Loving and Living. On and off the Rock.

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Big effin’ deal. That’s what you’re saying right now. Everyone likes to say how much they like Paris. Lovin’ it the Springtime, lovin’ it in the Fall. Gag.

I’ve been pretty embarrassed about it for most of my life because people (namely, my family–my ex-husband, a few friends) always mocked my cliché, goo-goo-eyed notions of the La Cité des Lumieres. It wasn’t until this past summer, when I dragged the kids and the hubby from Paris to Nice, that I finally came to terms with the fact that I am, in fact, on the right track, baby. I was born this way. My “I heart Paris” is dead-on, and here’s why:

No duh….look at it up there ^ basking in it’s serendipitous loveliness, saying “Uh, huh, huh, Regardez-moi. I am Paree, you know. I cannot help zee fact zat I am, how you say, zee awesomest cité dans le monde.”

Never mind that Paree might follow up with, “You stupide Americaine.” Because, depending on its mood, or the presence of white socks and/or a fanny pack, it totally would. You bet your freedom fries, lots of Parisians are grossed out by Americans. It’s unfathomable, I know. I mean, what’s not to love about us?

One of my husband’s co-workers, who had recently returned from a European tour, shared with us this little story: “I was in the hotel restaurant in Paris and I was so f***ing sick of no one speaking American, so, finally, I had enough. I said to the waiter, ‘You go and find me someone who can speak GOD DAMN American, RIGHT NOW!”

Last summer we did the (Quel horreur!) requisite Open Top Bus with the kids. I have no shame when it comes to fun with my kids…I’ll put on Mouse Ears, dance in the street, take stupid pictures pretending to poke/stabilize/suspend famous monuments. We go balls-out on Family Vacations. Anyway…

The woman in front of us on the bus wanted her friends to know that she  knew everything about Paris. The non-stop, top-of-her-lungs, Southern-accented narration included this, my favorite takeaway: “And Edith Pilaf lived right around here somewhere. Edith Pee-Loff. Oh! My! Gawd! You don’t know who Edith Pilaf is? She is (a favorite middle-eastern-influenced rice dish?) a FAMOUS FRENCH SINGER! Edith. Pilaf.” I looked around to see if anyone else was tuning in to this primo material, then I realized everyone else’s head set was plugged in and operable. But it happened.

Multiply these two anecdotes by millions every year, and, well, Paris just calls ’em as she sees ’em.

Let the record show that Paris also reeks of smoke and urine.

“And zat eez because I can and you weel still love me.”

Right again.

gorgeous paris light

So we just booked a teensy studio for next summer. It’s near our favorite spot, Place de la Contrescarpe. Just the hub and me this time, sans enfants. I will miss them, but they’ll be happily spoiled rotten at Grandma’s and we’ll be at Place Monge market sniffing pommes and pêches, buying cheap, drinkable wine at the hole-in-the-wall convenience store on Rue Mouf, wandering…. nowhere to go. Getting up early-ish and running from Place St. Michel to the Eiffel Tower and back (slightly masochistic bucket list item). And, finally, I’ll have a chance to plant my ass in a proper café and just write, and sip a coffee or a glass of wine, without feeling guilty about taking up a table, while hubby dons his sneakers and, as always, runs around making “friends” all over the place even though he doesn’t speak a word of French (it’s gotta be the aloha–I have no other explanation).

I have to teach a couple extra classes to cover the cost of the trip. And the bathroom linoleum won’t get replaced. And the front yard will remain a barren, mango-strewn wasteland. But we’ll always have Paris and Paris is always, always enough.

Right Paris?

“Zat is correct. You stupide Americain.”