June 27, 2016 (11:17 a.m.)
At 10:30 p.m. on June 24, my last night in Paris, I was seated at a table in a café in Saint Germain. On my left sat my friends from Paris. On my right were my friends from the U.S. In front of me was a plate of steak frites covered in pepper sauce. There was a glass of red wine nearby. I was wearing a new scarf. The sun had just set, and the sky was blue with silvery pink clouds. My heart was full of emotions: Happiness to be going home to my hubby, my kitties, my friends, my bed and big glasses of water. Sadness to leave this wonderfully complex, perfectly imperfect, fantastically frustrating city. That’s when it occurred to me: In the two weeks that I had been in Paris, I hadn’t seen the Eiffel Tower twinkle at night. So three of us set out for the Champ de Mars, the park right below Paris’ icon. We arrived just minutes before midnight to a crowd of rowdy football fans, hawkers selling tiny metal Eiffel Towers and tourists with bottles of wine in hand. (As an aside, Woody Allen’s movie, Midnight in Paris, is one of my all-time favorite films, so the timing couldn’t have been better.) At 12 a.m. on the dot, the tower began to sparkle and twinkle against the night sky. The show only lasted five minutes or so, but it was the perfect way to end my time in the City of Light.
I’m back in Sedona now, but this blog seemed like it needed one more post. It feels great to be home (aside from the massive stack of mail and hundreds of emails waiting to be answered), yet I absolutely left part of my heart in Paris. Part of me is still practicing the art of flaneurie, wandering the streets, poking my head into churches, discovering new shops and exploring alleyways. I’m having coffee with friends in cafes and lingering over dinner for three hours. I’m buying crepes with Nutella from a street vendor around the corner from my pied-a-terre and watching Dirty Dancing in French. I’m riding on the metro by myself in the wee hours of the morning (knowing that my mom would never approve) and writing in gardens where I’m not allowed to step foot on the grass.
When I first started this blog, I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything interesting to say or that I wouldn’t be comfortable sharing such personal experiences in this type of forum, but the days had a funny way of unfolding and providing more than enough fodder. I had a quote from French novelist Marguerite Duras written in my journal that provided inspiration, too. “Some things are impossible to write about, but you can write about impossibility.” Hopefully I did a good job of painting a picture of Paris and why it means so much to me.
Thank you dear readers for coming along on this electrifying adventure. A bientot! –Erika Ayn Finch