Tuesday, November 17
I've wanted to go to Paris since I was ten years old and found a little packet of old photos of the city from the early 1900s in an antiques store in Michigan. We were on vacation and my grandfather had given each of us five dollars to spend. Although it took every dime of my cash, I bought the pictures and spent the rest of the trip gazing at them. That summer, I vowed I'd go to Paris one day.
It only took me forty-five years to get there, but the trip finally happened. Son, DIL, and I took off on an evening in early June and landed in the City of Lights about nine a.m. Paris time. From the moment we hit the Champs-Elysee, I knew I was home. We rented an apartment in the Fifteenth Arrondissment--a tidy neighborhood around the Place du Commerce, about a mile from the Eiffel Tower. The apartment was small, but it was the perfect home base for our week in Paris.
There were so many sights to see--too many to list here, but highlights were a night at the opera in Luxembourg Gardens, a bicycle trip to the palace at Versailles, the Impressionist paintings at Musee d'Orsay, standing in front of Chopin's grave at Pere LeChaise Cemetery, bicycling down the Champs du Mars, praying in the hushed beauty of Notre Dame cathedral, and of course drinking champagne at the top of of the Eiffel Tower. I loved every single moment, but the most precious time was spent in our own little neighborhood.
It was the Paris I'd dreamed of seeing, the Paris I'd always wanted to be part of, and there I was in the midst of it. I wrote in my journal about the wonder of being there, I am actually sitting in a cafe on a tiny street in Paris! C'est impossible, mais c'est vrai! (It's impossible, but it's true!) I look at the photos from my trip often and reread my journal now and again. Each time, I'm overwhelmed that I got to be a part of Paris life--not simply as a tourist, but to actually live as a Parisienne, if only for a short time.
I pulled out my pictures again last night because I needed to get the horrible news photos out of my head. I let them take me back to that amazing city and recalled again sitting in that cafe and discovering the writer in me again. C'est incroyable et merveilleux! What is your dream city? Have you been there? Tell me about it.