766. Paris is always a good idea! ~Audrey Hepburn

…wherever you go for the rest of your life,
it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
~Ernest Hemingway

Screen shot 2015-06-09 at 6.00.27 PM

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.)

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35 thoughts on “766. Paris is always a good idea! ~Audrey Hepburn

    • It is, V. It’s a fabulous city, and contrary to what some people say, we found the French to be lovely people.
      Wish I could put you in my suitcase and take you with me this time. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  1. Your exploits and excitement of your love affair with Paris is so reminiscent to my similar love affair and first trip to Rome.
    You know how I’m always insinuating that I am the love child of Sophia Loren—well my love for all things Italian goes way back. My roommates in college decided that since I was adopted, it was no doubt my biological mother was indeed Sophia Loren—sadly, Ms Loren has no idea 🙂
    This love was heightened during college with a minor of Art History—Italian Renaissance to be precise.
    I loved and yearned for all things Italian—-
    My 3rd year teaching, a very young 25 year old teacher traipsed across the Pond with her flock of young sheep–aka students.
    We were gone for 3 weeks visiting the major cities throughout Europe. When we finally reached Rome, with the traffic and massive tour buses parting long enough, allowing me a full first time view of St Peter’s, I turned to my kids, exhaling with a long satisfied sigh explaining that I could now die in peace as I had found the one road which had finally lead me to Rome 🙂 and to the steps of St Peters—-I am still overcome when I think of the history and of the struggles of our young Christian Church which all took place in Rome—-oh it makes my head spin—I’ve been back 3 times since and count the days until I one day return. . .Love, love Italy, especially Rome, as you mon cherie, love France, especially Paris—
    ciao ciao bella

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    • Okay is Sophia Loren is your mom, then mine is Brigitte Bardot. I love that your roommates agreed that she was your mom. I’m sure Rome is a moving experience too. Again, it is so ironic that we both had a passion for a European cities of such illustrious antiquity. But then again, I guess most of them are.
      We are going to have one day in Milan, and if we go back, next time we want to go to Venice, Florence and Rome. Ciao, bella Cookie. 🙂 ❤

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  2. Lovely Natalie. Nice to read how happy you are doing what you like. Thank God the bee sting did not spoil your day. I love such a positive attitude. Thanks for not giving up on me when you don’t see me for long.You are an inspiring example.

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  3. I love your story, of holding on to your dreams, tears welling up in my eyes at the overwhelming emotion you felt when you returned and stood on the Pont Alexandre Bridge. I think our dreams are held in safe-keeping within our souls, and when fulfilled, tears are the happy release of the ‘minding.’ You are about to make another trip soon. I wish you so much joy. I went to Paris for the first time last year and absolutely fell in love with everything about it, the sense of being ‘at home’ was quite wonderful, and this coming to me in my mature years. I hope I can make another visit one day too.

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    • Thank you so much. I loved your comment and it brought tears to my eyes. You understood and explained so well what I feel on that bridge that day. I couldn’t even put it in words as well as you did. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂 ❤

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  4. Your photos are so beautiful. I have been to Paris several times. You definitely know that it is a special city. I’m glad that you finally got a chance to see it for real. I traveled a lot 20 years ago and now I am content to travel around the world with my blogging friends.

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  5. My step daughter studies abroad for Spring semester in France and visted Paris & Italy & London and all these beautiful places. We were so excited when she returned home that we forgot to even ask her about her grades, nevertheless I can tell the experience changed her for the better! It had been her dream since she was a little girl! So awesome you get to go back again, enjoy!!! Beautiful pics!

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    • Thank you for sharing this. Yes, it does change us forever and I’m so glad that your daughter had that opportunity. It’s so wonderful when our dreams come true no matter how long it takes. Blessings and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  6. What a fantastic trip to my part of the Pond 🙂 as you visited the UK.. 🙂 Paris is beautiful isn’t it.. so is Scotland..
    We did the opposite trip to Canada for our 25th in 2000.. 🙂 Many thanks for sharing your photo’s and journey..
    Blessings for a beautiful rest of the week.
    Hugs Sue

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    • You are very welcome. Thank you for your lovely comment. I enjoyed what we saw of the UK, and yes Paris and Scotland are both very beautiful. I hope to return one day to England and Scotland. Blessings to you for a wonderful weekend. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  7. Wonderful. I have so enjoyed reading these posts Natalie – each one making me eager for the next. Glad that you did finally make it (and get to visit the UK too). I guess I am a bit spoilt with my travels. Currently in Zurich, albeit at a hotel close to the airport in the area where I am working. I had two days in Chiasso on the Italian border where it was possible to eat outside both nights. Italian food just happens to be a favourite! Home tomorrow, then off to Bucharest for another work trip in a week.

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    • Oh, I envy your travels, David. I would loved to have had that opportunity. But I can’t complain. I never thought I’d ever get to see Paris and I did and am so grateful. Thank you for reading my story and for you comment. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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