Friday, February 22, 2008
It's official: I'm in Paris. How do I know? I can smell it. Paris exudes a scent that has a certain, je ne sais quoi. In fact, most French cities I've visited produce the very same smell, making this a country-wide rather than city-specific phenomenon. If you've never experienced it yourself, it's a bit difficult to explain in words, but if you've ever been here, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's sort of a sewer smell, but not entirely disgusting like the wafts coming off the water treatment plant in Alexandria, Virginia. Actually, it's not a revolting smell at all. But don't get me wrong - it's not like the aroma of freshed-baked bread and croissants either. It's the sickly sweet smell of not-so-fresh water that most certainly makes its way above ground from the city's drainage system. Oddly enough, it's rather comforting. Every morning as I make my way to the Pont de Sevres metro stop, I know that I woke up in the exact same place I went to sleep. Try it when you come here...one deep breath is all it takes, and there's no mistaking it: you're in Paris.