Reignition in Paris / by Hannah Harley

It was my first trip to Paris that ignited my interest in photography. My semester there taught me about art. So when I found out that it was cheaper to fly to Paris than to Nashville, I jumped on it.

Two of my friends followed and all of a sudden, we were strolling through the small cobblestone streets again, seeking good food and wine. (Which, in Paris, both are abundant.)

I was surprised; however, by the museums. When I spent the fall and winter there in 2014, the museums weren't crowded. It was easy to navigate through the streets then. But the warmth of May, which reached up to 97 degrees fahrenheit, brought out an unending stream of tourists. So I naturally spent most of my time trying to run away from them. I'm not a nervous person typically, but large crowds and large shopping facilities tend to stressful me out more than I'd like to admit. (So naturally, I live in New York now..) So we dodge tourists where we could and spent time in cafes, sipping espresso and sitting on terraces. The French have a very different set of standards when it comes to quality of life. They don't put up with bad food or bad art or bad wine or bad company. It makes for some pretty incredible experiences for a couple of tourists who are used to sad, speedy New York salads.. 

It was just so pleasant to be back in a city where I transformed so much and learned about art for the first time. I've missed the quiet lull of it. (Also, Paris is MUCH quieter than New York, which we assume is because of the lack of noise pollution from hybrid and electric vehicles in Paris.) It's a city that relies on a slower pace, which is a breath of fresh air (haha literally) compared to the endless barrage of New York. New York can be very invigorating for some, exhausting for others. 

If you're ever thinking of traveling to Paris, I think you should. My grandma lists it as one of the ten worst places in the world, but it was a haven to me. I would recommend the winter though.. It's never too cold, but the bustle of tourists calm down and the espresso is that much more satisfying when you cuddle into a cafe for an afternoon sip. 

If I'm honest, I wish I was there again. At my favorite little window-side booth on the river, watching the city lights twinkle on the water. It is soul-soothing. 

And now, after that beautiful Parisian breath of fresh air and sweet friendship, it's time to dive head first into the summer intensive for the Parsons MFA Photo program. Life still seems like it's a surreal dream out of someone else's life.