Boarding the plane a tingle began to burrow itself into my mood, Paris for Christmas with old friends and new; setting the stage for old stories to be told and new adventures to be had. A quick flight, a quick nap and me and my friend Dan began scouring the crowded mass of black coats searching for the familiar face of our friend Reid. Suddenly there he was– hugs and stares of disbelief were exchanged as we made our way toward the train that soon took us into the city. We caught each other up on what we had missed from the months of separation since being together in Cádiz during the summer. Moments after arriving in Paris we chose a random nearby cafe and waited for my sister and brother to arrive so that the adventure could officially begin. As the reality of the next few weeks of vacation began to settle, Kaley and Kodi (my siblings) joined us and my two worlds collided, my oldest friends with some of the newest. The warm ‘n’ fuzzies began to grip me. The next day we began to see Paris in all of its Christmas glory, from the ice-skating rink outside of Notre Dame to the omnipresent and colorful lights that were strung along every street. Hot mulled-wine warmed our frozen fingertips as a never-ending Christmas market sprawled out in front of us along the Champs Elyesse. A quiet and reflexive Christmas morning soon followed while we packed our bags with champagne, cheese, and bread for our picnic. As we sat on the damp ground chatting and giggling with ease the sun dimmed and set, and soon the Eiffel Tower began to cast a glow on everything and everyone in close proximity to it. As we passed our first Christmases away from our families beneath the flashing golden and white lights of the Eiffel Tower I couldn’t help but think of how symbolic this tower is to the city and what my own personal vision of Paris is. It’s overly glorified to say the least, the pictures and posters of the Eiffel Tower that are spread out all over the world. It’s a symbol of Paris, yet to me personally I feel as though its a misinterpretation of what Paris is in actuality. Paris isn’t made of steel– it’s not founded in rigid guidelines and rules. It’s not a lonesome metal pillar standing out in the middle of a field. Paris is soft and malleable, molding itself to fit into whatever inspiration it needs to be. For the countless struggling artists that have wondered the Parisian streets searching for a concrete sense of the world, the city has cradled them, allowing them to create their own. Perhaps that’s why Paris has, is , and will continue to be the epicenter of art. As artists look for philosophical answers to a multitude of questions, Paris has been there to provide the perfect environment: impressionable, flexible, and unique. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as Paris is the undefinable muse of those who ask it to be. The answers lie in the minute details that weave themselves together to flower into what can be described as Paris’s je ne sais quoi, it’s indescribable atmosphere. Answers lie in the grey overcast sky as clumsy chimneys line up on rooftops attempting to line up like soldiers. Answers lie in the rushing murky green waters of the Seine River. Answers lie in the yellowing, aged posters that lazily hang from the street vendor carts as a crisp winter wind gently causes them to flap against one another; the dulled colors of art nouveau dancing to a slow, chilled waltz. Buildings in an architectural alliance, each with its own character and personality, yet with a common style that is undoubtedly Parisian. Golden inlays with filigree adorning every marble curve, classical statues beckoning a solemn welcome, and flying buttress diving into the earth. Walking past innumerable houses and halls conversation about art and architecture naturally arose and the conclusion was confirmed in my mind that art, especially Parisian art can be defined with one word: luxury. People didn’t have to create beauty, people didn’t have to choose to surround themselves with aesthetics. If building was only about fulfilling what was necessary: Paris would not exist. The city of luxury, the city that has allowed for not just survival but artistic creation in so many aspects.