When I travel I try to stray off the beaten path. You still get to experience the touristy side of the city but also find the little intricacies that only the locals really know about. During my time in Paris I of course visited the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe but the walks to those landmarks were much more interesting than the landmarks themselves. I met two French girls who told me about their lives in Paris, a group of tourists who planned their days around sunsets (see below) and some older gentlemen by the Seine who treated me to some wine and stories of their youth. You cannot really put a price on those experiences and you also won’t find them in any holiday brochure and yet this is what stuck with me. The landmarks are just the backdrop, the story you have to make for yourself.
Midnight In Paris
At the end of the 18th century, the technical advances of the Industrial Revolution facilitated the use of metal, which was used to reinforce stone in buildings as well as in civil engineering structures and frameworks. In the first half of the 19th century, metal was also used in the construction of specific buildings, glasshouses in particular, but the combination of stone and metal always seemed more appropriate for ensuring the monumentality of a building.
In the middle of the century, the success of the Crystal Palace in London (1851), and then of the Central Market Hall (Les Halles) in Paris (1854), both with a design based mainly on metal structures, revealed the aesthetic qualities of this material. From then on, the increasingly widespread use of cast iron and iron became a symbol of French industrial and technical success, as demonstrated at the Universal Exhibition of 1889, by the Gallery of Machines and above all the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower would achieve iconic status, a symbol of the capital but also a symbol of the aspirations of a society making great technological advances.
I’m a big fan of Woody Allen and on first viewing ‘Midnight in Paris’ left me a little bit confused. It strayed from his classic ‘guy meets girl in New York’ formula and yet I find myself returning to it more often than ‘Annie Hall’ or ‘Manhattan’. As classic as those movies are ‘Midnight in Paris’ touches on a fundamental aspect of nostalgia. In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. (SOURCE) This is why I believe it’s important not to forget your past but to learn from it. Past experiences allow you to grow as a person but they do not define you. We also tend to view the past with rose tinted glasses, whether it’s partners or experiences, the ones in the past sometimes feel ‘better’ than what we have now. Ironically that’s just a story that we tell ourselves because we have the power of time and context to analyse the situation in full. I bet whatever hardships you’re going through at the moment will seem less significant if you look back on them in a years time.
The characters in ‘Midnight in Paris’ long for the past because they cannot accept the present and that’s a very dangerous mindset because you have no idea what the future may bring. If you knew what the future held in store for you then this game of life would be anything but interesting. Chess players abandon a game when it’s obvious who’s going to win even if there are plenty of pieces left on the board because it’s no longer interesting to continue playing. In life it’s exactly the same, you want to know about the future but you also wish to be surprised.
Get The Look
“Nostalgia is denial. Denial of the painful present. The name for this denial is Golden Age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in – its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”
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