The kids love Paris
EUROPE, CITY, FAMILY / MARCH 20, 2016
THE KIDS LOVE PARIS, FRANCE (LIKE THE REST OF US)
When I was nineteen I lived in Paris and studied French film, literature, music and art. It was an amazing experience on many levels but what I remember most is the freedom I had to wander the streets on my own, and how much I loved it. I crisscrossed the city and its famous river everyday on foot, walking from my apartment near the Eiffel Tower to my classes, which were scattered across town. On the weekends, I would catch a train, ride out of town and step out in some random village. At the end of the day I would hop back on and follow the rails home.
I was a student and I had just enough money to get by. I remember wishing I had a bit more, for groceries at Fauchon and nights out at Les Bains Douche (the hotspot then ~ it was the 90s), but everything that I enjoyed most in Paris was free. Well, almost. A student museum pass and pocket money for an occasional beverage filled in all the gaps. My pass meant that I was welcome in galleries all over Paris; I often veered through the Musee D’Orsay on rainy winter days as it was the halfway point along my walk home. The streets of Montparnasse, Saint-Michel and Île Saint-Louis were all my neighborhood; I spent countless hours exploring them and sometimes I relinquished a bit of pocket money for a prime seat at a café table or bar. I’m sure I overstayed my three francs worth but I practiced French and smiled and I don’t remember anyone giving me a hard time.
My apartment was full of flowers. And decapitated Evian bottles. It was a teeny tiny place in a posh neighborhood that I shared with a classmate. A couple of times each week the sidewalk trashcans were topped with discarded day old flowers. The still beautiful bouquets of roses, iris, tulips, delphiniums, gladiolas and lilies had been hastily exchanged for newer, better ones. So I snatched them and stuffed them into makeshift vases. I still have a stack of old Paris sketch books filled with profiles of les fleurs, teetering on crowded bookshelves or crammed onto our scrappy two person dining table.
Living in Europe again now, as we do, has given me the chance to revisit Paris with my family. I have loved walking the streets with our boys and watching them enjoy Paris the way I did: dawdling along the river, debating ice cream flavors at Berthillon and wondering why the Mona Lisa is such a big deal. And I love watching them experience things differently too: playing tag at the monuments, riding the merry-go-round in the Jardin des Tuileries and feeling exhilarated by the dramatic climb down the steps of the Eiffel Tower on a freezing cold winter night.
The kids loves Paris.
Little cars, little shops, little pan au chocolates,
pommees frites, colorful treats,
Playing tag at the monuments,
Mom is in a great mood.
What’s not to love?