Most fairytales are set in a land far, far away… However in a modern tale of a Londoner, Paris is just a mere 2hr 15mins Eurostar ride to reach.
I headed to the setting perfect for a modern-day love story… And the scene in which a modern-day Princess’s fairytale ended in sorrow.
I grew up believing in fairytales… Well, didn’t you? That one day the handsome Prince will come along and sweep me off my feet. Then we’d live happily ever after… Pretty much the standard layout right? Except the reality of a modern fairytale is far from what Disney taught us to believe, even if there very few examples in todays day and age to go by.
The most intriguing example of our modern-day fairytales is one many of us have lived to witness. The life of Princess Diana. Arguably the greatest fairytale of modern history. She was a Princess in her own right- “The people’s Princess”.
Paris is the setting of many love stories. It’s heart warming to have spent a birthday in a city radiating love, even if it did highlight that I was alone. Either way, there is something magical about Paris which makes it the ideal setting for anyone creating their very own fairytale… Even if mine is yet to be made.
I ended my birthday night in Paris with one last stop on my ‘to do list’, the Liberty Flame to pay my respects the a woman who’s life inspired millions, including mine. With the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background, the monument of the flame stands on top of Pont de L’Alma, the passage in which Diana lost her life in the tragic car crash 16 years ago. I hadn’t expected to get emotional. I stopped believing in fairytales years ago, 16 years ago to be exact.
However what the flame didn’t do for me, the tributes written on the short wall above the overpass stirred up. A surprising sense of satisfaction warmed me. Diana didn’t die in vain. Her memory lives on in the hearts of so many and the evidence is written on the wall. No Walt Disney film can ever compare to her life… Our modern-day Princess might be gone, but her memory lives on happily ever after the sorrow.
Accompanied with my Parisian friend Samia, we added a padlock to the chain surrounding the flame monument. Then we crossed over Avenue de New York to the river to each throw the keys into the river. I felt a sense of comfort as I thrust my arm back and released the key forward into the river glistening from the surrounding lights. I pledged to let go of all the negative in my past… I pledged to start believing in fairytales again.
What I’d lost in learning of Diana’s death that morning in late August, I hope to regain in the belief that there is such thing as happily ever after… Even if it’s not happily right now.
– Eurostar from London to Paris prices start at £69
– Flame of Liberty memorial Pont de l’Alma | 8th Arrondissement, Paris, France
- Princess Diana probe: SAS man has guns seized (express.co.uk)
- Diana film poster taken down from Paris crash site (theguardian.com)
- A night in Paris… A city to fall in love with or be seduced by? (travelmakerkai.com)
- Paris!!! (boverseas.wordpress.com)
- ‘Crass’ Diana film advert placed at entrance to tunnel where princess died in Paris (metro.co.uk)