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more on Paris & Just One Day

 

… but then I turn in the other direction and there’s the Seine. And there’s Paris. Postcard Paris! Paris from French Kiss and from Midnight in Paris and from Charade and every other Paris film I’ve ever seen. I gape at the Seine, which is rippling in the breeze and glimmering in the early-evening sun. Down the expanse of it, I can see a series of arched bridges, draped like expensive bracelets over an elegant wrist. Willem points out Notre Dame Cathedral, just towering there, in the middle of an island in the middle of a river, like it’s nothing. Like it’s any other day, and it’s not the freaking Notre Dame! We pass by another building, a wedding-cake confection that looks like it might house royalty. But, no, it’s just City hall.

     It’s funny how on the tour, we often saw sights like this as we whizzed by on a bus. Ms. Foley would stand at the front of the coach, microphone in hand, and tell us facts about this cathedral or that opera house. Sometimes, we’d stop and go in, but with one or two days per city, most of the time, we drove on by.

     I’m driving by them now too. But somehow, it feels different. Like, being here, outside, on the back of this bike, with the wind in my hair and the sounds singing in my ears and the centuries-old cobblestones rattling beneath my butt, I’m not missing anything. On the contrary, I’m inhaling it, consuming it, becoming it.

     I’m not sure how to account for the change, for all the changes today. Is it Paris? Is it Lulu? Or is it Willem? It is his nearness that makes the city so intoxicating or the city that makes his nearness so irresistible? (pp. 88-89, Just One Day, by Gayle Forman)

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The Paris Effect

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After getting noticed/stared at in Paris, Lulu/Allyson thinks:
“As this lightness buoys me, I wonder if maybe she was right. Maybe it’s not about looking hot for guys, but about feeling like a place acknowledged you, winked at you, accepted you. It’s strange, because, of all the people in all the cities, I’d have thought that to Parisians I’d be invisible, but apparently I’m not. Apparently, in Paris, not only can I skate, but I practically qualify for the Olympics!
It’s official,” I declare. “I love Paris!”
“That was fast.”
“When you know, you know. It’s just become my favorite city in the whole world.”
“It tends to have that effect.” (Just One Day, by Gayle Forman, p. 45/46)

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I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.

“Just One Day” by Gayle Forman (via quoted-books)