I adore Cape Town. But this is less about the destination – as it is with life. This is about a film and what it has to teach us about how we travel. Last night, I sat in the darkness of one of the city’s cinemas, lost in a world weaved by Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford and mother of Sofia, watching Paris Can Wait. It is, as this film review beautifully describes, “a diverting drama about the bounties of wonder, beauty, and the art of being present to the delights of the senses.”
American Anne (Diane Lane) goes on a winding journey with Frenchman Jacques (Arnaud Viard), driving from the South of France to Paris. While she is eager to get to the French capital, his philosophy of travel is to go slow and to take the backroads. It involves lake-side picnics, wine after wine, chocolate, roses, and witnessing the marvels that dot the path.
Along the way, Anne struggles with letting go, with going with the flow, but you see her changing, you see the Frenchman’s philosophy to travel winning her over. She captures every detail of the journey through her camera, which might have been where I too was won over, seeing in her so much of myself – a mix of resistance and surrender, and an insatiable hunger for the richness of life on the move.
The film is a celebration, ultimately, of the road trip, of la Route du Bonheur. On our latest trip out of and back to Cape Town, we meandered along our own route, through the Winelands, with our own lovingly prepared meals and fine wines at the Delaire Graff Estate, and into the Cederberg Mountains, for a night under the stars at Bushmans Kloof.
We had the just as charming Annie-Claude Bergonzoli at the wheel, instead of Jacques, and a BMW instead of a vintage sports car, but we experienced the same wonder and beauty of letting go and being present, and of stopping to answer the call of the spontaneous along the way.
Once at our destination, the beauty didn’t, however, end. A new journey simply began. Because if ever there was a city that you could spend days roaming around it’s Cape Town.