As a young girl, I didn't know what to expect.
The big monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe are my first memory
and I still remember how curious it felt to look at people, so stylish and elegant,
as far from my Midwestern roots as you could get.
It was as close to an out-of-body experience as I'll probably ever realize.
The window of temptations at Gerard Mulot, brimming with sticky tarts and seductive cakes.
That first taste of vin ordinaire you order at lunch, so surprisingly good.
A sneaky peek into a hidden courtyard or an open door.
Posters in the Metro that are both sexy and smart.
The surprising wallop of a tiny sprig of parsley - remarkably memorable.
Lovers cuddling closely on a bench in Parc Monceau.
A well-behaved dog happily ensconced under a table at his master's feet.
Once, as I sat at a café table, a large dog came running around the corner.
The mustachioed Gallic waiter greeted him and offered a very large bone from the bistro
platter he carried, abruptly turned and went back inside as the dog happily returned "home".
It was as if they met every day at the same time and place.
It was exactly 3pm.
No need for the standard "Vous avez choisi?"
Oh sure, all kids are cute but seriously, les enfants are spectacular.
I do miss the old days when schoolchildren sported tabliers (smocks) to protect
their good clothes. Today you're more likely to see Nike shoes and ballcaps.
But still, they already have that "something-something" that sets them apart.
Sweet little voices and appealing accents trigger a pause and
a much needed time-out from sightseeing activities.
ingenuity grab you every time you turn around.
Every neighborhood seems to have its own special flavor.
The first time I stood in front of Rodin's Burghers of Calais I wept.
He captured emotion like I've never seen before. And in bronze!
It made the blood pulse through my veins.
That's what Paris brings to the table.
Just open your eyes and let it in.
They don't mess around. Good food is expected.
My favorite meals usually involve simple fresh food or a hint of grandma's cooking.
So many choices, there's never enough time for it all.
You can flirt with every cuisine around the world -- It's all in Paris.
Do you want couscous or banh mi today?
The pairing of food and wine is taken seriously in Paris and all of France.
In proper French dining etiquette, you're supposed to choose your food first, then the wine.
It just makes sense.
How can you choose your wine before the meal
when you don't know what food you're having?
The food and wine should be complimentary
like a horse & carriage, not putting the cart before the horse.
That's why you're asked if you'd like an aperitif before your meal.
It's not meant to accompany the feast.
It's meant to bait your taste buds and invite your appetite to dinner.
We can discover our inner poet, political firebrand or wandering minstrel. Which ever brand
you choose, I'll wager you'll end up embracing the romance of your new imaginary self.
Go ahead, scratch your itch.
After all, who isn't better after visiting the capitol of France?
Paris is for fun people.
You know, the kind that like to sneak off to have a smoke when the boss isn't looking.
The ones who can tell a good joke at a party.
Or who aren't too scared to backpack through Europe.
I'm not brave. Not even a little. But when I'm in Paris, I feel like a rock star.
Without question, I'm way more fun than the grownup who lives in Nashville.
I can stay awake until the wee hours, I can drink more, I'm able to eat more and still feel good.
When I'm in Paris, I notice everything around me, no sleepwalking allowed.
I'm a pirate and a princess.
Naturally, it was a Frenchman, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry of Le Petit Prince fame,
who sagely wrote "We see well only with the heart."
So true, so true, our hearts are full of Paris moments.
(written by Vincent Scotto, Georges Koger & Henri Varna, loosely translated to English below)
I Have Two Loves
It is said that above the seas,
Over there under the clear sky,
Exists a city, where the stay is enchanted,
And under the big black trees,
Towards it tend all my hopes.
I have two loves
My country and Paris.
By them always
Is my heart ravished.
My savannah* is beautiful,
But why deny that
what puts a spell on me is Paris,
Paris in its entirety.
Seeing it one day
Is my pretty dream.
I have two loves,
My country and Paris.
When at the distant shore
I sometimes see a ship depart
To him I extend my arms
And heart beating with excitement,
Whisper softly, I say, “Take me!”
I have two loves…
*In Madeleine Peyroux's version, she substituted Manhattan for my savannah.
Oh yes, it's all in that song -- "my heart ravished by Paris."
If you want to live life to the fullest, go to Paris.
End that dull old routine. Search for a plot twist --- the good kind.
Two loves may well be better than one.
After that first blush of Paris, you're in for the full body rosy-tinted look of love.