Up All Night in Paris: A Photo Tour

(Full photo slideshow at the bottom.)

“We’ll always have Paris.”

That famous line from Casablanca (which, shamefully, I’ve never seen) gets thrown around a lot, mostly in jest. After living here for four and a half months I finally know what that line actually means to me. It took staying up all night and meandering around Paris in the middle of the night with my friend Jenna from Paris Cheapskate to finally get it.

“Having” Paris doesn’t necessarily mean going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and taking pictures. It’s not going to the Louvre or climbing all the stairs to get to Sacre Coeur on Montmartre to see the view and it’s not sitting in Luxembourg Gardens. That’s just seeing Paris.

Having Paris, to me, is kind of like having The Night with someone you like, the epic all-nighter where you talk until the sun comes up, without a single pause, when you realize that this person is Somebody Special. You don’t know why it all clicks, but it just does; it’s magic. Maybe it’s just for that one night. Maybe you never see that person again. Maybe you have a long relationship then a horrible, shitty breakup. But eventually, you get over the heartbreak or the anger and you remember the feeling you had on The Night.  Because we’re all addicted to that feeling. And the feeling requires another person.

For me, that’s “having” Paris: sharing it with somebody else, somebody who acts as a reflection for the “oh my god, can you believe how freaking awesome this is?” moments. Even the most normal things, like having a coffee, a glass of wine, or walking around the city are somehow more special here because we’re in Paris. Much in the same way that adding “in bed” to the end of your fortune-cookie fortune makes it better, adding “in Paris” to something makes whatever you’re doing better, too. And when you have that “in Paris” with somebody, that’s “having” Paris. At least to me.

Last night, Jenna and I saw Paris in a way that a lot of people will never have the time or the chance to see it. The streets were quiet and sleepy … and then out of nowhere, they exploded with noise and life, a whole separate world of people who were living this mini, nighttime version of Paris with us. Then we’d walk a little bit and go back to silence. Empty bridges. People-less streets. The Seine completely smooth, like glass. Small yellow stars dotting a black sky. The same sky turning to indigo, then pink, then light blue. Standing on the Champs de Mars with no one else, in absolute silence, enjoying the calm before the daily tourist storm.

If I make it to be an old lady who wears ugly, orthopedic shoes, last night is the kind of night that I’ll remember and say, “I still can’t believe I got to do that. I was pretty lucky.”

So to Travis and Kelly, to Whitney, Jenni, Leslie, Aram, Andy, Sel, Michael, Adam, Rana, Mandy, and soon to be Jen, KDub, and Emily….

And to Jenna, my nocturnal wine-drinking goddess of a Paris-loving friend …

To you guys I say …

We’ll always have Paris. Merci.

If you’re interested in joining us for the next one, hit Jenna or me up on email, or tweet us: @RBrownie or @ParisCheapskate. PS: Thanks to Jenna for all of her amazing shots. They’re mixed in with my crappy iPhone ones, so basically, if a picture is good and clear, it’s hers. Don’t steal them without asking pretty please.