Quick! What did you think of?
Many places evoke strong images, perceptions, memories, and expectations. Paris is certainly one of those.
It calls to mind the romance of walking along the Seine, or solitary and impoverished artists in attic garrets.
I think of chic women simply and tastefully dressed. I picture black berets and large umbrellas - not a Birkenstock or fanny pack to be seen. There is plenty of art and people to appreciate it. The sidewalks are crowded with cafes, overflowing with unrushed people smoking cigarettes and enjoying the afternoon.
There are shops to buy the perfect cheese or just the right linen water, where you will be very badly treated until the shop clerks know you, and take you into their proctection. The bread is to die for, and everywhere are book stalls or people sitting on bridge ramparts reading books.
The Paris of my imagination is clean of dog poop, and never endures labour strikes. In my Paris you are never harried by sidewalk 'entrepreneurs' or have to worry about pickpockets on the Metro.
Wouldn't it be grand to live in a tiny apartment (with great windows, high ceilings and a courtyard) in one of the convenient but affordable arrondisements on the desirable bank of the Seine (I'm never clear on which one is better)? How fabulous to have a cafe nearby where you go in the afternoon to read the papers before walking along the river, stopping occasionally to peruse a book stall, or jot notes in your Moleskin. In the evening you go with friends to a charming restaurant before a poetry reading/Opera/literary salon/football match/gallery opening/disco. At the weekend, you take a late breakfast on your tiny balcony, soaking up the sun in your pyjamas while someone across the courtyard plays Edith Piaf records.
I can see a beautiful, (seemingly) carelessly draped scarf around your neck, tiny chapeau on your head, and playful (but comfortable) shoes on your feet. You belong in Paris, my darling. It awaits you!