As much as I enjoy spending hours upon hours in museums, marveling at relics of a long-forgotten and distant past, there are times in life when you have to step back and realize that it’s not what life is about. Life is about the new, the exciting, the undiscovered, and the constantly changing. This epiphany hit me hard yesterday, when I spontaneously decided to go to two events that woke me up from my Parisian reverie and made me feel completely alive in a way that no museum can.
After class got out at 4:45, I hopped on the train with my friend Tom and we headed to Porte de Versailles to check out the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile – the Paris World Auto Show – which is one of the most important auto shows. Many new cars and concept cars are revealed, and the Paris Expo Center acts as host to a guest list ranging from Ford to Rolls Royce and Maserati. It was absolutely spectacular – I don’t have any particular affinity for cars, but just to be among these big, shiny, toys worth millions of dollars was a feeling I will never forget. Tom and I felt like kids in a candy store, bouncing around from display to display and marveling for minutes at the impeccable shine and sleek design of the vehicles. I got to sit in some rather expensive cars, including a Mercedes-Benz AMG, which was a lot of fun and took me back to the days of being a kid in my parent’s car.
My favorite part of the exhibition was the Fiat display: amidst a sea of black, silver and chrome tones and chic lounges for potential buyers, Fiat went in the complete opposite direction and turned their section into what can only be described as their own little Oz. Rainbow carpets ran through the display, over bridges and in front of huge cartoon backdrops that looked like the cover of Mika’s Life in Cartoon Motion album. Nestled in between quotidian car displays and those of Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, Fiat stood out and made me feel once again like I was a five-year-old kid. However, the true beauty of the afternoon was being three feet away from a Ferrari and Maserati – they are the sexiest cars I have ever seen, and it was probably the closest I will ever come to owning one. Magnifique.
After the car show I ran home to change into a more club-appropriate outfit. My friend Shaun and I had bought tickets to see an impressive line-up of DJ’s at the Paris Superlec, a convention center outside of Paris that hosts student nights. On the roster last night was Benny Benassi and Dada Life, two major techno acts who are incredibly popular in Europe and have slowly made their way up the charts in the United States. Benny Benassi has been around for a while, and is known for his racy music videos (“Satisfaction” features girls in lingerie using power tools) and his incredible beats. Seeing him in person was amazing – we arrived just as they were announcing his name, and within his first song had elbowed our way to the very front, in the center (I’m a petite girl, I’ve become a pro at edging my way to the front of these things). Mr. Benassi, though older than I expected, was great: he performed a solid set and you could see him feeling the music as he worked his magic, and he was smiling the entire time. Also, he looks surprisingly like Robert Downey Junior – so random.
At the end of his act, Benny Benassi held up his Macbook with the screen facing the audience, where he had typed into Word “Thanks you Paris, I love you!” What a solid ending. Dada Life picked up where Benny Benassi left off without missing a beat – literally. They performed for about 3 hours straight and had infections energy the entire set, and were quite obviously just having the time of their lives. They were fabulous, especially from our amazing vantage point, about 10 feet away from the DJ booth. The crowd loved both acts, and the entire place was exploding with energy and life for the entire 4 1/2 hours that we were there.
We got home around 7 am, after taking the first RER and metro back into Paris, and immediately chugged about a gallon of water each before taking the longest, hottest, most heavenly showers ever. We had to stand in the cold rain for about 20 minutes to get a shuttle from the venue to the RER station, and we had all just about caught pneumonia by the time we arrived home. It was completely worth it though – for those 4 hours I felt so alive and so energetic that my bruised arms (from fending off guys twice my size) and sore body felt like a proud battle scar, a souvenir of the most vibrant night I’ve had in the two months that I’ve been able to call myself a Parisian resident.
The thing I realized last night, while letting my tired body sway to beats of these world-famous DJ’s, is that Versailles has been there for 300 years and isn’t going anywhere very fast. The Louvre will probably still exist if I come back someday with children or a significant other. The Seine probably won’t move…ever. So as great as it has been to waste away hours immersing myself in history and art, it was refreshing and invigorating to finally do things that were once-in-a-lifetime. How many times in your life do you get the chance to go to one of the world’s premiere car shows? In Paris!? Or see two of the biggest techno acts perform back-to-back from the front row? In PARIS!? I am twenty years old, I may never have these opportunities again.