"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke (©julenisse/Fotolia)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Is Paris truly the City of Romance? It all depends on who you're with.


                                      (Washington Post Illustration/iStock images)

The first time I went to Paris, I was a newlywed. The last time, I was a mother. Both times, I was disabused of any notion that Paris is the most romantic city on earth.
When my husband John and I went to Paris two years into our marriage, I thought it would be like a “real” honeymoon, our first having been just two gray days in Chicago.
For weeks leading up to our departure, I hummed a calliope of French movie themes while slow motion pictures flickered through my mind: John and I strolling hand in hand along the Seine… gazing into each other’s eyes, whispering Je t’aime over romantic dinners in candlelit bistros… sipping champagne atop the Eiffel Tower as the sun set and the city lights twinkled below. In every scene, I wore a little black dress. My lips were pouty, plump and red, and my hair was swept into an elegant chignon. I weighed 15 pounds less and glided down the Champs Elysees in an ethereal cloud of Chanel No. 5.  
I awoke from my reverie when reality wacked the needle on the imaginary record player in my head. The theme from A Man and a Woman scratched to an abrupt halt and my fantasy film snapped and flopped round and round on the reel like a broken projector in a discount movie house. 
In my Paris directorial debut, I’d forgotten about a major character: I’d left my mother-in-law on the cutting room floor. 

This story also appeared in the Chicago Tribune June 1, 2017

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