Story interview – Paris by Charlotte Zhu from Tripcell Amsterdam, NL

1. Tell me something about yourself, Claudia.

I am passionate about writing poetry and prose and I published a volume of poetry “The odyssey of my lost thoughts”, inspired by the beautiful city of love and romance, Paris.

I was awarded David Burland Poetry Prize 2017, Special Mention, in England, UK, for the poem “Paris”.

The central theme of my poetry book is love. The book is structured in four chapters: Hope, Passion, Pain and Resilience. Basically it expresses that – you can not be loved the way you want it, until you don’t love yourself first.

My poetry book is available for sale in famous bookstores worldwide such us Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Carturesti and online on Amazon Book Depository.

I have a website with a blog attached and an Instagram page @claudiapavelpoetry, where I regularly post pictures from vacations accompanied by poetry.

I also love art, literature, old movies, classical music, opera, meditation and cats.

I derive great pleasure from traveling, discovering interesting places and meeting new people.

What does Paris mean to you?

Paris is the home of my soul. Paris to me is like in my poetry:

“It’s made of poetry and art and lost hearts enhanced in magic/

It’s the kingdom of love, where free spirits find their resilience/

It’s the dream catcher of lost passion and deep silence/

It’s the torso where rebel souls find their homeland/

It’s the beginning of a dream and the end of another/

It’s what keeps you up in the night, when you’re breathing dreams/

It’s that madness of artists caught in the wind/

It’s the night on a full moon drown between chimeras/

It’s you making love to me, under the blessings of Seine…”

(excerpt from my poem “Paris”)

2. What attracts you to settle down in here? Would you like to stay here longer?

What I love about Paris is the elegance that floats in the air. I love the fact that in every corner of Paris you are able to discover a wonderful hidden place, that reveals to you a memory, a secret and is absolutely charming. In every corner you discover beauty and art. Paris is poetry within itself. It’s like time stops and allows you to breathe its wonder. I believe that everything is fascinating about Paris, from art and culture to gastronomy, night life and fashion. All of the aspects marked by a profound sense of elegance.

Everything that you do in Paris is surrounded by magic. From the moment you wake up and enjoy a coffee and a croissant in the morning and just watch French people speeding up to work and spreading a complicated lasting fragrance in the air and until late in the night, when you admire the lightened Paris from above, enjoying some cocktails in a roof top bar.

You have plenty of daylight because God made the days longer in Paris than in the rest of the world, so you can enjoy more of the mesmerizing city of love.

So you have plenty of time to visit museums, art galleries, libraries, to read a book in the magical Tuileries Garden, while the magnificent statues are your guardian angels, enjoy French dishes in cozy little restaurants, that are absolutely divine, have fun in a stylish shopping session and in the evening attend a jazz concert, an opera performance or a theatre one.

3. When talking about Paris, “Eiffel Tower”, “les Champs-Elysees” and “Musee du Louvre” are top three words that comes to tourists’ mind. How do you think about them? Can they well represent Paris?

“Eiffel Tower” it is indeed the symbol of Paris and it appears on almost every postcard and t-shirt as a representation of Paris. I love how “The Iron Lady” sparkles on Bastille Day, on 14th of July and all the enthusiasm of French people and visitors. You can feel it on the streets, especially on Champs-Elysees. “The Iron Lady” has a special glitter on that particular day.

“Musee du Louvre” is very special to me, I spent there 6 hours and had only seen two of three wings.

I go very often to Louvre and I love to read or write in the magnificent Tuileries Gardens, which I find absolutely splendid for such.

 4. If someone wants to experience the “real Paris”, where would you recommend or what would you recommend to do? Why?

To experience the “real Paris” I would recommend tourists to have a picnic on the banks of the Seine River. There is a variety of French goodies to put into a picnic basket: tiny sandwiches, cheeses, salads, the famous quiche, fruits, baguette and of course Macarons & Champagne. The air is filled with romance and impeccable style. You get to feel the real vibe of Paris and the French talking on the background is absolutely adorable.

5. What is your favorite part of Paris? (culture/architecture/ etc)

I love Paris as a whole. I believe that all parts of Paris are interconnected. You can not have Paris as marvelous as it is, otherwise. There is a particular elegance that floats in the Parisian air, whether you are in Place Vendôme or in Montmartre and in the same time I adore the studied simplicity of Parisians.

