Monday, April 6, 2020

The First Time I Saw Paris

Annamaria on Monday

Paris was my first city abroad.  David had proposed a trip to Europe, just as - a year and a half later - he would propose marriage, between Exits 11 and 12 on the New Jersey Turnpike.

We flew Icelandic Air: $99 round trip to Luxembourg.  I carried the guide book above and a copy of this:

Having seen Jean-Luc Goddard's Weekend, we were prepared for the long line of traffic once we crossed the border into France.

David was the driver; I was the navigator.  At one point, following my trusty Micheline map, I said, "Okay, go four more blocks and make a left over a bridge."  I was totally unprepared for where I would find myself.  There to my right was the dome of Notre Dame.  "The flying buttresses!"  I started to shout over and over.  My ability to navigate went out the window for several minutes.  We did find our hotel eventually.

Having never crossed the Atlantic, I was also not prepared for jet lag.  So when we woke up, on July 14 our first day in Paris, it was already noon.  We saw only the remnants of the Bastille Day parade.

We spent the next four days drinking it all in, legendary sights that need no introduction.  Here is how they (and I) looked in 1973:

Another thing I was unprepared for was the weather.  I brought
clothes I though appropriate for mid-July, not knowing that Paris
is not balmy in summer.  I put on just about everything I had with
me every single day, and I still felt chilly.  

"The flying buttresses!"

In the ensuing years, we returned to Paris many times.  Most recently, in January 2009 to see a fabulous Mantegna retrospective at the Louvre and experience the City of Lights when it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit.


My beloved Notre Dame was still whole in 2009

We were able to visit the creche and enjoy the murals of the
Life of the Virgin, that I have been so worried about of late.

Not the souvenir above, but a more up-to-date version of
the Michelin Guide in David's Pocket

Come with me to Paris without leaving home.   With the best possible guide.  We leave tomorrow! 

I offer you these memories of mine at a time when traveling anywhere, any time soon, has become impossible.  But I hope that I have whet your appetite for Paris.  A fabulous vicarious trip awaits us with the release of Cara Black's latest.  As many wonderful imaginary trips to Paris as I have taken with Cara and her series detective Aimee Leduc, I am salivating for her book that launches tomorrow, which she will then tell you all about it right here.  If like me you want to know now, go here .  My copy is pre-ordered because I cannot wait to go back to Paris AND back in time.   

A spy thriller in occupation era Paris written by the masterful Cara Black!  My copy can't get here soon enough.  


PS: A weekly reminder of whom we have to thank in these difficult days:


  1. Wonderful memories, and pictures.

    1. Thank you, Jamie. I didn't know at the time how important it is to make memories. It has become clearer and clearer as time goes by. Making sweet memories is essential to happiness - at the moment we make them and forever after.

  2. wow Annamaria I love that pant suit! it's wonderful that you kept your photos! what cherished memories! thank you so much for the shout out - and your kind words!

    1. My pleasure, Cara. The pantsuit was washable! A must in those days of strict-budget travel for us. The rest of my attire was pretty much my hippie attire. David had a Fu Man Chu mustache! My copy of Three Hours in Paris is due to me tomorrow and going to the TOP of the pile.

    2. I was going to mention he pant suit too, Sis. I'd always wondered what happened to it once it disappeared from my closet. I think I still have the matching hat somewhere. :) Viva la France and "Three Hours in Paris."