Wednesday 8 January 2014

Follow Me to the City of Love

I was born on the wrong continent.

Plain and simple. 

Don't get me wrong.  I do appreciate my life here Canada and understand why, 50 years ago, my grandparents, on both sides, decided life would be better in North America.  They were looking for opportunity, they were searching for a dream, they wanted the hardships they endured in rural European towns to be a distant memory.  Success was eminent for them and I now reap the rewards of their decision to emigrate from Italy and Slovenia. My definition of success is not based on bank accounts that are filled with gold and diamonds or rubbing elbows with the upper echelons of society here.  I watch from afar, earning a living that provides me and my children, with that little bit extra that allows us to enjoy life. But even with all that surrounds me, I don't feel like my heart is at home here. 

I have had a fascination with Europe for many, many years, hence the multitude of languages I speak.  One place has been in my heart forever - France.  Interestingly, although my roots are grounded in Europe, it took me 40 years to cross over that big pond.   A couple of years ago, in anticipation of my 40th birthday, I decided to give myself a gift -- a ticket to Paris! 

And what can I say?  Paris was absolutely fabulous.

There was something about the history and beauty of this old city that warmed my heart.  Had I gone to Paris after university, instead of Australia, I am not certain I would have come back. 

I rented an apartment in the 1ere Arrondissment, about a block from the Louvre.  It was a quaint little flat above an Italian restaurant that donned a brightly coloured blue door that fit perfectly among the bistros and restaurants that filled the street.  Around the corner was a boulangerie and the smell of fresh baked bread permeated the neighbourhood.  I was in heaven.

The Eiffel Tower

The Louvre

Walking along the Seine, I curiously explored the green stalls that dotted the Left Bank.  I found two old books - a 1930 illustrated edition of Jules Vernes, Journey to the Center of the Earth and a 1778 edition of some collected works of Voltaire.  The smell of the books and feel of the leather and onion paper was a sensory delight!  As I continued to rummage through these stalls, I was delighted to stumble upon some old postcards from 1914 to 1948, beautifully hand written, with messages to old friends.  I am a hopeless romantic and these little nostalgic items were what made my trip.  These items were proof that life goes on well after your soul leaves this world. Each corner of this city had a story and secret to tell and I felt it

The Seine

The pedestrian bridge between the Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre, le Pont des Arts, was filled with the locks of lovers who vowed eternal devotion to one another. I spent a lot of time sitting on this bridge, staring out at the beautiful city of Paris, lost in reverie.  Did Dali sit on this same bridge?  Did Hemingway look out at the city and search for inspiration?  I felt like my soul had been brought back home.  I could see why Paris is called the city of love...not for the couples who sit on the bridges but for the sentiment this city leaves within your being.  It would have been nice to be in love while experiencing this feeling.  I can't help but believe that when combining the two, a person is left with an electric tingle that lasts for many moons. 

Le Pont des Arts

France has left an indelible mark in my mind and on my soul.  My hope, my dream, is to one day live somewhere in this beautiful country, enjoying life, indulging in the cuisine, engaging in meaningful conversations and loving every moment. There is so much more that I could share that would help paint an exquisite picture of this city in your mind.  Perhaps, in the near future, I will continue this tour of Paris, through my eyes, sharing my experience and my photos with you. But unless you feel it first hand, it will never affect you the way it did me.
The Medici Fountain in Luxembourg Gardens - My FAVOURITE place in Paris!

So if you ask me where I am from, I have to answer simply.  I live in Canada but my home is France.

Talk to me!  What place has touched your heart? Where do you call home?


  1. Audrey! I'm dying to go to Paris, or anywhere in France for that matter! Another blogger just got back from there and her photos gave me the travel bug big-time! I understand what you mean by where your home is compared to where your heart is. I'm am mountain girl so I love anywhere with gorgeous mountains - that's my heart! I certainly don't have them here in Texas....but I travel often to Colorado and Wyoming. *sigh* awesomeness.

    I just did a post about my bucket list and mentioned travelling overseas was a top item! You're so fortunate to have been there and to Australia. COOL.

    1. Beth! I am hoping to get back there this year...*le sigh! I miss travelling the way I did in my 20s. I ventured far and beyond! This past summer, I took the kids to Italy and we toured Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome and then over to the Adriatic! It was heaven! The excitement of a new place, a new culture, new cuisine, new everything runs through my veins. If you ever need a travel partner, I am IN!!!!