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  • Writer's pictureMauro C. Souza

Deux Cafés, S'il Vous Plaît

- “We have visited Paris several times. Why is Paris our favorite city? she asked me.

- “Because it is one of the most romantic cities in Europe, it is a beautiful and cultural city, very walkable, old, charming, has hundreds of sights, the French bread is delicious, the cheeses and the wines. It has been a source of inspiration for many writers, artists, and filmmakers.”

The sky of Paris seems to be different from other skies. In the late afternoon, we walk towards the Pont Neuf. The song flies away, and it comes from the stairs leading to the Seine. The nostalgic music comes from the accordion of a gentleman with a French hat. He doesn't care much for the people going up and down the stairs. We watch the river's edge as the sky moves from vivid blue through blue-grey velvet to deep blue. Birds come from everywhere to talk to each other, perhaps about things that happened to them. Lovers walking hand in hand on the quays of the Seine. They sit for hours with a picnic blanket, a loaf of French bread, a small wheel of cheese, and a bottle of wine. It seems that happiness lives here, and the melancholic melody is for them.

We continue walking along the left bank pier and observe a seated philosopher, two musicians, some curious onlookers, and hundreds of people around the majestic and magical Seine.

All this contemplation whets our appetite, and from here, we walk along the quay on the left bank until we reach the Pont Saint Michel and from there to Le Depart Saint Michel, a 24-hour café-brasserie. A touristy and busy place, great for a 'croissant' and espresso, it's a way to savor the magic of a Seine River bridge at dusk. The heart of Paris is still the Ile de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river where Paris was created in ancient times.

We walk through the streets of Paris once again. And it seems that even the night sings along with the city. An accordionist, this time a young man, softly playing "La Vie En Rose." I sigh deeply and hope blooms in me. The river seems more cheerful, and even the tramps and beggars seem happier under the sky of Paris.

The rain comes and quickly passes, not to interrupt the harmony of Paris. It brings couples closer as they run with short and quick steps to get beneath the balconies.

We are never alone in Paris. Atop a tall, well-defined tower on the edge of the Pont de la Tournelle is the 1928 statue of Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The fifth-century saint is depicted as a young woman, her hands on a child's shoulders representing the city. During her lifetime, Geneviève predicted that Attila and the Mongols would spare Paris from massacre and destruction; after being proven right, she was clamored for as the savior of Paris. Today, she looks out on the water - and perhaps down on me - as a silent protector.

Yes, I have two lovers: my wife and Paris. Both are with me now. They are in perfect harmony; my world is at peace. Tonight I will sleep the sleep of one who is happy!

Bonsoir Paris!


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