Yes, I just returned from an inspired and invigorating trip. My sister, Jeni, and I had a week together while our husbands and kids rocked the homefronts. Our parents, wrapping up a special trip of their own, met us in Paris and we had several days all together. How rare to have that kind of grownup time when our worlds are already whirling on a daily basis juggling families, businesses, pets, life, and making sure there are tasty things to eat each day. I’ll admit that I have a future wistfulness of one day, in 25 years give or take, that my two kids will want to take a small leave of absence from their regular lives for a wee stint with me and Brian somewhere like this.
Of all the sophisticated wonder that is Paris, my two favorite things were walking for miles just looking and soaking it in, and the other was speaking that glorious language. My only wish for myself was to send my inner critic packing on her own trip far from where I was and so I could just speak the French I studied from 7th grade through college. And by not being such a perfectionist about getting that grammar all straight, I succeeded; It just flowed. Here are a few peeks of my week there…
On each side of the Pont Des Arts pedestrian bridge is filled with little padlocks, inscripted with indelible marker or carved with the names of lovers. In my several visits to this city I don’t think I’ve ever seen it–so it was worthy of two morning walks to seek it out. Apparently some people lock the locks and throw the keys into the Seine river below.
We spontaneously attended a show of fashion photographer Helmut Newton at the Grand Palais and came out in the beautiful early evening light on this bridge, the Pont Alexandre.
In an organic market on Boulevard Raspail on Sunday mornings, we came upon two women selling cotton cloth “biologique” designed by one of the women, named Amandine. I bought a meter and a half for Jeni’s birthday who, I can tell, is about to turn into a sewing maven.
Halfway through our week it was nice to give our urban overloaded selves a break and we took a train to Vernon and met my dear French exchange family (a 27-year old friendship this is) and all spent a peaceful day together in Monet’s garden in Giverny. I rekindled my flame with Impressionism on this trip, a style I loved as a kid and teen but dismissed it in my twenties and early 30′s as not “edgy enough.” Whatever that decade or so was about for me, ha. But now seeing all the paintings in person–like Monet’s Nymphéas, hugely long and housed in delicate, naturally-lit oval rooms at L’Orangerie–took my breath away. And seeing Renoir paintings of just ordinary people doing ordinary things, like a mother and a child playing with toy horses, I appreciated these anew.