The Eiffel Tower, Fashion and Gelato, Oh My!

As I walk up the staircase exiting the metro, my head spins and my eyes wander the stunning Parisian streets that seem like they are from an untouched, glamorous Hollywood set. The Eiffel Tower looms over the city while the river Seine flows through the center as Parisians hustle with elegance on the streets. I come to the surreal realization that this is my temporary home for the next five weeks.

During this past summer one, I had the opportunity to study the history and commerce of fashion in the fashion capital of the world. From art museums, to fashion exhibits, food and music, I immersed myself in Parisian culture and “la mode.” This experience led me to have many memorable moments, gave me knowledge on new concepts and sparked a love for the city of Paris. In order to effectively share my overall experience on this dialogue, I have gathered my top five memories that made it as amazing, enjoyable and fun as it was.

1. The Tower

Turning a corner, we saw the breathtaking structure hover over tourists from all over the world with its structural beauty. The tower brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart. At the age of seven, I became infatuated with the idea of going to Paris to witness two things: the fashion and the Eiffel tower. I did not see the tower as simply a piece of architecture, rather a sign of accomplishment that I had finally seen it in person, reminding me that goals can be fulfilled with hard work and resilience no matter the discouragement of others.

2. Gelato

The sweet and cold dessert warmed my heart with memories of walking through the street of Paris at night. During every gelato run, I tasted new flavors and combinations that filled my taste buds with a joy regular American ice cream simply cannot replace.

3. Versailles

The palace grounds were a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Parisian city life. I soaked in the sun and laid in the fresh green grass amid budding flowers growing in the fields. I wandered through mazes and gardens similar to Alice in Wonderland, however I was in search of traces of the late queen, Marie Antoinette.

4. Ratatouille

My all time favorite Pixar film is Ratatouille, the story of Remy, a talented little Parisian chef who just so happens to be a harmless rat. Ironically, I unfortunately did not come across a friendly chef rodent, instead having to deal with a mouse-infested apartment during my first 72 hours in the city of Paris. During my first afternoon in the city, my roommate and I got to know each other while devising a plan to remove a dead mouse from the premise of our apartment. Despite it being a terrifying experience, I was able to establish a friendship with my roommate and a bond over our own Ratatouille experience that no one will ever understand.

5. Alaia

One of the most impressive fashion designer exhibits we saw was of the late Azzedine Alaia. The perfectly fitted silhouettes that were known to be worn by strong women left me in awe. The exhibit reminded me that fashion has the power to enhance a woman’s beauty, not to diminish or shame.

All  photos courtesy of Ariana Matos