After what feels like a life time has happened over night, I am finally here, ready to begin my life in Paris – the city of love and light. It’s impossible not to have flashes of those iconic Parisienne images – la Tour Eiffel, Pont des Arts, the Musee Louvre, Notre Dame, cafes, berets, baguettes, la rouge levres, stripes, Arc de Triomphe, la Seine… not to mention the iconic and transformative individuals who have shaped not only Paris, but the rest of the world.
That’s right, I’m talking about fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent, Gabrielle Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Roger Vivier, Pierre Balmain, Thierry Mugler, Pierre Cardin, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Emanuel Ungaro, Andre Courreges, Hubert de Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, Mme. Gres, Christian Lacroix, Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Louboutin, Paul Poiret, Sonia Rykiel, , Madeleine Vionnet, and the house of Louis Vuitton.
Not forgetting the visionary power of artists such as Jean Fouquet, Jacques Callot, Pierre Paul Puget, Elisabeth Vigee-Leburn, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, August Renoir, Edouard Manet, Eugene Delacroix, and French resident Vincent Van Gogh.
Some of the world’s greatest architecture can be found in Paris. The Basilica of St. Denis is considered to be one of the first structures built in the Gothic style, and is the burial place for most French kings from the 10th to the 18th century. The world famous Notre Dame is potentially the most famous of all Gothic style buildings. Located at the centre of Paris, it received world wide fame after Victor Hugo’s novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame”(I thoroughly enjoy the Disney version myself).
But perhaps the most famous and identifying structure in Paris is la Tour Eiffel. Built to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, however when construction started, the artistic community in France was less than impressed and supportive of this adventurous project to say the least! As published in ‘Le Temps’, their petition read…
“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection…of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower…To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years…we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal”.
Leaving nothing to the imagine about their feelings, the project was obviously completed. It leaves me wondering how these chaps would feel if they could see how synonymous the Eiffel tower is with the world’s view of Paris. How many girls these days have entire Pinterest boards devoted to the Eiffel tower, believing that it is the ultimate symbol of France, romance, and the possibility of finding true love?! Do they realize that what they’re really celebrating is “the hateful column of bolted sheet metal”?!
I’m looking forward to exploring this historic city and hopefully, having some of that ingenuity and talent rub off on me in my own creative endeavours. With any luck, Paris will become to me as she was to so many other creative people – a muse.