1110. Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history… ~Anne Rice

Even the pigeons are dancing, kissing,
going in circles, mounting each other.
Paris is the city of love, even for the birds.
~Samantha Schutz

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Paris in Spring
The city’s all a-shining
Beneath a fickle sun,
A gay young wind’s a-blowing,
The little shower is done.
But the rain-drops still are clinging
And falling one by one—
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time has begun.
I know the Bois is twinkling
In a sort of hazy sheen,
And down the Champs the gray old arch
Stands cold and still between.
But the walk is flecked with sunlight
Where the great acacias lean,
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And the leaves are growing green.
The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead,
There falls a dash of rain,
But who would care when such an air
Comes blowing up the Seine?
And still Ninette sits sewing
Beside her window-pane,
When it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time’s come again.
~Sara Teasdale

https://youtu.be/9Od4TJYxjgk

Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. ~Psalm 31:21  ✝

**Art.com image found on Pinterest

966. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Paris is a place where just walking down a street
that I’ve never been down before
is like going to a movie or something.
Just wandering the city is entertainment.
~Wes Anderson

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Every time I look down on this timeless town
Whether blue or gray be her skies
Whether loud be her cheers or whether soft be her tears
More and more do I realize
That I love Paris in the spring time
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Paris, why oh, why do I love Paris?
Because my love is there.
~Excerpted lyrics
by songwriters Blondy, Alpha

I ran across this image of Paris last night on Pinterest, and the splendor of it brought into the foreground of my mind once again why, like the song above says, I love Paris every moment of the year. The river is the beautiful Seine. Over the two bridges in the foreground on the Île de la Cité is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris with its renowned flying buttresses. In the background I see the top of the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, the permanent home for 8 of Monet’s water lily murals as well as works by Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, and others. Behind that I see the top of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. And these are only a few of the things that so long ago made captive my heart. Gertrude Stein once said that the US was her country and that Paris was her home. I instantly understood how she felt. Glad am I that the Lord who delights to give us the desires of our hearts is  faithful to His promises for twice now He has granted me the opportunity to spend time in the magical place that is the city of Paris. Ooh la la! Je t’adore Paris!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. ~Psalm 36:5  ✝

949. You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person. ~Alec Waug

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of
a bridge and lean over to watch the
river slipping slowly away beneath you,
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
~From WINNIE THE POOH by A.A. Milne

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What is it, I wonder, that makes one fall in love with a place without ever having been there? Was it because I was born before the world lost all its innocence, or because I was naïve from having lived a sheltered existence in my young, formative years, or because I’m a dreamer and a romantic who loves fairy tale stories with happy endings, or because at 13 I saw a movie with William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, and Audrey Hepburn and fell in love with the place of magical bridges, glorious sunsets, and a beautiful river? Or is it because I fell in love at 18 with a song bearing a French title and written by a French singer/songwriter? Or because I’ve always loved art and sculpture and beauty, and the place I fell for is a paragon of those things? Or because I studied the French language in school and fell in love with the sounds of the words and the pictures in my text books? Or because I read a novel by Earnest Hemingway and fell in love with him and the city he adored and wrote about? Or is it all those things, especially when seen through the eyes of a sentimental, perhaps even sappy, free-spirited, hopeful, love junkie? Mais bien sûr, oui, oui, et oui!!!

Paris, it is you of whom I speak, and I’m that girl/woman that for more than 50 years has had an ongoing love affair with you, an affair I might add that started half a century before I ever met you in person. And now that I have spent time on two different occasions in your confines, I’m more in love with you than ever. An ex-student and fellow blogger, Victo(Behind the White Coat) at https://doctorly.wordpress.com, partially described my feelings when he wrote that “Sometimes you go to a city and it becomes a part of you. Then you go back and you feel as if you are now, somehow, a part of it.” The only difference is that you became both a part of me and I a part of you at the same time, and I will forever hold you close and dear to my heart. I may shed tears now for your recent tragedy, but I will always celebrate with joy and a smile your grandeur that yet stands in place. And I shall lift you up daily in prayers for safety.

