This time last week I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, contemplating all the previous 5 days had held, while preparing to return to my usual every day duties and family. I was both sad to say goodbye to Paris and at the same time, ready to come hug my family. It’s funny how even the most beautiful places in the world, if they don’t hold the people you love, they can lose their luster. I have to say though, the luster of Paris had not at all dimmed. Actually, I felt like I was just beginning to scratch the surface.
We had every day full to the brim of sights, adventures and tastes, but it still wasn’t enough to even cover all the ground that there is to cover in a city like Paris. If anything, it will give me reason to try to get back. I know in these days and times in the world, people can look down on travel. I think though that travel can expand our horizons, as well as giving us a break from the monotony of the places we go, the roads we drive, the views we see…and even the food we eat. It helps us to get outside of ourselves and try something new.
As a photographer, the views and sights were constant inspiration. From pretty flowered window boxes to perfectly crafted afternoon lattes, I never wanted for visual inspiration. It’s also impossible to be in a place like Paris and not feel all the history. Standing in Shakespeare and Company knowing that Ernest Hemingway (among others) would walk into that very spot to borrow books…it just gets to you. Nothing beats standing in front of the real thing of Van Gogh’s or Monet’s paintings that I had studied about. It was almost overwhelming to me the amount of art I got to take it and I only went to ONE art museum while I was there. I didn’t even get to step foot in the Louvre because lets face it, there’s 8 miles of indoor corridors full of art. I would never get to it all.
And then there’s the nameless art of all the churches and cathedrals. The artists hands were on every details of places like Notre Dame and San Chapelle, yet they remained individually nameless. I was talking with my parents about it, people today would never sign up to contribute to building something they wouldn’t see completed in their lifetime. A chapel that takes over 200 years and countless craftsmen is just as much a magnificent work of art as any famous painting.
I can’t even hardly sum up what it feels like to sit on the bed in the afternoon, with the open window, hearing violin music riding in on the breeze and viewing the side of Notre Dame. I could hear the church bells and the motorcycle rumbles in the street. I could hear the voices carry up to my window with French and sip the hot dark roast coffee each day. It’s kind of hard to compare that to my East coast suburban minivan mom life.
And yet, I know that this is where I am called right now. I am so thankful for the experience, the memories made with my parents and the opportunity to rekindle a little bit of my love for other cultures and places. I am thankful also to come home to a loving husband and children, ready to dive back into the car pools and homework. It’s the memory of Paris that will stick with me, reminding me that there is a big beautiful world out there and some day I might get to see some more of it. Right now, I will be content with my hot starbucks on the way to pick up my kids and just remember what it was like to sip a latte on a Paris street cafe.
“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Here’s a handful of images I pulled from my literal hundreds to share with you…