More Love Notes to Paris
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Monday, November 16, 2015
By Lovers of Paris
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Love Notes to Paris continue to pour in. A theme we're seeing in these missives -- shared travels with friends.

Miss yesterday's? Click here. Continue reading for today's love notes (below).

Paris, nous vous aimon!

We begin with this note from Lisa Kelly:

When I had the opportunity to travel to Paris on January 1, 2000, the only concern my friend, Bekah, and I had was about whether there would be “Y2K” issues with the electronic systems controlling the planes and airports.  This was before terrorism even became a word in our vocabulary, so I assured my friends and family that if planes were falling out of the sky, we would certainly know it before our afternoon flight took off from London.

After spending some time in Wales, we safely arrived in Paris on the first day of the new century ready to see everything we could possibly fit into 2 days.  We knew that since we were already in Europe, we had to include a stop in Paris.  But Paris had weathered huge storms just prior to our arrival and the banks of the River Seine had overflowed such that underground parking lots were under water and the only evidence that there were park benches along the river was the thin sliver of the back of the benches that was visible at intervals along the water.  No boat tour for us; the water was too high for boats to pass underneath the bridges. 

We made the best of it and had a great time walking the streets of Paris, enjoying the sites, the history, and particularly the foods. It occurs to me that once again, Paris has been flooded; this time by fear, grief, and loss.  My hope is that the people of Paris will choose to feel a different kind of flood in the days to come: the flood of tears, prayers, and support of the entire world as we grieve with you. -- LK

 

© M 93 / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

 

My friend Wendy and I traveled to Paris together. We rented a car at the airport, stowed all our luggage in the back and, before checking into our hotel, headed out to see the sites. First stop was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. We had to to tear ourselves away from the breathtaking city panoramas. There were other views calling our name.

When we arrived back at the car, we soon discovered... we didn't know how to put a French car in reverse. A kind Parisienne gentleman came and offered to help us, literally, out of the spot we were stuck in. For a second, we considered the fact that we were so trusting -- this stranger could drive away with both the rental car and our belongings. His warmth was genuine, though. Not only did he maneuver the car out of its predicament, but he gave us an impromptu driving lesson. -- Jolene Dodson Bogard

 

Photo courtesy of Emilio Smeke. From left to right, Miguel Angel Cooley and Emilio Smeke.

 

As the end of high school neared, Miguel Angel Cooley (now a famous Mexican Sommelier) and I — determined to become explorers/ backpackers having great adventures —  were planning a journey throughout Europe. After all, it was well deserved, and with all our years of hard studying, we knew we could survive.

Unfortunately, our friend Alvaro Bravo (a successful businessman now) couldn’t come accompany us, since there were very hard times in Mexico and the Mexican Peso had suffered one of the worst devaluations of all time.

There was no e-mail (at least commercially speaking) and telephone calls were expensive. Being on very tight budgets, we three friends vowed that if something changed we’d see each other at the Arc du Triomphe at noon on July 4th.


Photo by Lisa Kelly

 
Miguel and I arrived at the appointed time, waiting over 40 minutes. Disappointed, we were just about to leave and almost when we spotted two guys with big backpacks — Alvaro and his brother! 


Photo courtesy of Emilio Smeke. From Left to Right Alvaro Bravo and Emilio Smeke.

 

Needless to say, we celebrated our reunion throughout the night. Happily, we were able to finish our travels throughout France together. -- Emilio Smeke

 

Photo courtesy of Lorraine Kushynski

 

My first trip to Paris was in 1977. What an adventure it was! The hustle and bustle of a vibrant cosmopolitan city, an abundance of outdoor cafes filled to the brim. The Seine, the Metro, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre to name a few.  

I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit Paris two years ago and my memories became reality once again. What a romantic city! So much culture and history. Parisians have a reputation of being "snobs", but I find them extremely stylish, elegant with a particular je ne sais quoi.  

To the people of Paris, my heart is breaking.

Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite -- Lorraine Kushynski


This photo, and the one of the Eiffel Tower featured above, are by Carolyn Bahr

 

What I remember about my travels to Paris -- the city's beauty, amazing history, incredible churches and awesome food. The museums were breathtaking! I remember thinking that the people had this ease and relaxed perspective on life. No rushing, just enjoying life to its fullest. -- Gina Tras

 

Image by Palagret [1] (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

I spent exactly one day in the City of Lights. Everything about it should have been foreign, the language, the signage and the pace of its citizens. But as we approached the Tuileries Gardens I realized Washington, DC was completely L'Enfant importing Paris to the new continent. The openness and insistence that both cities be places for walking to open venues.

Washington, DC is no longer as open before 9/11, and maybe Paris will change, too. But Paris survived Nazi, Germany, and I believe she will survive ISIS. Because, after all, Paris has always been there inspiring the whole world to wonder and dream. -- Maureen Maguire

 

If you have a memory you'd like to share about Paris, please contact me at bekwright@gmail.com. Merci!

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1 Comment
Elizabeth DeHoff - That first story made me laugh because I, too, traveled from London to Paris with my best friend on January 1, 2000! I still have pictures of uprooted trees and the flooded Seine. We had a great time nonetheless, because Paris is wonderful no matter what the weather. But yeah, no boat tours that week! :)