I’m realizing Paris has always sort of been an impressionist painting for me - a big, colorful, beautiful blur without much detail. All water lilies and wine and torrid love affairs and Midnight in Paris. And while I absolutely loved the city, I also - like your food poisoning, and I suppose like every time my knowledge is confined to what I get from movies and textbooks and media - found that the dirty detail of the city isn’t as pretty as my faraway impressions. In daylight the Eiffel Tower looks sort of rusty-tin-can, the café smoke smells wonderful until it chokes me, the feted Metro is hot and crammed at every hour, and Monet’s gardens were swarming with bugs. And further out from the postcard-ready city center, packed and poorly maintained apartment complexes house Parisians who somehow didn’t get access to the gold-plated legacy of Versailles.
But, staying out in the 19th, I gained a much greater love for the city seeing its many parts rather than just the postcard scenes.”