I do have a certain interest in the cultural life and Paris is so vivid when it comes to this aspect. In the same time, I love to get wrapped up in thought on the streets, to have a glass of wine in a typically French restaurant and enjoy a delicious French dish. The French cuisine is an absolute masterpiece.

6. Can you give us few travel tips, anything you would like to share or inspire others. Can you recommend any restaurants, attractions, museums, shops and their stories which you know or you have experienced?

I would like to recommend other museums than the well known ones, such as:

Musée de la Vie romantique (Monmartre) where you can discover interesting aspects from the life of the famous female writer George Sand and remain for a coffee and a croissant in the lovely garden of Salon de Thé.

Musée de l’Orangerie is a beautiful art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings situated in the lovely Tuileries Gardens. You can admire the lovely Monet’s Water-lily paintings, displayed all along the walls. In the museum are available eight paintings from the total of 250 plus paintings of water lilies, he painted in his gardens in Giverny during his last 30 years of life.

Maison de Victor Hugo museum is the beautiful house where the famous author of “Les Miserables” lived in Paris for 16 years. The museum located in Place des Vosges, depicts a beautiful period from the writer’s life.

Musée des Archives Nationales, known as the Musée de l’Histoire de France presents collections of the government archives and documents attesting France’s history and the evolution of French society. In the gardens of the museum you can find one of the cars that belonged to the beloved French president Georges Pompidou, a Citroen from 1965.

L’Atelier des Lumières is the digital museum of fine art, in Paris. Modern technology combined the masterpieces of Gustave Klimt’s and Van Gogh’s art with music of great masters, making a one of a kind experience for the visitors.

Other wonderful places to visit in Paris:

Bibliothèque Mazarine, created by Cardinal Mazarin for his personal use, in the 17th century, it must be a delight for book lovers. It hosts the richest collections of rare books and manuscripts in France. The Reading room looks like is depicted from an old movie. The reading experience is like you are about to find out the secrets of humanity.

Shakespeare & Co, the most famous bookstore in Paris, opposite to Notre Dame de Paris, where the masterpiece “Ulysses”, by James Joyce was first published in 1922, by the owner and founder of the bookstore Ms Sylvia Beach and for selling Hemingway’s first book “Three Stories and Ten Poems”, in 1923. I find this place absolutely adorable and it holds a bit of my heart in it, since is the place where I had my first reading in public. The entire story, you can find it on my blog.

Opera Granier or Palais Garnier is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. For those who love opera, I highly recommend to attend an opera performance at Palais Garnier. The auditorium is absolutely remarkable, the stage is the biggest in Europe and just the thought of listening to opera under Chagall’s painted ceiling and that marvellous chandelier it is such a bliss.

Duc des Lombards is one of the main jazz clubs in Paris. The acoustic is absolutely exceptional and the club welcomes diverse contemporary jazz artists that create an atmosphere full of excitement. The place is very cozy and hosts jazz concerts every day from 7pm.

My favourite cafés and restaurants in Paris:

Les Deux Magots is a famous Parisian café, situated in Saint Germain des Prés. It was the randezvous place for reputable writers and intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, just to mention a few.

Café de Flore famous for its fancy clientele, during the post-war years is situated in Saint Germain des Prés, just between The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and her competitor café Les Deux Magots.

Les Éditeurs – Restau-bibliothèque in Paris. Is located in Carrefour de l’Odéon. It is one of the places that simply fascinates me. The place has a certain agitation that inspire my thoughts. I just love to have wine and write poetry in this place. To me it is very French representative.

Bar Vandôme, Ritz Paris – probably my favorite place to chill in Paris. I just love to enjoy a coffee in the elegant garden of Bar Vandôme. I have a poem in the book written in the garden of Bar Vandôme inspired by and dedicated to the majestic hotel. It’s called “Ritz Paris after rain”.

“Memories of forgotten worlds,/

of high spirits,/

of unspoken words, hidden between the walls,/

reveal towards you in perfect harmony./

There’s a certain smell in the rare air of Ritz,/

the musical notes of forgotten old songs/

inspire a magical and timeless atmosphere./

The concert of lights blinds your sight,/

you breathe love and eternal beauty/

with all of your being.” 

(excerpt from my poem “Ritz Paris after rain”)

Photography @Phil a Paname, Paris France

 Charlotte Zhu


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