Midnight in Paris – My Trip And The MoviePosted: March 7, 2012
“Midnight in Paris” is an inspiringly different movie. The first five minutes gives a magnificent ode to the city of Paris. It began with a lowly clarinet, sounding a slow, jazz tune. The scene transitions from street to street, monument to monument, from day to night to rain. Paris is beautiful in the rain. It glistens and shines, as if covered by billions of lit diamonds. It is so beautiful that it brought me to tears several times. And I feel that the director and writer, Woody Allen, mirrored that beauty in the film.
As in many Woody Allen films, his personality is infused in the main character, Gil Pender played by Owen Wilson. Since Gil experiences the many wonders of the city in awe, I feel I relate to him quite a bit. Paris has that effect on people and is a point of inspiration for many. Unlike London, so much of the original city is preserved that you feel as if you are stepping back in time when you walk the streets. The lights will dazzle you. The people will welcome you. Especially if you are polite. The culture will grab you. I wanted to be immersed in it. So I drank the wine at every meal. I tried a different dish every time we ate. Instead of taking a cab, we walked everywhere, experiencing as much as possible. I saw as many museums as I could without falling down from exhaustion. And inside every museum I saw, there were countless masterpieces to behold.
My trip through Paris started early last year. It was a cloudy, misty, rainy day. My fiance Brian Cleary and I, walked out of the hotel for the first time. I was certainly not lacking in anticipation, even in the dismal weather. So excited in fact, I may have been bouncing with every step I took. Glancing around, I thought it looked familiar. Isn’t a new city is supposed to look especially different? There must be something I am missing… I need to look harder. The cobblestone? Well I have seen cobblestone before. The cars? Hmmm, they still look like cars. The people? Well, they don’t look especially different. But I live in New York. Since there are many different types of people living there, my point of view may be skewed.
Where is it? I thought. Where is the infamous Paris? This is the city of dreams, art and love. What about the store fronts? They look pretty normal to me, but how do I know what normal is. Alright, there’s a poll. The poll is red and in the middle of a sidewalk. That’s a bit odd. I wonder what that is there for, weird.
We reached the end of a block, but there was no corner. It just looked like several streets converging in a massive oval shape. Thankfully, I had Brian to guide me on this vacation. It’s already becoming too difficult to remember how to get back to the hotel. It starts with: left, right, left, immediate right, walk a bit, then bear right? Possibly, I thought to myself.
That’s new. What is that man, dressed up in full uniform, doing in a large glass box? Ah I see, he is a policeman. No wait, that does not explain anything. Why is he in a that box? He does not change his facial expression or even flinch! It seemed a bit troubling, but I pushed the policeman in a box out of my mind.
This looks like it’s a big street coming up in front of me. I bet this one will hold some of this paris I seek.
“Wow, what’s that?” I asked brian, pointing to a large building across the street with a glass roof and a rather large chariot sculpture at the top.
“That is the Grand Palace”, he answered.
Alright, I thought. Grand palace sounds like a prominent and interesting title. I don’t remember walking around any palaces in New York… Lets see, should we turn left or right? “Brian, which way is it to the Louvre?”
“To the left”, he said. “This is the Champ De Elysee. The Louvre is at the end, after the massive ferris wheel”.
“Ok, let us venture that direction”.
My head was darting left, right, up, and down. Taking in the new street that was definitely different from anything I’ve seen before. I was quite sure. Then I smelled something so amazingly delicious, I had to stop. It was a sandwich stand. I didn’t know how to pronounce anything on the menu. So instead, I just pointed at the different ingredients I wanted, nodded, said “merci”, and gave the nice french man a few funny looking coins. The coins looked more like play money, than actual currency. He gave me back different funny looking coins, and we were on our way to the Louvre again.
I’m not really a fan of sandwiches, but I had high hopes for this sandwich. Since it lured me so intensely with its delectable scent. The taste if it though, that was to die for. It left you with a fresh, sweet and spicy tang which only made you want more.
We finally made our way to the ferris wheel at the end of the Champ De Elysee. I wanted to keep walking into the Tuileries Gardens which I knew were in front of the Louvre, but Brian insisted that the best course of action would be to hop on the ferris wheel and get a better look at the city. It took awhile before the car we were in on the ferris wheel crept to the top. But when we finally got there, the world opened up into a wonderland of gorgeous architecture, ornate facades, breath-taking views across the river Sane, and the Louvre. There it was, off in the distance. It was so huge it looked like a palace. I found out later, the Louvre actually was a palace, and converted into a museum later. I knew the Louvre wasn’t open that day. So I’d have to wait until later in the trip to see it.
The second time I saw the city of Paris from a great height was a few days later. When I stood at the top of the Eiffel tower taking in the breath-taking view of the city. I was awe-struck. I realized then that no individual artwork can compare to all the nuances one can see in a city like Paris. The view combined every masterpiece into one gigantic piece of living elegance. As I recognized some of the far away sculptural specs below, I began to tear up. And soon, I was crying so much, and became so emotional, I had to look away. But I would not leave, oh no no no. I wanted to hold on to this feeling of awe. When all the world you know melts away until you are left with nothing but happiness. I wanted to stay on top of the Eiffel tower for as long as I could, until they closed even. And so we did. We stayed for five hours and enjoyed every minute.
I loved being in Paris. I was so upset when we finally had to leave a few days later. It was not enough time. I still had so much left I wanted to see, but I knew we had to leave. All good things must come to an end. My fiance Brian promised we would come back. “Don’t be sad”. He said, “we had such a lovely time.” So, we traveled home, and went about our normal lives.
My birthday rolled around a few months later, and he thought the perfect gift would be a night out at the movies. To see a movie I’ve never heard of called “Midnight in Paris”. Obviously I knew Paris was in the very title, but other than that, I did not know what to expect. Then the movie flicked on, and I heard a lowly clarinet, sounding a slow, jazz tune. The visuals showed simple, but beautiful shots of everywhere in Paris, from day to night to rain. It was sweet. No, it was more than sweet. It was perfect. I thought to myself, I remember that street corner. We ate at that restaurant. We walked through that garden. In a few minutes, all my memories and feeling of Paris came back, and I was crying. It’s just as beautiful as I remember. What a lovely gift.