That's Paris

Energy alive. The metro zips unknowns to destinations in this great city. This city which I love to hate, hate to love, but ultimately love to love. Paris, my old girlfriend, who always gives me her fantasy with a pinch of spice reality to keep me honest. I respect her. I love her.




In Montmarte the world collides in front of the Sacre Coeur church. Silly girls pose like they’re at tryouts for Vogue, while merchants peddle everything from trinkets to ice cold Heinekens. A group of African Parisians steal the spotlight with their melodies, rhythms and guitars. They take turns freestyling and singing, while a saxophonist comes of out nowhere to match the melody.




"Africaaaaa!" they sing.

All the while Asians, Italianos, Spanish, and whoever, join in. That's Paris.

---

I head out to meet a good friend, Marie, for her birthday. I arrive at the address to find a green wooden wall with a cutaway door. Inside a man is urinating in the dark alleyway. On the phone my friend says that it is the right spot. Come on in.

I follow the darkness to see the front of Le Comptoir Général. Restaurant, bar, dance hall, museum. It's everything you want from anything as bohemians mix with old tymers and foreigners alike. A seemingly all-African Parisian staff serves up food, drinks, and authentic jewelry.


"How did you find this place?" I ask.

"I didn't," says Marie. "Julie did."

I look to Julie.

"A friend told me as well." she says.

It takes a friend, to get in.

---

That night I saw a woman get her purse snatched while boarding the metro. The bastard was as fast as the thieving winds which carried him. Impossible to catch. I'd never seen that before.

---

I'm back in Montmartre. It is my favorite place in Paris. I am on the search for a cafe when I see Les Deux Moulins, the restaurant from the movie Amelié starring Miss Audrey Tatou. I couldn't resist the chance.


It's just like the movie. Pasty pastel colors everywhere, and the patrons seem interesting enough. I take a coffee, some photos and the waitresses’ smile. She takes my money. Fair enough.






The couple at the table next to me asks how much my camera costs. When they find out I am from Texas they shower me with concern for having been born in such a "racist" place, and buy me a drink.

"I'm here with a real Texan!" he says. "Be good my brother!"



They leave me with a clean tab, and wide smile.

That's Paris.