Paris, unlike sprawling, messy London, is highly organized.
People call it a snail, not because snails are organized, but
because its unfurling, unfolding spiral structure of 20 different
'quartiers' looks rather like one. (And yes, I heard that at the
back, the French do eat snails. They're actually rather nice…)
In each one of these quartiers reside a multitude of gorgeous
goings-on and, after a three-year relationship gone to the dogs,
hideous emotional LANDMINES.
For example, before B'Day, (because BREAK UP is what I assume
Beyoncé was referring to in her mind-blowing contemporary opus,
non?), my fabulous Parisian haunt was the capital's
bustling 11th arrondissement.
Dirty, graffiti-filled, full of cool grungy bars and kitsch
obscure restaurants, the 11th is infinitely loveable: Camden meets
cool, wrapped in a trendy sweet-wrapper of urban chic. In Paris
your arrondissment becomes your own personal village and this was
The operative word being was.
Because now, a street-name, a bar, a boulangerie, a metro stop,
for god's sake, can reduce me, a (well, not quite tough, but at
least not soft) lesbian to tears. TEARS, just like that, whilst
wandering around, having a café au lait, walking the dog...
The Rue de la Roquette, or Rocket Street as I like to think of
it, stretches from the somber and serious Père Lachaise cemetery
all the way to the Place de la Bastille. It might just be the best
street in the city, and has in recent years, become super-gay and
But there is our first apartment at number 79, there is our
favorite restaurant, L'Entrecote, at number 91, there is that
doorway at 125 where we got too drunk one night and... Oh fuck.
Possibly the second-worst thing after losing the person you love is
losing all the habits and the familiarities of your life together.
What can I say? That doorway meant something to me and that
restaurant did a darn fine steak.
But crying at the thought of my favorite steak-frite is so
not good for a girl's image and if ever I'm to put the
memories of my lost relationship behind me, these moments of
weakness and tristesse must be stopped.
I intend to face ghosts of my haunted village head on.
Which is why, when Paris GAY PRIDE kicks off this Saturday, 25
June, starting bleary-eyed and groggily at Montparnasse, winding
its beer-fuelled way through the city streets to its final
alcohol-drenched destination at Bastille, I will be there - beer in
hand, bosoms out, eyes ahead.
After all, the Place de la Bastille, which used to be a prison,
is about to become a massive gay open-air dance floor…
Fancy Pride in gay Paris? Check out
www.lastminute.com for offers.