First impressions. Playing with new ways of perceiving and delivering images.
My first impressions of paris are flighty and full of good and bad connotations.
Paris is a beautifully old place, but as much as we can appreciate the history it must also be tempered by the fact that the place is meant to look old! In fact this ceiling (pictured) is from the opera house where the building was made to resemble buildings that could have been built a century before.
Napoleon's name and initials are all over this slow drifting city. The large N's emblazoned on bridges and buildings make me happy that my name is Nadia, but simultaneously disgust me at his personal conceit. Napolean made grand and beautiful changes to this city, but he did it with an attitude that could disgust even the staunchest capitalist. The ideas that drove that man do not line up with my American sensibilities.
In general while I do quite love the culture of paris as it focuses on art, culture and the quality of life, I also am sensitive to the places it differs from my core values as a rugged individualist. Because I know my world view is colored by the American dream I can see why some small things rub me the wrong way here.
Another thing I see is that while I am not enthralled by commercialism (in fact I find it rather abhorrent) I see that Paris has a different take on it. It isn't as blatant and disgusting here and it has roots in a nearly feminist type revolution of culture. I love that the women of Paris found a niche of freedom in the department stores of the day. Shopping all together does not need to be gaudy and overbearing in Paris it is a chic and refined activity that isn't indulged in as if you were gorging yourself on fatty burgers and fries. here it feels much more like going to an expensive café for aperitifs.
All and all, like any place there are things I love and things that bring offense to my world view, but in looking at Paris, it is the best opportunity to re-examine myself. To see, why do I like these things? Why do these things offend me? Challenging yourself in a new place is the best way to grow.