Enchanted by Paris

Oh, Paris!

I should probably put my feet back on the ground, really, but I just can’t help it. Everything about the place was a delight. Is a delight. Can we all move there together? 

There is this feeling I always get before one of my favorite musicians goes on stage. I guess I’d say I become very nervous… I’ve loved them from afar for so long that when the time finally (finally) comes to see and hear their talent live, I just so, so want them to do well. I sit on my hands, fingers crossed, refusing to lower my expectations, quietly wishing and hoping. They always come through; I walk away with a big smile, gratitude and a sore throat. Probably overdramatic, but oh well.

Paris was similar.

Determined to see as much as we could from Thursday to Sunday, we booked an early morning train ride arrival and a late evening return by bus. The route, through Dutch, Belgian, and French fields (as well as inner city Brussels, too), was a treat in itself. Over the next few days, we found a way to master the Metro, walk under the tree canopies of Versailles, order dessert, stand beside the Tower, and cap Friday and Saturday evenings with the Pitchfork Music Festival.

Amidst the buzz of it all though, the calm pulse of the city is palpable. I think Paris is a place of self-assuredness. A quiet sort of confidence that forces you to stop for a second, hear your own voice in your own head a bit more clearly, with a bit more volume. I didn’t find a Parisian ego or conceited snootiness… just people who were sure, style that was sure, food that was sure. It was refreshing and beautiful, and hopefully I’ve made sense of it to you.

To discover a new place with new friends, each from a different  place, is a funny thing. Each person’s perspective is illuminating  for the others’. There were commonalities among the 4 of us  though, like the  spontaneous and giddy applause we all broke into  the moment the  Eiffel Tower was visible in the distance.

 I stole as many moments as I could, sealing ’em as long lasting  memories. You find yourself, maybe even your subconscious,  seeing people and past occasions in monuments or shop windows  or items on a menu when you’re away from home in a new place.  Like my Catechism-teaching grandfather in the Notre Dame.

Or the vintage dress a friend would love.

The Autumn colors were gorgeous and bright (I’m still partial to the real Midwest thing). The Catacombs were spooky and perfect Halloween timing. The gardens of Versailles were some of the most grand landscapes I have ever seen. The Louvre, the chocolate tarts, the dashing waiters, and the helpful direction-givers… You walk away grateful, sore feet, smiling big.

I’m telling you, it’s enchanting.


6 responses to “Enchanted by Paris

  1. Anne

    I’ve been dying to hear about your trip to Paris. I’m so happy you had such a wonderful time. I loved reading how exciting it was for you and your friends to see the Eiffel Tower…I remember jumping up and down when I first spotted it. xo Miss you!

  2. Uncle BIll

    “The last time I saw Paris . . .” sounds like a beautiful song. Aunt Trish, Catherine and I saw Paris in July 2001, with a group from Shrine High School, it was wonderful. Thanks for reminding me of that trip. Love, Uncle Bill

  3. boo

    Oh Cae your words sure let us know how excited you were about your trip to Paris. I remember the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower … we walked around a corner and there it was in all it’s glory, it was dusk and the tower was all lit up. It looks like you saw everything there was to see and tasted all the treats. Uncle Mike loved the baguettes and I loved the language. I am so glad you made the trip. Oh the fun you’ve had.

  4. UMike

    Great job, Cae. Thanks for taking us along on your adventures. Keep
    taking advantage of the opportunity. We’re enjoying it.

  5. Trish

    I’m glad that you were able to have more than just a day or two in Paris. When we went with the large school group we were somewhat limited due to the number of people that had to be included in every movement. The Metro—getting everyone on at the same time during rush hour was challenging–was exciting at first but then you realized that “pardone” really means “get the hell out of my way.”
    There is sooooo much to see and experience in Paris. It sounds like you have made excellent choices, made wonderful memories and forever friends. Thanks for taking us all along for the ride.

  6. Annie

    That picture overlooking the river Seine is stunning. Did you feel like Adele in her “Someone like you” video?

    Isn’t the world an astonishing place?! The next best thing to reading about your adventures will be hearing them in December. I can’t wait. (Keep) doing and seeing everything so we can get a really good taste of what your phenomenal opportunity was really like.

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