Paris, March 2017
I went back home for a couple of days, and a word kept on coming up in my mind. Home. After living around for more than two years, back and forth between places, going back where I grew up always gives me an odd sentiment, a mixture of bitterness and promptness. You never stay for long and you always leave for the same reason you left in the first place, without regrets, and a full stomach – how can you say no to French baguettes, cheese, or pain au chocolat?
Where is home? Is it the place where you’ve grown up? Is it the place you’re currently living in? Is it where you feel at ease? I can only say that it’s certainly not a constant position on the map. Home is supposedly defined as the place where one lives permanently, or a familiar setting, even a place of origin.
Of course, it will always be pleasant to be surrounded by your family, all your friends wanting to know all about your life away, but the excitement quickly disappears, routine too often taking its place, no matter where you live. Everything is going too quickly, people expect too much from you, your friends changing somehow and you understand that people live their lives their own way, at their path, without you in it. Then is home just a feeling or an actual place? From my experience, I would not call home a place, as you can feel comfortable anywhere as long as you have your landmarks, as long as you’re well surrounded.
As time passes by and far from where you were born, the more you realize that there’s no point in getting attached to a place. You might associate a place to a happy memory, or a feeling, or a person but it should not stop you from going away and discover new places. The world has so much to offer, and we have so little time to discover it all. Also, by leaving for a long time in the same place you don’t really see the beauty of the area, you take everything for granted. But the place you were born in doesn’t have to define who you are, or where you should stay. When you think about it, you’re born somewhere you haven’t chosen, it’s all about causes and circumstances. You’re going to live supposedly where your relatives choose to live, and you just have to call this place ‘home’. I was born in Paris, therefore I’ve got few things to complain about, still others might be born in places where violence is rising, where there is no electricity, nor an access to water.
Paris is a great city, from the Quartier Latin to its deepest streets in le Marais and its fancy Haussmannien buildings throughout the whole city adding a je ne sais quoi to Parisian charm. When living in a city, you get used to its surroundings and its people, the traffic, the noises and the perpetual swearing and might not get why your city would attract so many people from all over the world. Yet if you happen to leave this place, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Every time you go back, you see it.
I suppose it’s the Parisian way of life rhymes with chic, distinguished food, designed clothes, posh neighbourhood shopping and ancient history filled with wealthy kings, conquests and luxurious castles that captivate everyone. You’ll always have time for some window shopping, your sight will never get bored of the shopping and the people around you – everyone seems to be good-looking or it might just be that French touch.
Paris is home for everyone; you just have to take a train or a plane to check it out. French people may be known for being snob, pretentious, and all that bullshit, but no country is perfect, and making generalizations won’t get you anywhere.
There is one thing I don’t get: people finding – stupid- excuses not to go away from home. Maybe because they’re comfortable where they are, or they think they are happy there, too afraid of the unknown, or lack of money. But how can you know you won’t be happier elsewhere? How can you grow up without confronting yourself with your own fears? I am not saying that leaving home is an easy thing to do, but sometimes it is needed to discover something better. Life is an adventure, and earth is your home. Stop making excuses to justify yourself that you’ll be happier living in the city you’ve always been living in; you can’t say so until you’ve lived somewhere else for more than two weeks. Don’t be stubborn, open your mind to the world.
Being home is being surrounded by people you love, who make you genuinely happy without having to be someone you’re not. It’s not really a place as you could feel home in Australia, Bali, or Canada. Wherever you go, you’ll meet people you’ll feel comfortable with. I think that’s the best thing about human beings, we can’t live without each other, and yet we make wars against each other – which doesn’t make any sense in my opinion, jealousy and power shouldn’t get the best of us.
A close friend once told me “No man is an island. No country by itself” – you can interpret as you wish – but even if we’re selfish, seeking for our own happiness before others’, following our interests first, still we need one another.
When thinking about home, I got to think about our planet. And if we are seeking for a home, there is no other place than earth, and here we are destroying it every single day just by driving our car, putting out a cigarette on the floor, or whatever bullshit we do without even realizing. Yet, no one does anything about it, we keep on living this way, destroying our own home.
I’ll finish this monologue by saying that if we really want to make a change in the way we treat our environment, the place we live in, we should start by educating kids on how to make a change and that’s where it all starts, with the education the next generation will receive.
But as some would say – truthfully – home is where the food is. I’ll let you sleep on that thought.
Here’s a little list I’ve made of nice, hidden spots
If you’re looking for a good coffee:
- Delirio 39 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France
- Merci 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
- Hotel d’Aubusson 33 Rue Dauphine, 75006 Paris, France
Or for somewhere to have brunch:
- Mariage Frère 260 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France
- Musée Jacquemart-André Café 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France
If you’re looking for an exhibition:
- Musée Marmottan Monet 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris, France
- Musée d’Orsay 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
- Fondation Louis Vuitton 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France
Or maybe for a night out:
- Concrete Port de la Rapée, 75012 Paris, France
- The Bull’s Brothers Pub 27 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris, France
- Le Perchoir 14 Rue Crespin du Gast, 75011 / 33 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004
And if you’re looking for great places to shop:
- Le Bon Marché 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, France
- Colette 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris, France