…wherever you go for the rest of your life,
it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
In the summer of 2013 about 6 weeks before our 50th wedding anniversary, James and I, along with our family, did in fact fly over the big pond. We landed first in London, and after three days there we took a train to Edinburgh, Scotland, which was another huge, huge treat for me. (My dad had worked for Southern Pacific Railroad when we were growing up and every summer we traveled to places all over the US by train, and I loved, loved, loved riding and sleeping on trains.) After 3 days in Scotland we flew to Dublin for 2 and a half days. And from Dublin… Are your ready for this?! Could I have a drum roll please!!! We flew to Paris! Regrettably we had booked a hotel in Versailles, instead of Paris proper, and so after being picked up by a prearranged taxi, we went straight to our hotel to check in our luggage. Since it was quite late when we arrived at the hotel and we had yet to attempt traveling on the RER (Metro in Paris), we spent the evening in the town of Versailles. However, even though all I’d gotten to see of Paris that first day were views from the plane and a speeding taxi, it was enough to start the adrenaline flowing. The next morning when we got off the Metro in Paris and turned to walk onto the Pont Alexandre III bridge, one of the most ornate and extravagant bridges across the Seine, the excitement exploded into breathtaking fullness–so much so that I came to an abrupt halt right where I stood, frozen in place and completely stunned by everything that now lay before my eyes. The dream had at long last come to pass, and what I was seeing was even more dramatic and wondrous than I’d imagined. In that instant that bridge became a part of me and I belonged to it and it to me. Then when I turned to hear what my daughter was saying and the Eiffel Tower came into view, uncontrollable tears began streaming down my time-worn face. The teenage girl, who had fallen in love with the French language and Paris as a senior in high school, was finally witnessing her dream come true. Though, I could barely utter the words to explain the tears to my daughter, she somehow knew to put her arm around me and stand there with me as I took it all in. Then as we turned to walk across the bridge to join the others, I was stung on the side of my face by a bee. But ya know, no matter how bad that sting hurt and it did, there was nothing, simply nothing, that could have kept me from relishing that moment on the Pont Alexandre that glorious morning. I was “home” in a sense, and in less than 2 weeks, we are going “home” to Paris to feast for the second time. This time our hotel is between the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Alexandre. Imagine that?! My, oh my, oh my! How very, very good God is!!! By the way, I was thrilled that James fell in love with Paris from the get go, but it’s probably a very good thing that he didn’t say something silly like, “I wish we’d come here years earlier.”
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5 ✝
**The Pont Alexandre III, the Beaux-Arts style bridge, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. (Pictures in collage are mine.)