When I think of Paris, my mind escapes to the small streets of Montmartre. Buying fresh pastries form the boulangerie next door, taking a left and being suddenly surrounding by tourists of all nationalities, just to take a right again and being stranded in an empty street again, with nothing but your breakfast, the music from the studio in the 8th floor and pure Paris.
That time when I came to the quater early enough to enjoy it without the mass, I saw the arts enfold themselves at 9:15 a.m. The first shops opened up, the first Frenchman started organising their stands, the first pictures were put o display. The artists on the large square, which was soon to be filled with visitors, chatted with each there, looked at the works, discussed and drank their coffee.
But one man in particular had caught my eye. He was standing behind his small stand, behind his canvas, installing his little radio which still had an aerial and quietly sung the words to his heartbeat sang. I looked at him, I was amazed by his joy in such old age.
You could sense that he was genuinely happy. Even though he probably tries to sell his paintings to tourists every day, some days more successful than others, he is doing something he loves. He is a represent of the art in the city of love. His face and his works are what Paris stands for in the eyes of visitors.
He then noticed me and talked to me, I took the chance and asked him what his favourite painting was, on the search for a unique purchase but also his opinion. He turned around to look at his works, then looked at me, pointed to the square and said “Actually, this one”, whilst meaning the city of Paris.
He adored his city, no matter if he was born in the capital or not, I never asked. Because what counts is the feeling. If a place feels like home, then you have right to call it so. And this was his home with all his heart, his safe haven. This man embodies the Parisian artist, even more so in a lively center, being a passion and source of inspiration for tourists. But also he is showing his passion towards the Parisian lifestyle everyday, from 9:30 a.m. on, whistling and painting.