Monday, November 16, 2015

The Last Time I Saw Paris

I’m not sure exactly when the last time I saw Paris was. My husband and I had been a handful of times over the years. When was our last visit?

Was our last trip the one where we took our nieces Molly and Caroline? The one where we stayed for a week in the cool (yet a bit weird) apartment on the Rue de Suffren, where, from our living room window, staring us right in the face, we could see the Eiffel Tower.

No, I think we went a couple of years later.

Yes, that was it. In May 2010, we rented a cool (yet a bit weird) apartment in the Marais, on the Rue de Turenne, where the neighborhood was so dark, the streets so convoluted and winding, that each time we walked out after dark, we got turned around.

We had a trip planned for May 2013, but that was not to be.

Jim’s cancer had returned. We had to cancel our trip.

We had always talked about spending a month in Paris, but that was not to be, either.

So it’s been a while since I’ve been to Paris, but it is one of the remaining places that Jim wanted a bit of his ashes to land. So I still hope to get there again someday. Maybe when the nihilism, the fanaticism, the insanity, the rancid terrorism dies down. Would that it happens in my lifetime. Not for the sake of my ash-strew trip. No, I want everyone I know who loves Paris, or thinks they might love Paris – especially young travelers - to get their chance to visit this beautiful and brilliant city. If I never make it there again, well, we’ll always have Paris.

While I haven’t been there in a while, my friend Michele was there a few weeks ago on business. My friend Mary and her husband were planning a trip around Vin’s birthday. I know it’s in November. Are they there? Are they back? Were they going next week? My friend Marin was there in June with her husband to celebrate Brian’s 60th.

And my cousin Ellen and her husband Mike were fortunate enough to do that glorious month in Paris, which they did last September.

Molly, Caroline, Michele, Mary, Vin, Marin, Brian, Ellen, Mike.

I’m sure that today they’re all mourning for Paris.

The first couple of times Jim and I vacationed there, we stayed at a small boutique hotel,
Hôtel Splendid Etoile, which is located across from the top of the Champs-Élysées. In the distance outside our window – we booked the same suite each time we stayed there – we could see the Eiffel Tower and, further out, Sacre Coeur. But right outside our window was this:

arc de triomphe

At night, we’d always spend a bit of time just standing there, staring out the window, watching the traffic whizz around. Pinching ourselves that we were actually here. In Paris.

Here’s hoping that, sooner rather than later, decency and sanity will triumph over pure, unadulterated evil,

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I'm heartsick for all of Paris. I hope you'll get back to this beautiful city soon.