An American in Paris

By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director, TFCB

Aaaaah, this is where I am in my heart and in my mind’s eye today—dancing along the River Seine in Paris with Gene Kelly.

I’m just back from vacationing in France with my father. While there, I took a day trip from our base in Paris to visit an old friend in Marseille whom I had not seen in many years. When I got back to Paris, I needed fresh air to clear my mind, and my father and I headed toward the river for a late night stroll. It was a Sunday evening, so the streets were quiet, and eventually it started to rain. Hard.

With the glittering Eiffel Tower at our backs, the colorful illumination of the bateaux mouches (riverboats) dancing along the gentle waves of the Seine, and the lights of Notre Dame Cathedral beckoning us toward her, we didn’t turn back. We simply opened our umbrellas and continued our stroll.

I leaned over the quai to see the walkway below, and before my very eyes, under a tree on the cobblestone path, appeared Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Dancing that memorable riverside scene along the Seine in An American in Paris (1951).

If you haven’t seen the movie before, it’s worth a rental, if only for the famous dance scenes with Leslie Caron (especially the one along the river and the one at the end of the movie in the fountain) and with Cyd Charisse in the dream sequence toward the middle of the film.

As I told a friend and colleague, I love those moments when we see the beauty, magic, and wonder of our own lives and the things we love reflected back to us, however fantastical the apparition. That moment in the rain along the Seine with my father—both of us seeing the same dancing image–was such a moment.

Check in next week for more from TFCB.

[film clip from YouTube]