French: Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.
English: There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
In addition to stilling the swans and rowboats in Bois de Boulogne, the smoking moped riders and women with toy dogs, the startling architecture and art, M is cataloguing Paris’s various lovers in hot embraces and unusual intertwining. They are all around us, and they have no concern they are being documented.
When one man heard we had never visited Paris before, he said, “Welcome to your second honeymoon.” People seem to be honeymooning everywhere. In fact, we have seen six brides posing across from the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and on various bridges in a variety of scintillating dresses and towering shoes. A photographer and his helper (and the groom!) trail each like paparazzi to fold her into a variety of poses and further into the depths of her dress.
The railings of the Pont des Arts (a bridge that crosses from the left bank to the Louvre), above the Seine, contain thousands and thousands of padlocks, cadenas d’amour. Lovers go to the bridge, fasten the lock (adorned with names, dates, messages), and toss the key into the river to symbolize everlasting love.
This evening a fifteen-member ska band appeared on the lovers’ bridge, their brass reflecting the setting sun, their playing better than their singing, their love for this art form filling the almost autumn sky.