One of my dreams is to savour chocolate in Paris. That and croissants. Hmmm…how about chocolate croissants in Paris?
I have a delicious guest post by Karen Chase, author of Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log. I’ll admit, I’m a bit jealous … keep reading and you’ll find out why.
Ahhh, Paris. Where do I begin? I love Paris. It sounds so overused. Yet, I really do.
At first, I had a crush on Paris. I had gone to see her about fifteen years ago, spent five days there, and realized that she had a certain je ne sais quoi. The food, sights, and culture captured me, and like any infatuation she occupied my thoughts for years despite what other places I was seeing.
When I decided to pick a place to celebrate my fortieth, I went to Paris and we had a month-long affair. I gave our relationship my all for nearly forty days. Let me tell you, Paris and I hit it off fabulously, and now I’m crazy for her.
We took long walks along the Seine exploring the artisans and bookstalls. Across from those stalls, I sat in cafés staring into Paris’ eyes. Her people walked by–unsmiling and yet with this mysterious twinkle because they always know they live in the city of lights and love.
Paris’ mix of laid-back yet life-embracing zest was contagious. I found myself sleeping in until nine, lying around in the Luxembourg Gardens, and yet riding bikes during rush hour in the Bastille traffic circle without a helmet. We had late night leisurely dinners across from the Louvre, strolled through markets packed with produce, breads, and cheeses, and ran in high-heels to catch metro trains so we could listen to jazz near the Moulin Rouge.
Paris really romanced me. I heard accordions everywhere, the wine flowed continuously, and it seemed she offered up every type of rose known to man that month of May. And then, as if to really sweep me off my feet, Paris showed me her sweet side.
At café Vienne, I discovered true hot chocolate. Thick bittersweet chocolate, melted in a cup, served with whipped cream on top, and a side of sugar. I swooned. I fell head over heals for Paris then, because as Steena says, “in the end all things succumb to chocolate.” And so did I. With Paris. But soon, the month came to an end.
I’ll miss her every day until we’re together again. Ahhh, Paris, you have ruined me. I still can’t believe I left you…
By Karen A. Chase
Author of Bonjour 40: A Paris travel log
(40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds)
www.karenachase.com — Be sure to watch the book trailer!
AN EXCERPT – ON GETTING LOST
By Karen A. Chase
Day 15 ~ May 5
I got lost. Hopelessly, wonderfully, nowhere in particular-ly lost. I did start out my day with a planned visit to a museum, but once I left it I just got wanderlust for the next eight hours. It sounds frightening, but no, wandering in Paris is delightful. Every corner I went around had another little strip of charming stores, grand statues, festive cafés, gardens, architecture, flowers, or monuments to behold. With no phone, and limited email access, being unplugged is giving me the freedom to go out for these aimless excursions whenever writing hits a wall or my curiosity gets the best of me. My favorite spots are the really small, short streets that wind together in a jumbled, crooked mess. There, the traffic noise is reduced significantly, the shopkeepers are a bit friendlier, the wares are more unique, and cafés are quainter. It’s there that Paris feels more like Paris. In my meandering, I tried to visit the overcrowded Arch de Triomphe and ended up on the Champs Elysées yesterday. Within about five minutes, I grabbed a bicycle and escaped the area entirely. I didn’t come to Paris to see tourists eating fast food and buying overpriced American designer clothing. It isn’t the romantic boulevard it was when Joni Mitchell sang about it. My footsteps finally led me to the crab shack and bar at the end of my block. It is fast becoming a favorite. It is managed by Bandit-the-dog who barks at everything he’s never seen before and sits next to me begging for food. Dorothée, his owner, speaks wonderful English, so here I can learn and share equally. We chat until she closes for the night. As my day of wandering ended, words from that same Joni Mitchell song come to me: “I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive. There was nobody calling me up for favors, and no one’s future to decide. . . .”
Remember, in the end, all things succumb to chocolate!