The city many dream of visiting one day.
The city of fantasy.
The city of Carrie Bradshaw from the popular series Sex and the City (above at the insanely expensive $32,000/night Hotel Athenee) and the view from our hotel (below)-not $32,000/night. I’m pretty sure if I yelled out “!Bonjour!'” from our balcony, it would be met with “ShutUp and get dressed!” in angry tones and in other languages.
There is huge pressure to enjoy Paris thoroughly and glamorously! and prance around like Carrie in a size 2 Dior dress with a baguette in heels. Wait. Carrie is wearing the heels, not the bread…
That is the fantasy, but what is the reality?
Over 30 years and several visits, I have seen the main sites of Paris-tour eiffel, louvre before the glass pyramid-mai oui, notre dame, mona lisa, seine river dinner, monmarte, and the metro. Many streets still have cobblestones that will crack your leg in half should you dare bring heels here.
And no one wears haute couture on the streets.
And you cannot find clothes or shoes here if you are tall, have big boobs, and wear size 9 shoes. You will be told in Monmarte that you need “Maximum!” with a shout and your berated Viking soul will die inside a little.
And no one wears berets. And only some tourists wear blue and white stripes.
It’s ok. We will pause for you to cry about Paris and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus…
In Paris, your hair and makeup can be a bit of a mess. It’s actually a cool street style. This part I love. Merci, Paris.
And a lot of walking is involved everywhere.
That’s a problem for me currently with my pelvic floor in spasm. Even with a massive Botox treatment, I can only last until about 2pm, and I need to trade in my fantasy of twirling in a Dior dress for lying down in a not-size-2 rumpled tee shirt and diapers to hold an ice pack on my tailbone and to take pelvic valium.
It’s as far from sexy and couture as you can get, but it is what it is.
I long to just wander around grocery stores, attempting to read labels of products endemic to France. “Don’t I need whatever this is?! Surely!” Buying all the reusable grocery bags with cute chickens (“Cot! Cot Cot!”) or sayings (“C’est sac est bon!”) Simple things make me happy. I long to sit for hours at a cafe and watch people and traffic while inflicting my beginner’s French on friendly waitstaff and shopkeeps. They are really some of the most adorable people. I would love to walk to my longtime friend’s house in the neighborhood and visit for hours with coffee and old music.
It’s hard not to feel like I’m dissapointing because I can’t keep up physically right now. My mind travels across the neighborhood but my body cannot do it yet. Today I must rest for a fun dinner tonight with friends and the long trip back home tomorrow.
And look for what is nice about that. Time for coffee. Time for a hot bath and stretches. Time to enjoy the grey sky, the rain, the sounds, and cool air.
It’s a lovely rainy day and the Richard coffee my Parisian friend gave me is the Grand Cru (best) in the world. The door is open to get the cool air and I can hear life and construction echoing in courtyard garden. Internet on my phone provides me the luxury of being able to write, to imagine, to dream.
And I always dream of Paris.
Top image modified from Sex and the City. An Aneican Girl in Paris Part I. 2004. HBO.