DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
"If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead.
Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it."
Roald Dahl, British Writer
Words to live by.
Chasing the dream is more important than ever.
And looking ahead is one vaccine you don't need to wait for....
Now is the perfect time to re-imagine the future
minus the torment of this worldwide plague.
Look back, think about what you've missed most
and make a solemn promise to yourself.
From this day forward focus on achieving that one shining wish.
We can't wait to hug our families and share a meal with friends.
Getting back to the most elementary basics seem both glorious and glamorous.
Shopping, parties, the theater -- the list is long --
will make your mouth water with anticipation.
But for many of us, reuniting with Paris eclipses everything.
I feel no shame in that, only a sort of relief that it will indeed be part of my future.
So say it, engrave your name on it, just do it:
DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
"Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions."
plotting to see the "unseen" parts that most travelers miss.
Yet this time, after a year worrying about the possibilities of loved ones
falling ill, my country falling apart, and the strange irony of the calendar
becoming a virtual Groundhog Day, all I really want to do
is go back and recognize the Paris I already know.
I just want to experience everything I've already
enjoyed in what now feels like a distant past.
Just the thought makes me want to sing and wag my tail
like a dog coming home from a long stay at the kennel.
Truth is, returning to Paris is like checking on an old friend
after a long illness to make sure she's ok.
A walk down the Champs Elysée is about as unoriginal as it gets... but I can't wait!
I want to savor every one of the 284 steps of the Arc de Triomphe
so I can enjoy its strategic view of the city. Again.
There's no holding back this Paris nut from the unconditional glamour
of the grand staircase and hallways at the Palais Garnier. One more time.
Who cares if I've done it before -- there's a burning desire to retrace every step.
I can almost taste the legendary goodness of an Eric Kayser baguette; the moment
I leave his store I'll break off a corner for one more taste as if it's my first.
I can picture the Burghers of Calais standing faithfully in Rodin's garden
and plan to scrutinize every emotion on each of their faces.
Again and again and again....
Yes, I hope to do every cliched thing there is
to do in Paris -- that I've already done -- and I feel no shame.
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."
Jennifer Lee, screenwriter
to make sure all my "friends" are still lying in their artful splendor.
Special shout out to resident Oscar Wilde who once said
"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."
He must have been waiting out a pandemic too....
And the parks. Oh the parks. They're the very best of what Paris has to offer.
I can't wait to gaze at the nannies pushing their charges' prams in Parc Monceau.
Of course, my Sunday morning favorite is a
prolonged stroll through Luxembourg Gardens.
It's likely the old men of the park have to compete for tables with
the younger set now that "The Queen's Gambit" made chess so popular.
Perhaps I'll even spy a movie star or two.... once again.
"Let your memory be your travel bag."
from Boulevard Haussmann to Place Vendome.
A day later, I may choose the opposite and make my way
to the slightly timeworn neighborhoods where clever graffiti,
affordable boutiques and food specialty stores rule the day.
Paris has always been an alphabet soup of contrasts.
Go ahead, wear Grandma's pearls, your favorite jeans
and worn-in pair of Chucks -- you'll fit right in.
And the views!
Who wouldn't want to stop and admire the vast panorama from
the rooftop of Printemps and feel the wind?
Or check out the cityscape from Parc de Belleville, a delightful and
entirely unassuming stretch of green in the 20th arrondissement.
Napoleon's tomb is a sight for sore eyes, the six nested coffins
resting regally underneath the dome of Les Invalides.
Nearby, Pont Alexandre III is a bridge whose views are so beautiful
you need to take care not to cross at sunset or you may never leave.
"Thou art to me a delicious torment."*
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet
*though RWE was not talking about Paris, it seems the perfect sentiment when thinking of Paris
In normal times, I'd return to a few delicious favorites
but still focus on trying what's new and noteworthy.
In this foodie capital, there's perpetually something up and coming
and it's always a joy to take the dive.
But as I face my own cooking day after day, it's the
oldies-but-goodies -- those tried-and-true Paris bistros
that have been around forever -- that sound better than ever.
I'm crossing every finger that our favorite bistros and cafés
are still alive and kicking after the lockdown.
It's funny but some of the food I miss most are the most simple -- a sandwich
on Poilane bread, carottes rapées (carrot salad), a scoop of ice cream....
Food markets are a special favorite, impossible to choose where to begin.
I have so many favorites -- Bastille Market and the organic Raspail Market
as well favorite market streets like rue Poncelet and rue Daguerre.
We amateur connoisseurs know to arrive hungry having learned we
can get a bite or two of amazing street food on site.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee and feel pretty lucky we're
now able to procure some excellent French cheeses.
But 365 different types? Ah non.
Tasting fromage from a special purveyor is like taking a trip to
Normandy or Provence or even the mountains of the Jura....
It's easy to travel France by way of your cheese* plate.
*wine and fine spirits should also receive a shout-out here -- Armagnac,
Pinot de Charente and pastis are just a few personal favorites.
Perhaps you're reluctant to dream about the future
since our current state-of-being is such a rollercoaster.
Here is my personal mantra. Hope it helps you make the leap.
"A wise woman can predict the future because she creates it."
It's not been a bed of roses, for sure, but when it's over,
we'll feel like we've prevailed on our own season of "Survivor."
But still, we wait, we watch, we hope.
Just planning a trip to Paris lifts us out of our year of discontent
if only for a few minutes a day.
Lingering anxiety notwithstanding, re-imagining ourselves on the streets
of Paris helps move our battered brains from heartache to happiness.
If the thought of light streaming into the stained glass windows
of Sainte-Chapelle help you see the light at the end of the tunnel,
why wouldn't you choose to focus on your very own happy ending?
Think Paris. Every day. Until you get there.
If your world has been feeling like the nightmare dreams of Salvadore Dali,
then perhaps a long look at Monet's waterlilies will lift you up.
Giggle over all the Mona Lisa in Quarantine memes that
have popped up all over the internet.
Take a virtual tour of one of many Paris museums on offer, often free.
But most importantly, make a plan to return in person.
Musée d'Orsay alone offers reason to visit Paris.
Musée Carnavalet has just re-opened after an extensive rehab effort.
Angelina's is still serving amazing hot chocolate.
And who doesn't want to cheer the laborers toiling away
high on the rooftop of Notre Dame?
Joan of Arc would have. So will I.
Hear it? Paris is calling.
Many of us have the time -- there's too much of it during these
stay-at-home days -- so go ahead and succumb to your best faraway fantasy.
Consider a tour of your favorite writer's life in Paris or take a cooking class.
Instead of feeling like a victim of the plague, turn the tide with a
renewed appreciation of what you love most.
Full speed ahead.
If it makes you feel better, buy a goofy "Emily in Paris" beret
and wear it while you clean the bathroom. It's your movie.
We've all been shaken by our recent history and occasionally
fall victim to unhealthy resentment and hopelessness.
Don't cry uncle. Defeat the monster.
Remember these words:*
"It's a new dawn
and a new day
It's a new life for me
and I'm feeling good."
*from that fabulous '60's tune that Nina Simone made famous
DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.
Back to the future in Paris!