Of all of the places we visited this summer, I feel the deepest connection with Ireland… which should come as no surprise. My grandmother was Irish, and I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Ireland feels like home.
That said, I have to admit that the place I was most excited to take Mark to was Paris. As a little girl, I always wanted to visit, but as a teenager, my mind wandered off to more exotic places… feeling certain that the Paris everyone carries on about would let me down. Then, in my early 20s, I found myself there…
And in many ways I mean that completely.
I actually had a terrible experience on my first trip to Paris and a huge falling out with a relative that’s never been fully repaired…
But in the moments before and after, I wandered the city by foot and by train, to the catacombs, the streets of Montmartre, and all the way out to Versailles. I sat in Marie Antoinette’s garden and cried for the mess my life was at that moment, and felt hopeful for what I knew it had to become. I sipped wine, smoked at cafes (part of the mess I left behind…), and indulged in the beautiful food and the beautiful shopping just down the street from my tiny hotel on rue Saint-Honoré.
Coming back felt cathartic, and coming back with Mark… more special than I can explain. So much has changed in the eight years since I was there last… and yet Paris was there waiting, like an old friend who’s seen you at your worst and loves you all the same.
We visited the sights, threw a key in the Seine, and enjoyed one of the most wonderful meals – at Le Petit Célestin – that we’ve had in some time.
… but the most important piece, that Mark come to love this city I feel such affection toward, only took a moment.
As we drove to the airport, he was already planning our next trip… and our next… and certainly one to see the Tour.
I worried I’d talked it up too much. That he’d only see the grit, or the attitude, or the signs warning tourists to watch out for thieves… but he was as enamored of every bit of the city as I was and still am… and to be able to share that with him meant the world.