The last I visited Paris was with a broken heart. I went to mend the last few strands of dignity I had left, figured out my goals, and renewed my purpose so that I wouldn’t ever be that silly, naive girl again.
And this time I went with a heart more full of joy than ever I imagined possible. I went to rendezvous with the other part of my heart, who was waiting for me 3636 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
I have never thought of myself as lucky or charming or any sort of wonderful thing. I have always dreamt and hoped but my practical side would always exclaim, no man could ever be Mr. Darcy. He only exists in books and movies and all sorts of wild fantasies women of all ages have conjured up.
My mother used to joke, you bury your head in your books that by the time you look up, all the good ones have gone.
But I found one. In fact, we found each other. They say when a woman turns a certain age, she becomes more confident in a comfortable sort of way that no young girl could ever claim. I never understood this until I got to that age where I just felt right in my own skin and my own ways. And this confidence took me out of my routine and charmed this seemingly well traveled man of wonderful British accent to my side.
And off he whisks me away for a jet setting weekend.
Paris is as I remember it, busy but not manic, calm but not dull, and wildly rich with history and romance. The streets I walked on, the buildings I entered, the gardens I strolled were there hundreds of years ago. Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Rodin, and Napoleon have all walked the street once lined with odor and blood, now worn out to dust and covered in pavement.
Though it was cloudy and slightly cold, the one thing I love most about Paris are the parks, the chairs that lined the walkways, taking you away from the busy polluted streets and all you hear are crows cawing and the rustling of carefully manicured leaves. And you spend hours just contemplating, unashamed of being alone.
Days are long as sun sets after 9, the Seine glitters as the Eiffel Tower lights up, strobe light spins around the sky. I love walking the bridges, my favorite being Pont du Alexandre and leading past the lovers’ padlocks on Pont des Artes.
I went back to the Rodin Museum, one of the most romantic museums I’ve ever visited, lined with sculptures of The Thinker, the Burghess of Calais, the famous The Kiss, and my favorite The Secret.
This time, I even got to see Camille Claudel’s The Waltz which is now another favorite with the tenderness in the hands, the swirling movement of the body, and the way the man holds the woman, firm but gentle, leading but swaying together.
No Paris trip is complete without shopping, chocolate, cookies, and amazing French cuisine, beef tartare, their famous omelette, baguette, jambon sandwich, crepe, and steak with Bourgogne sauce, and mini snails.
What made the trip was being with the one you love, who walks with you, dines with you, shares your joke, keeps your secret, carries your burden, and loves you despite your demands and mood swings. And even though the short was trip, it was a memory worth etching, I wish the dream would not end.