Sunday, January 6, 2013

18 Months Later......

The United flight from Washington, DC to Paris arrives at 6:30 in the morning, a time at which, in late December, Paris skies are still pitch black and the only cafe customers are men taking their little cups of coffee at the counter.  By nine, the key to our friend's apartment retrieved, codes entered and small elevators crammed with suitcases, teeth brushed and faces washed, the desire to take a good long nap put on hold, we made it to Trocadero to see a blinding sun peeking out from behind the Eiffel Tower.  Ah Paris.

Being back in Paris as visitors was every bit as magical as I had hoped for in the long months since I paid big bucks for plane tickets for our family of four.  Even though many of our friends were off on their own holidays, Paris showed us her best face with relatively mild temperatures and relatively little rain that allowed me to walk the quartiers almost to my heart's content, replaying favorite memories and revisiting favorite haunts.  It was a greatest hits tour of Paris, a Paris where the sometimes frustrating rhythms and routines faced by residents were all but nonexistent.


There was one quick visit to the Orsay, newly renovated since our departure in 2011, a spin through Victor Hugo's apartment in the Place des Vosges to gear up for seeing the new Les Miserables film, and a morning at normally closed Musée des Arts Forains with Mary Kay of Out and About in Paris.  But mostly, I was in the mode of absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris -- the click made by a big wooden street door once the proper code is entered, the delicious odor of baking bread and roasting chickens, the white and black of limestone and wrought iron silhouetted against blue skies.  We had lovely meals at L'Entredgeu in the 17th and Abri in the 10th, ate more than our fill of fresh baguettes with salted butter, and went through carnets of Metro tickets like Kleenex.   There was delightful banter with a salesman at the Marché Saint-Pierre, Lebanese crepes at the Wilson Market, rides along the Seine on the 63 bus, and the musical sound of French being spoken ringing in our ears.

In the end, I'd say that Thomas Wolfe got it completely wrong.  You can go home again, as we did 18 months ago to the land of 24 hour drug stores, fresh bagels and hot salsa, lawns to be mowed and careers to be jumpstarted.  And to Paris too, our second home forever more, the only question being --how soon until we can go back?



13 comments:

Starman said...

Few things can compete with returning to Paris after a brief hiatus.
Why did you suddenly change fonts?

Linds Frank said...

Really happy to hear you had a great visit! I imagine someday Matt and I will be taking a similar trip and wishing we could have stayed in Paris longer.

Happy New Year Anne!

Lost In Cheeseland said...

I only wish we had both been in Paris at the same time to catch up! I don't know that I could bear to leave Paris (though the thought did cross my mind during my trip stateside this time) but it's comforting to know that even after months away, she'll always feel like home.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I have never lived in Paris, but I know that I have felt the same each time I visit .. :-)

My first time ever in Paris 2009, my friend and I stayed right near the Trocodero , and friends met us at Gare du Nord, helped up find the place , but before that , we got off the Metro up to the street , and went to see the Eiffel tower from there, I think it is the same spot .. I was in awe .. and still am :-)

MsChe said...

Beautifully written. How I've missed this blog. It almost brought tears to my eyes. Don't care if this is cheesy. Paris does that to a girl.

Susan said...

I was surprised to see you pop up in my Google Reader - lovely post. Paris is in a class all it's own, and I imagine once you've made it your home, it remains with you always.

Mary Kay said...

Anne, While your trip to Paris may have brought back lots of wonderful memories for you, reading about it reminded me of how much I enjoyed waking up to your posts. They're what I always looked forward to first thing in the morning. Very selfishly, I'm happy that you felt inspired by Paris so that I could have my fix of "Just Another American" again. It has been way too long!

On a less selfish note, I'm glad that you had plenty of time to be absorbed by the sights, sounds and smells of Paris.

It was good to see you while you were in town. I hope that you'll be back soon - and that we'll have a chance to sit down and actually talk rather than being beaten at fairground games by six year olds!

Wonky73 said...

I was so happy to see a post show up from you on my reader.

Glad you had a good time visiting Paris it's a great city to visit.

I have missed your blogging and think you have a really good voice. So I was hoping this was an announcement of your return to blogging. :)

Dani said...

So glad that you have posted again! I have moved back from London (to DC) and await the day that I can return...I feel your sentiments about missing Europe and trying to find great baguette in DC...hopelessly. Thank you

Anne said...

Thanks all for the support and positive feedback! Being back in Paris gave me the itch to do this kind of writing again. Am still on the fence about blogging more generally on topics other than Paris.

Ann Mah said...

I'm so glad your trip was lovely -- and I've missed your blog! Please come back!

Shirley said...

I haven't seen a photo of Eiffel Tower that that good. Is that yours? It's really nice. And that's also what I always ask myself.. it's been 5 years since my last visit to Paris and I feel like I'm missing it a lot; though we're not close. Paris is like a long lost lover to me., and I miss it so much.

Shut Up and Cook said...

Bonjour!

I am living in Paris for January and February on a personal adventure and culinary journey. Looking forward to perusing your blog for ideas and inspiration.

Merci!

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