The first time I traveled to France, I fell in love. Hard. Completely. Head first into an all consuming affair of the heart. I still remember the ethereal feeling, the inner twist of emotion that reached deep into my soul and bonded me, enslaved me, to love. But it wasn’t a handsome Frenchman who stole my heart…it was Paris, that wickedly wonderful city. I was helpless to resist the mystical temptation. My romantic heart was captured forever.
Somehow, within forty square miles, Paris encompassed everything for which my passionate soul yearned. Art, music, architecture, cuisine, fashion: the city overflows with every form of refined culture imaginable, all in one place, north of the Louvre, south of the Seine, adjacent to the Eiffel Tower, or just beyond the Arc de Triomphe.
I didn’t speak a word of the language, was lost more than I was found, and saw everything through the eyes of one fascinated with the world. Yes, it was love in the truest form.
The years have passed, but the allure of France remains. My sights have broadened offering me a larger vision, as if Paris lent me a key and opened a new world. Now I enjoy every city I visit, not only when I return to my first love. I appreciate the quiet beauty of Normandy and the subtle grace of Mont Saint Michel, the opulent decadence of Versailles, and the fragrant landscape of Provence. I’ve acquired an appreciation of France on another more visceral level, so different from my first crush.
Locations affect people in different ways. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many destinations, but nothing will replace the charming impact of Paris. Have you had a similar experience? Your favorite place may be a local beach or a faraway island, but the impression and emotion it evokes is personal. Do you still return to the same vacation spots or enjoy exploring somewhere new? I’d love to hear about your travels.