Next Station: Paris!

Writer Lisa St. Aubin de Teran offered this insight on travel: “Traveling is like flirting with life, it’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; This is my station.”

Our son Tom and his wife Donatta recently returned from travel abroad. Tom wrote this lovely account for today’s blog as a birthday gift to me. Enjoy!

Next Station: Paris

A cold drizzle covered the city. It may have been a Saturday night, but you lose track of time when you travel.  Our destination that evening was the Eiffel Tower.  After an early dinner, we meandered through the streets, and stopped by a store selling gifts for the home.  There were some pillows that caught my wife’s eye.  Slender and white, with the phrase “I’ heart my home” written on them in black.  It was a red-shaped heart, not the actual word heart, but there truly was an apostrophe after the I.  One of those little endearing charms of Paris that you find everywhere.

The store owner was a short, energetic woman in her 60s. She began conversing with my wife in English.  We find out she spent some time living in California, she loves Paris, and wishes her kids would visit her more often.  But such is life, she tells us.  My wife asks her if we can walk from her store to the Eiffel Tower.

“Yes, of course you can,” the owner said.

“How long is the walk from here?” We ask.

“Maybe 45 minutes,” she replies.

My wife and I look at each other. We had been walking all the time, so perhaps this wasn’t too far-fetched.  My wife could see the expression on my face and turned back to the owner.  “He likes to take the metro everywhere.  Is it better to walk there or take the metro?”

The owner lets out a laugh and I can see a twinkle in her eyes. “Of course you should walk there!  You two are both young, and healthy.  You will see so much of the city by walking.”

We join in her laughter. Maybe this was my wife’s plan all along, I thought.  The owner gives us directions, making sure to point out that we walk along the left bank of the river to get a better experience.  “Au revoir!” She says with a smile.  And with that, we departed. Into the streets of Paris we went.

There is no other way to put it; the owner was right. Walking along the river afforded us an excellent vantage point.  We stopped and took pictures at a memorial to Thomas Jefferson.  We marveled at the sights and sounds of the city, and then, there it was.  Off in the distance, but unmistakable, was the Eiffel Tower.  Its tall figure, shimmering in golden light, rising up against the backdrop of the night sky.

From there on, it was an easy walk. Once inside, we ascended to the 2nd level.  A howling, blustering wind had shut down the top and was there to greet us on the 2nd level too.  But the image before us was far more captivating.  From horizon to horizon, the city stretched out below us.  I spotted the Notre Dame, where we had been earlier.  A random soccer game taking place under fluorescent lights.  We took pictures, huddled together while the wind whipped our jackets, and savored every moment.

Standing there, peering down at a plaza below, with its large, ornamental statues, I understood another aspect of why Paris is so unique: its culture. Yes, I can talk about the pace of life, the food, the art, but that is for another time.  For here I am now, reflecting back on that evening, and I still feel that sense of wonder.  Paris is a city imbued with an expression of culture.

 

by Thomas Nemecek

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This entry was posted in Eiffell Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, travel abroad and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Next Station: Paris!

  1. Thanks for sharing your birthday present. What a pleasant one it was!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily says:

    Awesome blog post and photos thanks for sharing the wonderful experience you had in Paris!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely post and photos, Mary Ann! ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    A real visual treat! Guest posts are a fine way to introduce different viewpoints on our beautiful planet earth. I like the pictures of Paris very much. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. balroop2013 says:

    I love your birthday gift Mary Ann…I wish for such a gift but I have never asked for such a unique one! Thanks for a wonderful idea 🙂 This is a lovely story, sounds like it was quite cold but a look at the Eiffel Tower must have warmed that handsome couple. Thanks for sharing the awesome pictures of your son and daughter-in-law, they are so sweet. Stay blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A thousand thanks for such a kind comment. For me it is a perfect gift: a poem, story or something made by hand. Indeed it was unique of our son. He and his wife do make a handsome couple and thank you for saying so. Enjoy your weekend, Balroop. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Annika Perry says:

    What a wonderful and touching birthday present, Mary Ann! 😀😀 Your son brought Paris and its wonders to life – it is definitely a place that should be walked! They both look so happy and full of joy … it’s infectious! I love their selfie with the Mona Lisa in the background!

    Like

    • Thank you, Annika. I loved my birthday present from our son. We have a story about the Mona Lisa. The first time I saw it, I was quite close, and it was not behind glass. I was not allowed to take a photo. The second time, I left my camera at the hotel and that time, we were allowed to take photos. I am glad they took that selfie as well. They had a wonderful time in Paris, and it is evident in their happy faces. Much appreciated, Annika. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. bernard25 says:

    Bonjour ou Bonsoir

    De te connaître c’est le bonheur
    C’est ce qu’il y a de meilleur
    T’offrir se partage cela viens du cœur
    De t’avoir parmi mes amis c’est de l’or
    C’est plus qu’un trésor
    Je me sens plus fort
    Chacun de tes passages est réconfort
    Alors à toi je dis merci
    Grâce à toi je souris
    Car tout ce que j’avais envie,

    C’était de te dire merci, merci d’être mon Ami

    Bonne journée ou soirée

    Gros bisous

    Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

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