Tag Archives: Paris

What Paris Means to Me

As I watched the horrific November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris unfold from the safety and comfort of my home thousands of miles away across the vast Atlantic Ocean, I was overtaken by a profound sense of shock, sadness and loss.

Although we quickly received confirmation that our family was safe, we found out that my brother-in-law and youngest nephew, who is Chloe’s age, were in the audience watching the soccer match between France and Germany at the Stade de France that night.  They were oblivious to what was happening outside the stadium gates until after the game was over. It took them much longer than usual to get home, but they did make it home a few hours later, unlike the 130 people who died and scores of others who were wounded in the attacks.

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Home Again, in Paris

Do you have a special place that feels like home even though it is not your home? For me, that place is Paris. No matter that I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years. Every time I return, it’s as if I never left.

The time-traveling architecture, the omnipresent statuary, the distinct industrial perfume that wafts through the hallways of the métro, the strident cries of ambulance and police sirens, the colors and scents of the outdoor markets, the leisurely café life…these are all familiar and comforting to me. Like home.

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Bonjour Paris!

We are here.  In the city I love.  Actually, we’re on the outskirts of Paris, staying in my brother-in-law’s apartment in a town called Nogent-sur-Marne.  The apartment is located in a highrise and their balcony offers a terrific view of Paris.  It’s hazy today, but here’s a photo of the city’s most famous monument taken from our digs.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

As my faithful readers know, I don’t have anymore current photos of my girls to post to this blog.

These pictures, as the observant among you may have already noticed, are old. In fact, they date from Christmas 2006, when we spent the holiday with my husband’s family in Paris.

Chloe was a lot shorter back then. And Sophie didn’t yet have curly hair, and had just started to walk.

Sophie discovered potato chips in Paris. Of the thousands of culinary delights to be discovered in France, potato chips in Paris. It’s shameful, really.

It was a wonderful trip, though – not easy traveling with little ones, but fun nonetheless. I’m not sure when we’re going to make it back. Certainly not this year, but maybe next. And when we do return, I want to take the girls to Talloires, a small town on Lake Annecy in the French Alps. That’s where my husband and I first met almost 19 years ago.

I think they’d like it there. It’s beautiful. Nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains and pristine water. It would be the perfect place to go to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary (!) in 2009 , not to mention our 40th (!!) birthdays.

On the other hand, why in the hell would we bring the girls with us to celebrate those milestones? We’ve never had a real vacation, just the two of us, since the girls were born. That’s seven years!

Mom – mark your calendar now. We’re dumping them with you for a week next year.

Fantasies of Youth

There was a time during high school when I was convinced of three things:

(1) I would become a brain surgeon (I think “St. Elsewhere” was one of my favorite shows back then);
(2) I would live in a beautiful apartment in New York City; and
(3) I would lead the life of a cosmopolitan, childless single woman (in the manner of a “Sex in the City” character, before the book and HBO series existed).

I was adamant about all of this, advertising my intentions to all of my friends, at least for a few years. Then I went off to college. I realized I would have to take too many science courses to fulfill adolescent fantasy #1, that in choosing to major in Art History and French literature, I would likely never be able to find a job that would pay enough for me to afford fantasy #2, and that, after meeting my future husband as a junior in college (the story for a future blog posting, perhaps), my single and childless fantasy #3 was numbered in years, not in decades.

I am incredibly happy that the path my life took differs so greatly from the life I imagined for myself in high school. A brain surgeon, for crying out loud?!? What was I thinking? And, no offense to Manhattan, or committed bachelorettes, but NYC has got to be one of the loneliest places on earth for a single woman. My post-high school decisions led me to several incredibly romantic years in a closet-sized studio apartment in Paris, my husband, my law degree, my girls. All of that adds up to fantasy-turned-reality #4, although I never would have put money on such an outcome when I was 17.

It’s funny how life happens.