an american in paris

– Posted in: travel

Walking through the streets of Paris is like dancing through a dream. You want to touch everything but are afraid that if you do, you risk staining a mirage. Streetlights serenade. Cobblestone streets charm. Sidewalk artists seduce. And the cafés exude a romantic quality all their own.

It had been more than 10 years since my last visit, and yet none of that magic was lost on me. If anything, I had gained an even greater appreciation for all that Paris has to offer, and I wanted to experience it the way I had finally learned how. By reveling in the opportunity to get lost, breathing in new sights and familiar neighborhoods, and allowing myself hours to drink coffee, people watch, and listen to the sounds of local street musicians.

My joie de vivre returned in those three days.

The first night I arrived I was happy to wander around aimlessly in the streets of the 18th arrondissement and managed somehow to stumble upon a beautiful vantage point of Sacre Coeur basilica, my happy place. There have been countless times in my life when I would close my eyes and find myself here–usually while frustrated or sad or angry–and here it was sprawled out before me.

I hate to say this, because it sounds so trite, but I actually became emotional. I didn’t care that I had arrived without a suitcase and was wearing a slip I had purchased in a lingerie shop because it was the only store I could find open (true story), or that work and life stress had been eating away at me for the past few weeks. I was in Paris and life was sweet again.

I wrote postcards to friends back home and even one to myself. I wanted to remember what it felt like to feel so alive again.

As much as I love life in New York, it is a city that often takes a toll on me. I needed Paris to comfort and soothe me.

This is the city, after all, where my parents met and fell in love. And it was easy to understand why.

29 Comments… add one

carma October 3, 2011, 9:02 PM

…we’ll it sounds like Paris was “just what the doctor ordered.” You seem reinvigorated. Enjoy your time there and continue to soak it all in :-)

Krysten October 3, 2011, 9:06 PM

Maybe I need a trip to Paris to rejuvenate me?

Karen October 3, 2011, 9:21 PM

I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip in Paris! I love to read your travel writing… you do it so well!!

Pretzel Thief October 3, 2011, 10:36 PM

Aw!
::sniff::

So happy for you, Char. Revel in it and indulge! Love that you’re having such a fantabulous time…you deserve it, lovely!

Brian October 3, 2011, 11:17 PM

This was interesting to read especially putting other perspectives into this. A few months ago my best friend went on his 5 country honeymoon, Paris being one of his stops.

He loved Saudi Arabia
He loved Dubai
He loved London
He loved Rome
He HATED Paris though

All of this while I get ready for Poland next November, oh boy.

Nicole October 4, 2011, 9:50 AM

sounds like you had a fabulous time…i’m so happy for you. :) i owe you an email!!! xoxo

Hutch October 4, 2011, 12:34 PM

So glad you found your joie de vivre!

Bonda84 October 4, 2011, 4:41 PM

SO happy you had a wonderful time! It’s wonderful to find yourself again! Welcome back!

kimbirdy October 4, 2011, 6:02 PM

wow, that’s so amazing you got to go spend time in paris again. i can’t wait to hear more of your stories {at least, i hope i get to}!

Glamamom October 4, 2011, 7:12 PM

I have chills just looking at these pictures. Fall in Paris is just so amazing. Glad you had a cathartic time. Hope you’re feeling nice and refreshed. Sometimes it just takes a little time away. xo

Brandy Harris October 4, 2011, 7:19 PM

Beautiful. I am so happy for you and reading your blog just helped me… I have had a rough week or so… Your words are just what I needed to gain perspective.

XOXO

MUAH!!!

SaucyB October 5, 2011, 6:53 AM

your experience on your trip sounds absolutely divine. I’ve never been to Europe and I’ve already informed my husband that for my 40th birthday I want to go to Paris. I’m starting to get too old for “some day”.

Megan (Best of Fates) October 5, 2011, 3:08 PM

What a beautiful memory place – and a gorgeous description!

Gia October 5, 2011, 4:25 PM

<3 <3 <3

This feels my heart with warmth. Truly glad your enjoying every moment there and the experience is living up to your expectations. Can't wait to read more about your adventures!

xo

Blond Duck October 7, 2011, 8:03 AM

I’m so glad you’re rediscovering yourself and your creativity! Hey and in Paris, a slip could be couture!

Eat a Mont Croc for me–I’ve heard they’re great!

Jaclyn October 7, 2011, 10:08 AM

Oh my gosh, this post is phenomenal. It’s so poetic and perfect. I absolutely love it.

Shell October 7, 2011, 10:48 AM

Oh, it would be so hard to leave!

Karen Peterson October 7, 2011, 1:54 PM

I’ve been thinking more and more about Paris lately. I think it’s time I finally get back there!

liz October 8, 2011, 8:04 AM

Awww! I’m so, so happy for your invigorating experience! YAY for feeling alive again.

Maybe you need to move to Tennessee where life is much – um – simpler(?) than NYC. ;-)

Jean Has Been Shopping October 8, 2011, 2:45 PM

How beautiful! I feel as though I’m transported with you, but really can only imagine what Paris is like.

dovev October 9, 2011, 7:49 AM

i love paris it is so romantic and relaxing

Sorta Southern Single Mom October 9, 2011, 8:10 AM

Oh YAY! I’m glad you got some good food for your soul! I was just thinking about you and thought I’d head over to see if you were back yet!

yaniv October 9, 2011, 9:58 AM

Your post made me feel like im traveling in the streets of paris , thank you for sharing :-)

My Inner Chick October 9, 2011, 12:46 PM

—Love your perspective on life :)) x

When I think of Paris, I think of Writing, Art, & Poetry.

Alison@Mama Wants This October 9, 2011, 7:31 PM

Paris sounds magical, even more so from your eyes. Glad you had such a wonderful time!

keishua October 10, 2011, 3:37 PM

Paris, what an adventure. I am so glad that you got to go.

Amber October 11, 2011, 12:07 PM

It sounds beautiful…and just what you needed! Sometimes a little time away is a beautiful thing.

(FL) Girl with a New Life October 12, 2011, 4:37 PM

I can’t wait to hear more about Paris. Sounds magical. And feeling alive? That is wonderful.

Alexandra October 13, 2011, 9:27 PM

Woman, have you read this post yourself?

You belong THERE.

Your heart and soul are THERE.

I love you, but , please: stay in that city.

Teach ESL, but stay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are alive now.

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