Paris 1900 ‘s. Love and art and much more.
Paris 1900: Political crisis, fear, indignation… but art in every corner but talent in every man and woman. We are in Paris, in the first ages of the 20th century, we are in the cradle, in the center of the world… Eiffel Tower and one thousand nights of wine and absinthe and words and, in the end, nights for art. Paris has many stories every day.
I imagine the street we can walk down today plenty of smoke and noises. It smells fresh bread, the famous French baguettes. It’s time for a coffee and some words. It’s summer and the night is ours and the river Seine promises us a night for dream and creation. Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Joyce, Proust… and a never-ending list of great names that created the myth of the city of love… love in every corner and the old fashioned music caressing my wasted skin. Someone said that it is impossible don’t fall in love if you are in Paris, eternal Paris of magic brushstrokes. Paris has many stories every day.
In the 1900’s Paris was the center of the cultural world, the capital of one emerging illustrated world. The world was moved by new ideas and these new ideas were creating a fabulous collage of people and new sensations. By the way, the impressionist painters changed the rules of painting in the same way that some years before James Joyce changed the narrative rules. And all those marvelous things happened in one city called Paris.
There’s a story talking about a robbery of a famous painting in a famous museum. Yes, we are talking about the Mona Lisa and Picasso and Apollinaire. Both were arrested but the Mona Lisa was lost for a week. If Picasso and Apollinaire did it we can make ourselves a terrible question: is it the real Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum? Of course, I’m just joking… or not. Paris has many stories every day.
In the 19th century, a famous man become mayor of Paris for a couple of days. His name was Victor Hugo and he chose Paris as main character of one of his best books: Notre Dame de Paris. In those times, politics wanted to demolish the famous Paris cathedral and one man avoided it. Paris has many stories every day.
One night, two great writers met in an early morning. Their names were James Joyce (god save the king) and Marcel Proust. Date: 19th of May of1922. Place: Hotel Majestic. City: of course, Paris. Stravinsky and Picasso were there too. Picasso wanted to paint a portrait of Proust and everybody wanted to spend a good night. But Joyce began to drink and when the two geniuses met, the encounter become myth. Until six different versions exist about this encounter but every version coincides in the same thing: they don’t like each other… but, you know, Paris has many stories every day.
I was in Paris for several times and I like to go to the book shop where Ulysses was published. You can still feel Joyce walking down these streets. Next time I go to Paris, I will take a photo of me in the point where Joyce was in a famous photo with Sylvia Beach and I will say: I was there, in the same point, in this time, in the center of the world again.
Paris, tell me your last story, the story you told yesterday, the story you will tell tomorrow.