The signs were unmistakable. A feeling of buoyancy, of lightness, a renewed spring in my step. That familiar sensation of seeing the city through a filter, bathed in a flattering, glowing light.
Last weekend, I fell head over heels in love.
It hit me first on Friday, when I stepped out of the métro at Odéon. Shivering in the cold as I waited for a friend to arrive for our cinema date, I took in the animated bustle around the monument everyone chooses for a rendez-vous point. Girls waiting breathlessly for a special boy to arrive, smiling shyly when he appeared. Groups of students arguing over which film to see. Mobile phones pressed to every available ear. A buzz, an excitement, which I had long forgotten, but which reminded me of my early days in Paris, of Mr Frog and I when we shared a tiny maid’s room near the Sorbonne, went out in St Germain almost every night.
Saturday, stepping out of an apartment building in the rue des Envierges, I decided to take a detour through the backstreets of Belleville, where it is so easy to imagine the village it once was, with its cobbled streets and few remaining villas with walled gardens. The sky was periwinkle blue, the birds were singing, and I felt my spirits lifting; overwhelmingly glad to be alive.
Later, leaving Le Flore, the taste of a sinful, thick hot chocolate lingering on my lips, I took a stroll along the banks of the Seine, on a whim. A vague, half-formed plan to buy a book, was casually shrugged off in favour of letting my feet lead the way. My boots took me across the Pont Neuf, where I half-smiled at the sight of the couples gathered in its alcoves; bemused to note that seeing them caused me no pain.
Sunday, pleasantly exhausted after a long evening which began with a bar in the rue Montorgeuil, continued with a restaurant, and ended with a pendaison de cremaillère where I met some fascinating people and talked until the small hours, I struck out for a friend’s house near the Park Monceau, a bunch of delicate pink tulips in one hand, a warm baguette under my arm (and flour on my coat, because I haven’t mastered quite how one can do all those things and yet remain immaculate).
Monday morning, despite grey skies and light drizzle, a distracted glance from my kitchen window as I cupped my bowl of steaming café au lait fell on the deep, buttery yellow of the crocuses I had the foresight to plant in December.
Last weekend, Paris opened her arms to me and I fell into them, gladly. Gratefully.
I had forgotten how much it is possible to love this city.