Saturday, October 15, 2011

Au Revoir Paris, For Now

As much as I love Paris, I must admit that my heart belongs to the French countryside. So, looking at Paris in the rearview mirror wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined. (Please forgive me, mon cher Paris!) Knowing we’ll be back in April for the marathon and again for a final week to finish our year certainly helped soften the blow of our departure. For now, though, it’s time to hit the road, head south and reflect on the deeply felt pleasures of our month in Paris. We’ll have plenty of car time over the next few days as we make our way towards the vineyards of Sancerre, the castles of the Dordogne and the desolate beauty of the Lot to reminisce about our favorite Parisian delights.

There’s something about Paris that allows all who visit to make the city their own and believe that she exists just for them. Is it the art, the flowers, the food, the fashion? Or perhaps it’s the bridges, the boulevards, the parks and the wine? Or maybe it’s the flowers, the lights, la Tour Eiffel and le Seine? Lovers who have come to Paris for time immemorial believe it enchanted for them and only them; her special magic is theirs and casts a spell of romance on them alone. And of course, it’s the same with us. Paris is ours and no one else could possibly experience her as we do. And we’re right, of course. Paris is ours and will always be ours. She makes us believe in the monogamous love between a city and a couple, just as she does all the other lovers who have strolled her boulevards, crossed her bridges and sipped her wine.

Paris was everything we’d dreamed and more. There were so many lovely new surprises that triggered dropped jaws and “Mon Dieu,” yet our familiar favorites made us so very happy. We managed to eat at most of the places and visit the majority of parks and addresses on our list (they’re now all highlighted in bright yellow on our Excel spreadsheet). As to the dozen or so items we didn’t get to on this visit? Well, I’ve simply added an “x” before the arrondissement, hit sort and voilĂ  -- a lovely little file in neighborhood order of where to go when we come back. In the meantime, thousands of other couples will have made the city of light their own, but “our” Paris will still be there, waiting for our return.

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