Châtelet, where the César awards are held every year in February. The Césars are the French equivalent to the Academy Awards/ Oscars.

Here is my own version of the Césars…

  • Best French actor : Gaspard Ulliel. He’s only 28, but rose to fame as the lead-role in Hannibal Rising. Bitten by a doberman at the age of 6, his sexy scar on his left cheek looks like a cute dimple. You may remember him also as the missing soldier from Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement).
  • Best French actress : Marion Cotillard. She’s only 37 but has already made her mark in Hollywood by starring in blockbusters like Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Her French roles are the most memorable though, especially as Edith Piaf in La Môme/ La vie en rose.
  • Best stage performance : Grands Corps Malade (Big Sick Body). Paralysed at the age of 20 after diving, Fabien Marsaud was told he would never walk again. Fully recovered, he now inspires audiences around the world through his thought-provoking melodic poetry known as slam. His best pieces include Les voyages en train and Le jour se lève.
  • Best French thriller : Le Premier Cercle, Jean Reno and Gaspard Ulliel play hard-core gangsters in southern France as well as father and son.
  • Best French comedy : Amélie. Amélie sees the world very differently to the rest of us. Every sense is awoken by her curiosity.
  • Best French romance : Paris, je t’aime. See Paris through the eyes of 18 very different directors who picture love in all its forms…

 

Extra info :
http://www.parisdigest.com/information/facts.htm
www.wikipedia.org
Hancock, G. & Bauval, R. 2004. Talisman : Sacred Cities, Secret Faith. Penguin Books: London.

Unrequited Love…

VANESSA SMEETS

Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

burning desire

CHASING A DREAM: Sometimes the burning desire to be loved in return leads you astray from the one person with you every step of the way: yourself. PIC: Internet

After years of searching for love in unconventional places, it hit me… Love is neither word nor feeling. It is action: 

Listening.
Dreaming.
Being.
Seeing.
Becoming.

But, this is not necessarily accomplished through others, but through the only person that can ultimately love you 100% in return: yourself. And once you fall in love with you are, the rest happens naturally… Not in the narcissistic kind of way, of course. Unfortunately, millions of people are dealing with unrequited love (devoting attention to people who feel very little for them) in their daily lives, leading them to becoming martyrs and masochists, allowing them to replace love with lust.

Love heals old wounds through patience and kindness, lust temporarily blinds you from them.

unrequited love cartoon

HEARTLESS: Wearing your heart on your sleeve only to have it getting lost or broken. PIC: Internet

With over 7 billion people on earth, the search to find one’s soul-mate that sets your soul aflight, wipes away your fears and whom you can ultimately share a family with, has become a life-long dilemma. In ancient Greece, soul-mates were believed to be souls who had been cut in half, left to search the world for their missing halves. For centuries, this search has fascinated poets, philosophers, song-writers and playwrights.

William Shakespeare based most of his plays and poetry on it. Ophelia in Hamlet believes he is the love of her life, only to discover that his obsession with his mother borders on incest. She literally drowns her sorrows by throwing herself in the castle’s moat, left to search for love for eternity. At first, Hamlet shows no remorse or guilt towards her death. But at her burial, he loses it completely, throwing himself into her grave: “Forty thousand brothers / Could not, with all their quantity of love, / make up my sum” (V.i.254–256).

Plato mastered the search for love in his Symposium. He cleverly deciphered erotic, selfish love (eros) from giving, selfless love (agape). He explains that true contentment only comes once one realizes the difference and gives up his soul not to someone else, but to the wisdom rejection brings.

unrequited love charlie brown

OH, SCHULTZ: Even Charlie Brown was fascinated by unrequited love, searching his world for that little red haired girl. PIC: Internet

In contemporary society, the search for love has been both infused and confused with physical satisfaction. Magazines like FHM and Cosmopolitan, have led readers to believe that guys give love for sex and girls give sex for love. The man who falls into this trap continues to mislead women he is worth her while and dotes on her every move. Like the little schoolgirl being chased on the playground through the game, “kissing catchers,” she is flattered but scared. When she finally cracks and kisses or sleeps with him, he loses interest.
The more he rejects her, the more she yearns for him. This yearning can last for months or years, until she finally sees him with someone else.

Many women who have been victims to this, try to get revenge by turning the tables and sleeping with a guy first and then trying to break his heart later. Even if the guy is finally “Mr Nice Guy,” she feels tempted to cheat on him in order to justify her past mistakes. Or, she cheats on herself by becoming destructive towards him. She’ll act like the jealous, insecure type to see how much she truly means. All this, because she doesn’t believe she is special or unique enough to be loved, so fills the void by degrading herself and putting herself into tempting situations. The physical becomes the all, in order to avoid the emotional. 

Unrequited love is a lonely but inspiring quest:

It is the slow realization you are discovering the world in someone, only to realize they’ve conquered you already.

unrequited love - time

TIME AFTER TIME: They say time heals all wounds… Disagreed. It’s what you do in that time… PIC: Internet

The question is: can you conquer your own insecurities and fears to meet your true soul-mate? The one reflecting years of experience, staring at you in silence from the mirror, wishing you would notice them just once and not go back on that futile quest.

Here’s a short guide to distinguish love from lust, helping you to walk away from that which leads you on, only to lead you astray…

LOVE LUST
Focus on future Focus on present
Compassionate communication Constant fighting
Their needs Your needs
Feeling of renewal, growth Feeling of restraint, insecurity
Discussions focus on emotional: dreams, aspirations, goals Discussions focus on physical: sexual positions, past partners, libido
Security causing release: you want the best for them, even if that means letting go Insecurity causing control: you want him/ her all to yourself, all the time
Long-lasting, compassionate Quick-fix, competitive
Sentimental gifts (thoughtful/ nostalgic) Material gifts (expensive/ impressive)
A journey of emotional discovery A roller-coaster ride of physical satisfaction