Paris, nous vous aimons!
Seeing Paris under fire on Friday impacted people in myriad ways. Beyond expressing their shock and horror, what emerged was an outpouring of love and concern. So, as a sort of love note to Paris, we're sending our hearts by way of the Internet and sharing how a city and its people have left us with memories of a lifetime.
Photo by Carolyn Bahr, as is photo above.
In gathering these stories, it wasn't surprising to hear just how many lives Paris had touched. Merci pour toucher nos vies!
Kicking things off -- Liliana Wright...
Image By Armin Hornung (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I believe that I belong to Paris, in some way, even if in a past life. I have been fascinated with Paris since early childhood and devoted myself to studying French from elementary school through college, never understanding the need to do so. When I was able to visit for the first time as an adult, I will never forget the exact moment the plane touched the runway. I had finally reached my spiritual home and uncontrollable tears of joy and excitement ran down my cheeks. It was 10 years ago this week since I felt its romance and enchantment and I still long for a reunion. I pray for its people and for the long road to recovery that lays ahead. Paris, je t'aime. -- Liliana Wright
Image by Nicolas Halftermeyer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ah, Paris. We met in 1987 when my French teacher introduced us during a school trip. It was my first time abroad and there was a bit of unrest in the region. The night before arriving, a bomb had exploded in a neighboring country. To say it scared me is an understatement. My best friend and I skipped the bateau along the Seine that our group had planned and walked your streets instead. The architecture, the lights, the bustling life around us provided comfort. Standing atop the Eiffel Tower viewing the magic brought mepeace. May you find peace and comfort as you look around and realize theworld is with you. -- Jennifer Whitlock
Photo courtesy of Jay Cywan. From left to right: Jay, Alex and Miriam Cywan.
We took our first trip to Paris in June 2014. Our favorite memory is of a private, sunset adventure with a driver/tour guide in a vintage Citroen 2CV. This underpowered, open-top buggy brought us up close to the sights and sounds of the City of Lights as well as Parisians out, enjoying a beautiful summer evening. -- Jay, Alex and Miriam Cywan
Photo courtesy of Shev Rush
I took this photo in the Marais this August, looking up at the full moon after a night of wine, delicious food and wonderful conversation with people I love - the same kind of Paris night that ended in senseless death for so many people hours ago.
I couldn't sleep last night thinking about all of this. But what I feel today is that the beauty of Paris - and of lives around the globe being lived with love and creativity and determination and perseverance and empathy and passion and humanity -cannot be eroded by barbarism and brutality. Beauty wins. Love wins. It can't be taken away. -- Shev Rush
Photo courtesy of Lisa Kelly
Phone conversation between Lisa Kelly & Bekah Wright remembering their less than 48 hours in Paris:
LK: We HAD to go to Paris since we were going to Europe. It was flooding, so our inbound flight got re-routed to Brussels. We were worried the flood might impact us getting to visit on the other end of the trip.
BW: Then there was all the hubbub about Y2K and how flights wouldn't be going, ATM machines would stop working, our credit cards would be scrapped. We finally made it to Paris on New Year's Day, 2000.
LK: We took a double-decker bus tour to get an overview of the city. Some guy jumped off the bus and just handed us his tickets.
BW: For lunch, we bought a baguette and some cheese.
LK: Which we attempted to cut with an undersized Swiss Army knife.
BW: We found any excuse we could to eat crepes. Nutella and banana...
LK: So many of the places we wanted to visit were closed because of the holiday.
BW: But it didn't matter, as long as we could stroll along the streets of Paris. PARIS! Of course, we got lost, I used my inadequate French language skills to try and get directions. A street performer/statue didn't break character to help, but another resident gave the words coming out of my mouth a pained squint, then pointed us in a direction.
LK: We'd saved up to eat at a restaurant a waiter in LA had told you about.
BW: I don't remember what we ordered at the restaurant, but what I do recall... It was perfect. The entire 48 hours was just... perfect.
Photo by Carolyn Bahr
I'd held this lifelong vision of myself sitting in a Parisian cafe sipping coffee and eating piping hot croissants. We were headed to Wales and I thought: this is my moment.
And so it was. Yes, everything I'd dreamed it would be. -- Marla White
As a romance novelist, I'd arrived at the pentultimate of destinations: Paris.
Finally, I was there, in the city of love. Awaiting me at every turn...
Warriors and weeping angels. Muses for the creative mind. -- CJ Bahr
Paris brought with it unexpected experiences and emotions. I was traveling with two friends who are Catholic. They wanted to attend a Sunday service/communion at Notre Dame Cathedral. Buddhist that I am, I was game to join them. The service was beautiful. Seeing Notre Dame being used for its intended purpose was even more special than I'd anticipated. The acoustics were amazing, so when the full choir began to sing, especially during the chorus, their voices echoed through the arches, making it sound like the voices of angels raining down from the heavens. -- Nahmi Jones
Our hearts are with you Paris! We hope to be sending more love letters your way.
Have a Paris memory you'd like to share? Send us a comment or contact us via this site or Facebook and we'll connect with you/share it. XOXO