The first time I visited Paris I knew it would always be my mirror city-- the place where I could imagine having a complete alternate existence and live very happily for the rest of my life.
The last visit was the first time Quillan and I had been there together and I looked forward to sharing some of the famous Parisian romance together-- albeit 6 months pregnant with an 18 month old in tow.
As is often the case, things don‘t always turn out the way you plan. It was one of the the coldest Aprils on record-- at one point it actually snowed. Our rental apartment, located on the Rue des Rosiers above a synagogue, was very noisy due to the celebration of a high holiday no one could tell me the name of. Quillan got the flu, and Audrey rejected french milk, sending me to the grocery store to buy up all the milk alternatives they had. There were times I wondered what we were thinking embarking on this trip at all.
Still, looking back there are memories that I will cherish-- like Audrey having her first Carousel ride on a hand cranked antique carousel in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower. Picking up half a roast chicken and potatoes from a shop around the corner and managing to joke with the butcher -- in french. Seeing some dear friends who drove hours just to spend and hour lunch with us. Walking to the Notre Dame Cathedral on our first morning there, pushing the stroller over the cobblestone streets. Ordering coffee for Quillan each and every morning-- even though he was perfectly capable of ordering in french himself. (“Un cafe creme a emporter, s’il vous plait”-- milky coffee to go, please.)
Nothing will ever dull my love of Paris-- not snow, not transit strikes, nor the occasional cranky Parisian. In fact, I wish I could peek into the life of that alternate me, in my parallel life, in my mirror city. How fascinating that would be.