I love Paris. I’ve always loved Paris. You know that song I Love Paris? I could have written it and maybe even have done a better job than Cole Porter. In fact, I love Paris so much that I loved it before I ever even went there – it was love before first sight. That’s how much I love Paris.
But then, who doesn’t love Paris?
Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. There’s really no contest. And I’m saying that without having been to all of the cities in the world, so you know it must be true. Its dense beauty is just overwhelming, like humidity or a huge, dripping willow tree. It hangs heavily on your being, drenching you in butter, Chanel No. 5, and all of the other things that make life special.
So much imagery sparked my appreciation for and deep-seated desire to visit this city from an early age . . .
. . . but unlike so many things that are built up beyond reality, Paris did not disappoint when I visited for the first time. I fell in love with the style, the innate romance, and the Parisian appreciation for beauty and history. Oh, and the food and wine aren’t half bad either.
If you love Paris or have the feeling that you will love Paris, I get the impression that it’s the sort of place that you want to visit with someone special or like-minded. It’s too wonderful to waste on someone who won’t get it. John had never been to Paris before, so I’ve really wanted to experience the city with him. I knew he’d get it. Unfortunately, it just didn’t seem like it would be in our travel plans for the near future since I had been there relatively recently, but he surprised me.
I’m not big on my birthday. I don’t want a party, I don’t want a lot of attention, and I really don’t want you to get me a gift. It’s not really the age thing, it just hasn’t been in my personality since age 11. My last birthday, however, happened to be 10-10-10, and since that was something unique I wanted to do something special. Obviously this trip counted a million times over and I couldn’t believe we’d be making our way through Europe on the big day.
So on 10-8-10 we had made our way into France from Spain, to Avignon, to attend our friends’ wedding on 10-9-10. It was in a gorgeous cathedral built in the late 1300s within the really cool, picturesque, artsy walled city. Their reception lasted well into the wee hours, and it was a fantastic way to ease into 10-10-10. Not only do we love celebrating with these friends, but they also served a traditional Provençale meal that was one of the best I’ve ever had: lamb, endless cheese, brûléed foie gras, some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted, just to name a few highlights, and all until well past 3 AM when we left the party early and headed back to our secret garden of a B&B, La Violette.
I won’t go into all of the details because it makes me look really horrible and we really don’t need to discuss anything that makes me sound less than awesome . . . but I said some things to John on our way to the hotel that could have been taken in a slightly, ahem, bitchy context were you someone as obviously sensitive and insecure as he. I mean, surely it couldn’t have been me and we don’t need to go into any of it, but the point is, it was 3:30 AM on 10-10-10 and I had single-handedly already ruined my birthday. Shocker.
We were both mad, and I said in what I’m certain was a snippy, clipped “Jesse Eisenberg does Mark Zuckerberg” tone, “so, where are we going tomorrow? Nice? St. Tropez? It’s going to rain all day so it doesn’t really matter”, and I probably threw in an eye-roll for good measure. John sighed, exasperated, and asked me why I have to ruin everything all the time or something like that, and let me in on his secret: we were taking the high-speed train to Paris at 7AM where, unlike Provence, the weather would be sunny and warm, so I’d better shut up and go to sleep.
And then I cried. And apologized for being the worst person in the world. And went to sleep.
I am the worst person in the world.
It’s very rare that I’ve been somewhere that John hasn’t, so I relished in playing tour guide as best as I could. When we got into the city I knew exactly where we should go, and so we headed straight for the Louvre, walked around the courtyard and then down to the Seine where we had a little breakfast underneath the Pont Royal. From there we walked to Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, down Boulevard Saint-Germain to the St-Germain-des-Prés, Invalides, the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars, the Trocadéro, the Champs-Elysées, Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries, Les Halles, and all the way back to the Rue de Rivoli and the Louvre. We had no real destination, no place to go, just took our time and wandered the whole day in perfect 70 degree, sunny weather.
So, ok, we didn’t technically picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg, but we drank champagne on the waterfront of the Seine and split a crepe on the Champs-Elysées, so I think it counts. Once again, there is wiggle room.
As usual, I didn’t deserve it at all, but it truly was the best birthday present of all time and a thousand times life-list worthy.
I love Paris in the springtime.
I love Paris in the fall.
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles.
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles.
I love Paris every moment,
Every moment of the year.
I love Paris, why oh why do I love Paris?
Because my love is here.