Its the sound of Paris calling.
Every April I start to crave crepes with Nutella, long chats with the Mona Lisa, and a quiet walk through the
Tuileries Garden with a macaron or two. And so help me - these earrings
would look SPECTACULAR staring back at me in the hall of mirrors at Versailles!
Paris and I go way back. My first visit was with my family when I was 16. My dad had business in London and for fun we got to ride the chunnel over to France for the day. It was a far too short 6 hours of walking around the shops and buildings surrounding the train terminal. My parents were too freaked out to split up our family into two cabs, so they refused to take us to any tourist places. I remember that I was dying to cut off my hair into some nouveau fashion, but we couldn't find a salon! Here is my sister and I standing in front of a bridal shop, looking as my sister put it - "like we had had one too many croissants..."
The next time I saw Paris was during the unfortunate fall of 2004 when I got divorced and lost my sanity. Late one night while searching on ebay for a copy of the french poster Rachel and Monica had hanging in their apartment ... I might have accidentally stumbled upon an auction for a flat in the Marais, promptly emailed the owner, and booked it for a month. I told my best friend and fellow lover of all things french (the famous Courtney
who founded Cents of Style) to pack her bags! She came to my rescue and met me there for a week so as to better help me cope with being crazy, depressed, and single (a lethal combo). The good news was that somehow when you cry in Paris your tears turn into Euros, and as if by magic you become the proud new owner of an uncracked heart and a pair of Biscotti jeans worth more than a years worth of therapy....
We rode the metro to and fro, shopped, ate, and ate some more. We visited every museum and castle and accidentally got two homeless artists arrested when they tried to sell us the chalk sketches they had drawn of us on the street in Monmartre. I still have that drawing somewhere in a closet - but lest I wake the napping beast - I will have to leave it there for now.
Every night we would crash in our tiny apartment and eat ham, cheese, and dijonaise (which is an addicting combo of mustard and mayo that is horrifyingly absent from American supermarkets) on crusty baguettes and laugh about how unfortunate our white tennis shoes looked running up the steps of the Sacred Heart cathedral, and how we had never in our lives imagined Paris would be everything the movies tell you it is.
What can I say about Parisian fashion - except that it is effortless and uniformly beautiful. You don't see a lot of extremes in styling on the streets, or lazy comfort fashion the way you do here in the US. There are no juicy couture pant suits, no Uggs - and strangely no overprocessed curled hair. Curling irons and hair products in general were oddly hard to come by! The fashion here is harder to put into a box - and in general encompasses ALL the trends and somehow mixes them up into one mashup of style. The makeup was also less overdone and more natural than what is typically trending over here. People look straight up magazine worthy and at the same time very Je ne sais quoi. (Images from the always perfect french street blog EASY FASHION
A quick 4 years later Paris was calling me back for more, this time with my new husband. After eloping to Manhattan
we hopped a plane and spent a week kissing here and there against the backdrop of the worlds most romantic city. With our 8 year anniversary coming up next week, I find myself craving the smell of chestnut trees blooming and a little hand holding along the seine....
We had a superb time gallivanting around the city, despite the fact that we never acclimated to the time change and slept in til 4pm every day. We stayed at the St James Hotel
(please click on this link and see basically the cutest website in all of creation). We ate panini sandwiches with brie, tomato, and basil every day for breakfast, wandered in and out of shops spending all our money we had saved from not having a wedding reception, and blissfully soaked in the 75 degree perfection of springtime.
These were our orange metro cards that allowed us to ride throughout the city like locals. We look baby fresh young. And very serious. And slightly "Bourne Identitiy"...
Its astounding to me that it has been 8 whole years since I have stepped foot in France. Its a heartbreak really. I need to come up with some type of international business plan that allows me to relocate without being fluent in the language - in addition to making roughly 2 million Euros a year so that I can live in a flat equipped with both a dishwasher and a bathtub, and maybe if I were really lucky -a little outdoor garden space for my new golden persian kitty to lay in the sun. My children could attend the international school in their matching uniforms and grow up eating herbs de provence and expressing their emotions through impressionist paintings....
In the mean time I guess Ill whip up some crepes for anniversary dinner and try and try again to get the children to refer to me as "maman" while I wear this scarf and sing La Vie en Rose while doing the dishes....
Do you have a city in this beautiful world that is your home away from home? A place that has your heart and knows you better than you know yourself? Do tell!
Until Monday, Au Revoir