But let all who take refuge in you(Lord) be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. ~Psalm 5:11  ✝

**Images found on Facebook and Pinterest

945. Darkness has befallen the beautiful city of lights. Let us pray…

I am heartbroken tonight at what has happened in Paris. I pray that the Lord would comfort the families of those who have been senselessly slaughtered or wounded, that He would heal the wounded and return them to health and wholeness, that He would protect all the responders who are trying to bring an end to the carnage and care for the victims, that He would give leaders, authorities, and enforcers the strength and fortitude to face what lies ahead in the days to come, and that He would put His hand of blessing and safekeeping over Paris, all its citizenry, and the entire country of France. May there be no more heinous crimes against humanity therein. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10   ✝

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821. I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. ~Claude Monet

I perhaps owe having
become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

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For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right,
since its appearance changes at every moment;
but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life –
the light and the air which vary continually.
For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere
which gives subjects their true value.
~Claude Monet

My favorite artist has always been Claude Monet who was the founder of French Impressionist painting. And so while we were in Paris, we took a bus tour to Giverny where in 1890 the artist  bought a house and land. Later he added a greenhouse and a second studio. The artist remained the architect of his massive gardens at Giverny even after he hired seven gardeners to whom he wrote daily instructions, precise designs and layouts for the plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases. Then in 1893, he purchased additional land with a water meadow and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds and a Japanese bridge, subjects of his best known works. Although, I expected his gardens to be gorgeous, that doesn’t even begin to describe what could well have been a model of the original Garden of Eden or what Heaven might look like. So over the next few days, I want to share with you some of the things I saw that day. Enjoy!

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. ~Genesis 2:8  ✝

772. I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace. ~Natalie Lloyd

Paris, ooh la la–
I’ve seen your, beauty,
and you belong to me now…
~Last 2 two lines are adapted excerpt
by Ernest Hemingway

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La Vie En Rose
I hold you close and oh so fast
because of a magic spell you cast.
Such is “la vie en rose.”

When I think of you heaven sighs,
and though I close my eyes,
I can see again “la vie en rose.”

Then as I hold you in my dreams,
I’m once more in a world apart,
A world where roses forever bloom it seems.

When at last you come into view, angels sing above
and everyday words turn into songs of love.
It is then I feel the rhythm of your “heart and soul”
and life again becomes “la vie en rose.”
~Adapted lyrics of this song as sung
by Louis Armstrong

The top map in the photo is of the area in Paris that encompasses the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Pont Alexandre bridge and a few other landmarks you may recognize.  The photos beneath it are ones I took when we in Paris 2 years ago. (I took the one of James while he was resting on the grounds near the Eiffel Tower.) The bottom map is a blown up section of the upper map and the red sign is the location of our hotel, between the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Alexandre bridge. As you can see it is also only a block and a half from the Seine. I’m so excited: we leave for “home” two weeks from today.

Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars. ~Job 22:12  ✝

767. I think our dreams are held in safe-keeping within our souls, and when fulfilled, tears are the happy release of the “minding.” ~Masked Native at: http://maskednative.com/

There is sacredness in tears.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief,
irrepressible joy,
deep contrition,
and unspeakable love.
~Adapted quote
by Washington Irving

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I want to start off by thanking all of you who read the daily installments of my personal saga about Paris as well as those of you who took the time to comment about my story. I didn’t realize that walking back through the years to tell about the events that lead up to our trip in 2013 and the one we’ll be making again soon, would bring about a kind of catharsis which ultimately defined and released long held emotions about things in my past.

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However, now I realize more than ever how important it is that people share their personal stories, the things that make us who and what we are, not only for the impact they’ve had and continue to have on us, but also because others may find release, healing, encouragement, assurances, etc. in our narratives. We are, after all, a composite of everything that happens to us as well as the resulting influence of all those who cross our paths.

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Several years ago I ordered some morning glory seeds from a catalog, and another packet of a different kind of morning glories was thrown in as a bonus. However, that bonus package got lost at the bottom of my seed-storage box until I discovered it again earlier in spring. So I sowed the seeds, “et voilà,” here it is. Isn’t it lovely? I’ve never seen a morning glory like this one, but I think I’m falling in love with its cute, pink and white curlicues.

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Although in France they don’t associate the color pink with the city of Paris, imagery around the turn of the last century (the Belle Époque) as well as later images in the media and Paris-themed feminine merchandise, the color pink does continue to be associated with Paris elsewhere in the world. So I’m calling this frilly little pink posy my “Parisienne Glory,” and I pray that it blesses your eyes. Love, Natalie

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