Yesterday I wandered through the streets of Paris. The sun illuminated the golden statues on the roof of Opera Garnier, a sight I’ve passed many times, and I thought about how a city changes between visits.

During the nineties I got lost in the northeastern suburbs. During the 00s I sang from the stage of Moulin Rouge and imitated Quasimodo the hunchback in Place des Vosges.

For some strange reason they decided to let me back in the country after all that, and here I am.

Opera Garnier, Paris Ghosts of arias past.

But even though the city itself is changing, as well as the inhabitants, I believe most of the perceived change is coming from within. I am certainly not the same person as I was on my first visit to Paris. This is one part of my love for traveling, to see familiar things through new eyes.

Notre Dame, Paris Street spirit.

But chasing ghosts can be a disappointing experience. One might as well discover that the former magic simply is not there anymore. We often try to recreate something that can’t be recreated. What makes the difference is mostly about the company, not the surroundings. And people always change.

“Ah, Paris. City of light. City of love. City of… breakfast? Yes please.”
— Anthony Bourdain

On a more positive note, Paris is also one of the cities which kick-started my love for travels back in the nineties. A lot of history, amazing architecture and excellent food. I could do without all the doggy drops, though.


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