The Paris that I knew before I stepped foot on it was a place I associated with the Enlightenment, with Romance, with Beauty, and with the legacy of endless stories told and filmed. I didn’t know what to expect, but the anticipation was real.
More than the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, or the Notre Dame, the one place that I really wanted to see was the River Seine. It was the place of dreams, the place where Celine and Jesse had the chance to continue the conversation they left behind nine years ago in Vienna. It was the 塞纳河 of many a love songs.
Jesse: Oh, God, why didn’t we exchange phone numbers and stuff? Why didn’t we do that?
Celine: Because we were young and stupid.
Jesse: Do you think we still are?
Celine: I guess when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.
Jesse: And you can screw it up, you know, misconnect.
I often feel that the tales that touch you the most are those with a hint of regret. The younger me loved “Before Sunrise” for its beauty, for its whimsical indulgence of two young adults’ flight of fancy and the promise and anticipation in the world we are stepping out to explore. The older me broke my heart over the realism of “Before Sunset” and the “what-it-could-have-been” as we look back at the detours we took in our lives and the people we missed.
And because of that, a desire for a stroll along River Seine brought me all the way to Paris.