Paris is not my favorite city. It’s a controversial opinion, but it’s mine. Paris has lovely pain au chocolat and cheap champagne. Paris has avenues of identically charming apartment buildings built in the 1840s and 1850s. The Eiffel Tower is breathtaking for the first five minutes of every hour, starting at 9 pm, when it glitters.
Or sprinkles, as my mother said in her delirium from walking 42 miles over 6 days in Paris.
But walking along the Seine, I do enjoy. There is excellent people watching, like this charming Parisian couple.
“Je prends votre photo, s’il vous plaît?” I asked them, my French rusty. “Votre marié a combien des ans?”
Can I take your photo? You have been married how many years? At least I was trying.
“Plus de cinqante ans,” the lady replied. More than fifty. “Merci beaucoup, et bravo!” I forgot the word for congratulations. My mother was soaking in the Seine, her six years of French study not yet bubbling to the surface.
Three years ago I went to Paris for the first time with Adam. We walked across the Pont des Arts which was still full of those damn love locks. We were satisfied to take a photo and not leave more weight to slowly drag the bridge under water. The selfish weight of all that love was actually sinking the bridge slowly towards the Seine, so the French cut through the steel bindings and threw everyone’s love away.
Pont des Arts bridge now has plexiglass walls. And lovers, because lovers will always flock to Paris like flamingoes eager to display their pink feathered hearts, have returned to adorn the railings installed along the Seine. Iron hearts can now rust in the Paris winter and heat in its summer rays.
Mom and I ended our stroll in the perfect place, Shakespeare & Co bookstore.
Instantly she declared a new favorite Parisian cafe, and we tried to fit in another stop. But sadly, when we returned later in our week, the second cup wasn’t as lovely as the first.