“Nadja à Paris” is a short 13-minute film by a French New Wave director, Eric Rohmer, following a young overseas student as she wanders around Paris. Nadja talks us through her daily life on the Left Bank in the first half but later swaps the gentrified Saint-Germain des Près with it’s café intellectuals for Belleville, with it’s working class values, peeling signs and its wild Buttes-Chaumont.
What comforts me most as an ex-pat in Paris watching this short film is how little has changed. Perhaps the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont is a little less empty as Nadja finds it and the outdoor markets are no longer just frequented by the elderly, but Paris is still very much as it is in this black & white short film, right down to the Moroccan patisseries in Belleville, the open-air book displays on the Seine and the Parisians taking their midday glasses of red wine alone at the bar.
“… I hope I never lose touch with Paris. My stay here will leave its mark on me. That’s not surprising, because this just might be the most important period in one’s life, when one shakes off past influences and one’s true personality is truly formed” – Nadja in Paris