Home… isn’t that the most wonderful place on earth?
I’m back in London with my mind on France… and as much as I adore to move, I’m happy to rest.
Inevitably I thought about the differences between the major cities when I was on my travels… especially those of New York and Paris.
Both major, important and stimulating cities… but for very different reasons.
New York is edgy, bold and frenetic… moving at a rapid speed… always forwards. There is no still in New York… no feeling of calm… The energy is palpable, infectious.
That’s why we all love it so… the reason for a New York injection from time to time… An urban therapy.
Paris on the other hand is classic, gentle… soft… and very firmly entrenched in the past.
For me, Paris meanders along at her own pace… I slip in and glide along with her.
In New York I play catch up… moving along with the crowd, thrilled to be involved in the chase.
In both cities I spend my time looking upwards.
New York is all skyscrapers, shadows and reflections… Sharp angles and hard edges. Innovative and experimental.
How high can they fly? What engineering feats will be mastered?
Even the low rise, the older and more historical centres of the city have a sharpness to them… external staircases that drop in an orderly fashion… blocks of red brick buildings lined up in uniform manner.
In Paris, the tall are far away and while the centre of the city is very orderly there is a softness to the architecture.
A femininity to Haussmann that slows the city down.
Much like the female presence in the family… softness quietens us all. Keeps us in check.
New York rises above… Paris wraps herself around us.
And what about the New Yorker?
I adore the can do, will do, must do attitude of the locals.
New Yorkers live with such purpose… as if every day is a new beginning with fresh drive and increased ambition.
They move purposefully, they dress purposefully… there appears little extravagance.
Black reigns supreme, accessories are minimal.
Street style is their elegance. Comfort is their chic.
Coffee is to go.
The Parisian is so different… from my observations.
They meander, nothing interrupts le petit dejeuner or lunch.
Nourishment is social and very rarely on the run.
It’s a broad statement but in my experience, life comes before work.
Fashion before practicality.
Most Parisians are not itinerant… they belong to their city and the city belongs to them.
New York and Paris are walking cities, they are visual extravaganzas.
There is so much to see, to learn and to experience… there will never be enough in one lifetime.
Both are magical places… with the flick of their wands they transport us.
Into the future and back in time.
New York, you are steely and bright… decisive. Paris you are muted, filtered and deliberate.
Do I have a favourite city… No.
That’s like asking which one of my children do I love more.
Impossible… there is no such thing.
Am I closer to one city than the other… Yes.
Paris, she is more familiar. I know and understand her better. We are more accustomed to each other.
Tell me … the differences between the cities? Are you a Paris or a New York kind of woman? xv
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