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The City of Lights

Posted in family, planning, and travel

A simple act can feel quite momentous. After months of tracking flights, we’ve officially taken the leap and purchased our airline tickets for our upcoming family trip. As the title of this second post in my wanderlust series announces, the first destination will be Paris, France.  Last year I decided to take a couple of refresher night courses in French, those who know my language skills may chuckle at this shared detail, but constant learning keeps the mind fresh!  I had also read a stack of at least a half dozen memoir books by women traveling or living in France during this same time period, one of my favorites was written by Janice MacLeod,  A PARIS YEAR: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World.  Even with her beautiful illustrations, it is hard to convey the unique experience of traveling to this stunning city.

The foreign language practice plus those personal writers stories simply got stuck inside my head. I’ve been thinking about my past adventures in the City of Lights and this lead to actually dreaming of sharing the beauty and wonders of France with my children.  In our digital age, the next step was to constantly check online travel and airline sights then let technology do the work, by setting-up price alerts for any price drops on direct flight scenarios to Paris.  Just typing this last sentence makes it seem a little obsessive, but it actually worked. When I saw the email itinerary for our flights in my inbox the morning after we’d the purchased our direct flights to Europe, it made me giddier with delight to have committed to this adventure then I could have imagined.

This will be my third trip to Paris. The first was when I was 29, single and established enough in my profession to be granted an extended vacation of three weeks to travel Europe solo. For that first trip I borrowed a back pack from a friend, arrived in the early fall via the Chunnel after a weekend exploring London with a long list of Paris attractions on my must see itinerary.  I remember many design details of this city which stood out during my first visit, that shaped how I viewed the design on the urbane landscape and interior through the present.  My next visit to Paris was with my husband of only five years at the time, taken during the winter holidays using our hard earned frequently flyer miles to explore the city together.  Bundled in warm coats, the security of romance’s embrace and nervous with excitement of the recent knowledge of my pregnancy (our future kids). The trip would become a found memory to help us through the challenges of early parenthood.

This third trip is part of our summer sabbatical and will be made up of our family of four.  Two adults; one with mid-life wanderlust, the other with professional fatigue, plus two tween middle schoolers eager to try every Parisian treat they’d been promised.  We’ve months to figure out the remaining details, of lodging, train routes, etc. but our passports and airline tickets are now in hand, making our dream of travel that much closer.


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