It's difficult to untangle my actual feelings about Paris from my expectations of Paris, expectations built on years and years of studying French and reading books and books and books set in Paris. In any case it was impossible to believe that I was actually in Paris until our boat brought the Eiffel Tower into view, all impossibly delicate and so formidably sturdy at the same time. In retrospect this is perhaps true of all of Paris, but what was true at the time is that being in Paris felt so right I thought I could burst, like in dreams when you find a room in your house that you realize was there all along. I can understand how Franz Reichelt believed that he could fly in just his overcoat, jumping off of that tower. If it was going to work anywhere, it would work there.
I suppose it's pretty much impossible not to romanticize Paris, but Paris does its part by living up to the hype. I am lucky enough to have been to some places that are just beautiful no matter which direction you look (remember Venice?), but Paris is the sort of beauty you can settle into, that you could live in without feeling crowded. Ginsberg once said of Paris, "You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden." If I could, I would go back to Paris tomorrow.