We will leave for Paris on the 26th. The reservations were made months ago and we’re going.
Paris, at this time of year… is not comparable to anything I’ve ever experienced. The cold winds wake up your senses and you’re hypnotised by the sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful, mesmerising city. You feel truly alive and in love with life, like you’ve never been before.
The shop windows are meticulously decorated with intricate scenes of Christmas and are a sight seeing attraction in their own right. As you walk past, you first feel the warm heat escaping from the open door or the street vent, tucked just below the steamy window. You then get hit, ever so gently, with the sweet smell of chocolate or coffee or maybe freshly baked croissants, or garlic! “Mmmmmmmm,” you inhale long and hard and for a second you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Once you pull yourself away from wandering aimlessly through the quaint neighbourhood streets and you’ve had your fill of the local patisserie’s delicacies, you find yourself strolling down the beautifully wide, tree lined boulevards. They too are decorated with perhaps too many glimmering lights and holiday bobbles. In the light of day these decorations can look a bit cheesy and cheap, but at night this same boulevard will make you giddy with joy and set your heart aglow! You’ll feel like you’re 5 again!
The weather this time of year is usually dark and moody, which adds to the beauty and mystery of this city. The way the clouds move quickly across the sky and the light gets diffused… you’ll be sure the gargoyle, on top of Notre Dame, just changed it’s position and it will freak you out!
If you get off at the right Metro station… as you walk up the long flight of stairs, towards daylight, the fist thing you’ll see is the unmistakable outline of the Eiffel Tower, through the naked tree tops. As your eyes adjust to the light, your mind tries to figure out if what you’re seeing is really real; or has someone pulled off a very cunning optical illusion.
Nope… there it is… right there in front of you! A most familiar structure; one you’ve see a thousand times in books, magazines, on TV, and in movies and yet nothing could have prepared you for this moment and it’s total awesomeness.
As you walk towards it, it’s size overpowers you. You can stand right under it; right in the middle, between the four corner pedestals holding it up and look up through the iron structure to the narrowest point at the top. You could stay here forever and not get bored. You can analyse it from every conceivable angle and see something new each time you look.
I could tell you how peaceful and quiet it is around the river; or how it doesn’t matter what restaurant you eat in, because it’s hard to get a bad meal. I could suggest you always order “la maison rouge,” because it’s as good as any bottle of red you’ll buy back home. I might mention how even though I don’t speak a word of French, I love listening to people on the street talking, because it sounds so beautifully romantic and musical.
There are a thousand reasons I’m going to Paris, but the most important one is because if I don’t go… they win. And I will not let that happen.