The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: How Paris is Just Like You and I

Paris in the rain is not like the Paris that Owen Wilson describes in Midnight in Paris. What Woody Allen was thinking, I’ll never know. Unlike most Americans, I love Paris. It was the first city I traveled abroad to when I was 17. I spent my 18th birthday on top of the Eiffel Tower, floating along the Seine in a river boat, and eating my weight in Nutella crêpes. Do as the French do, I thought, without realizing this isn’t anywhere near what they actually do.

Yet, this wasn’t the time that the rain came. When I went back to Paris two years later, it rained hard and heavy. Maybe it was because it was mad at me for experiencing London for the first time and falling hopelessly in love with London. Paris, I still liked, but there wasn’t that longing feeling I felt when I thought about London. 

You’ll realize that, like you, Paris has her days.

Paris in the rain is dreary and cold. She’s bitter and her friends look at you with disdain when you huddle under a canopy trying to stay dry and figure out where the hell you’re going.

Paris is a cold shoulder in the rain. She doesn’t help guide you along to your next destination. Instead, she puts distractions and annoyances in your way as you try to navigate her narrow streets.

Paris is congestion in the rain. Everyone moves in the same direction and hides in the same areas as you, all thinking that they’ll avoid the raindrops, too.

Paris is a slippery step, a stolen phone and an inappropriate hand gesture in the rain. She drenches her stone steps with puddles that you need to look out for. She sends out people to distract you with flyers and things to sign while digging in your pockets for the phone you just bought weeks earlier.

But, you’re stronger and tougher and more determined than Paris. Sometimes.

Sometimes you look her friends in the eyes and tell them to give your phone back right now, “Mon téléphone, maintenant.” No pleases, just a hand out to grab the phone back while a middle finger points squarely in your face so invasively you have to force yourself not to bend backwards.

Paris can be rolled eyes when you struggle with the language. A hard sigh and frustration when the Americans immediately start asking where the toilets are in English.

Paris is beautiful and wonderful and kind and sweet. She can also be a massive bitch. A venomous creature that will try to sink her claws into your flesh. She’s beautiful in summer and horrible in the spring rain. She can be beauty and grace or vile and rude, but there is a hidden depth in her secret corners.

She’s everything you want her to be. All your expectations are met when you are first introduced. She’s kind and beautiful and makes you want to go out of your way to impress her. Her men are flirtatious and chatty. Her drinks are strong and her friends are kind the first time you enter into her territory.

But a bit later on, when you’re fighting against the cold and steady rain, her other side is shown. She’s having a bad day. The glint in her eye is dull and fading and she’s rude and condescending. You’ll realize that, like you, Paris has her days. Her bright glorious days where the sun is out, couples are holding hands and life feels like it’s finally how it’s meant to be. Then, there are days where she is lonely and pushing everyone away. Days where everything feels … shit. But give her a second. Just wait. Paris can be whatever you want her to be. It all depends on you.

My name is Mackenzie and I'm the Social Media Manager at ALIVE Magazine and Sonder Travel. By day, I consume coffee like it’s my job. By night, I try to force my cat into loving me—and failing continuously. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @kenzieanntaylor and at my blog

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