A friend of mine suggested that I find a hot French guy to take a picture of me in front of the Eiffel Tower. My answer: Hot French Guy…so redundant.
Three times this week I have been serenaded by strangers and each time it was to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Something Stupid.” Each rendition began with the same lines:
‘I can see it in your eyes
That you despise the same old lies you heard the night before
And though it’s just a line to you, for me it’s true
And never seemed so right before’
And, like any woman, I giggled each time out of what, I’m not sure. All I am sure of is that French men have a way of charming even those most serious looking New Yorker.
I went on 7 dates in 8 days when I visited last year. I had coffees and ice creams and visits to parks and bottles of wine and each new date brought some interesting thinking out about how Americans date when compared to their French counterparts.
Looking back, I remember wanting so hard to blend into Paris. I didn’t want to be ‘too’ anything because I was looking for anonymity and instead, I found myself talking to almost every stranger who wanted to practice their English.
What I learned is that French men say exactly what they are thinking and they are surprised to hear that just maybe, men in the United States might be just slightly different.
That learning lesson stayed with me when I arrived this time around. Again, I thought I’d be here in this beautiful city have nothing to say or at least no one to say it to, and again, I was wrong. This remains one of the most friendliest places I have ever visited. People are helpful, and funny and sometimes, they sing to strangers.
And what is it about this place that inspires such friendliness and feelings of love? Everything. From the food, to the colors of the sky to the architecture – there is nothing not to love about this place.
You could fall in love just with the various shades of macaroons like the ones I nibbled on today from Biscuiterie de Montmartre…
Or searching for windmills could do it, like the Doux Moulins on Rue Lepic…
Maybe it’s the merry-go-round at the #12 Metro Stop at Abbessess…
And if that isn’t it, I am sure it is Espace Dali, home to the largest exhibition of Dali’s work in Paris…
I even find love watching the painters try to get tourists to stop for a few minutes while they sketch out portraits (and yes, I have one, drawn of me last year by a French-Polish man who recognized my cheekbones as being quite Polish).
Every new street I found today, each new shop, every small child chasing a friend or two, and even the small traces of snow that fell last night all combined to make me fall in love all over again.
I am a cliché and I must say, I embrace it fully.
There is an irony to this point in my life. I am at that age where I can do just about anything I want. I have raised a child, sent her off to college, work full time and try to be a good friend to those I know and love. All of these things should combine to make it easy for me to say ‘Paris, let’s you and I fall in love’ and yet, just as I am ready to go, life seems to be saying: Where are you going?
And I’m a little confused by the forks in the road because in some ways, I want to take them all, but in grown up land, you have to make choices.
Today, I am choosing to wander Montmartre and taking in all of the tiny little cobblestone streets that I missed last year and later I will enjoy my Saturday night with friends.
I’ll worry about things like ‘what’s next?’ tomorrow while I’m off looking for trinkets that say “I was here” because in life, isn’t that what we all want? A reminder that we were someplace grand?
Photo Caption: Montmartre, Paris at night (2012), photo taken by Dee Dee Mozeleski