IT was summer time. My family and I wanted to go on a vacation that we would never forget because we thought it might be the last trip we would take together for a long time to come. (I was wrong because we traveled together several times after that). We considered many places and then decided on Paris. Little did I know of the wonder I would live through after that trip.
I heard Paris being described as the most charming city on earth so many times, but I had no inkling as to how charming it was. Paris was beautiful, full of art and good food, but as with most beautiful things and places, the sum is more than its parts.
My first evening in Paris turned into something like an Alice in Wonderland discovery. I stayed at home and my kids went to the Champs Elysees. When they did not come home on time, I went out looking for them. We were staying south of the River Seine in Saint Germain, not too far from the crossing bridges that would take me to the Tuileries gardens and the Champs Elysees Boulevard, so I thought the best way for me to spot them is to walk.
My heart was pounding as I worried about them, but I was surprised by one of the most magical evenings of my life. What I lived through took my breath away and its memory still does. I gave my mind a break and followed my heart and intuition as I stepped out of our apartment and went toward the riverbank. I let my feet guide me to the wonderful unknown. This turned out to be the right thing to do because to truly feel a place, we need to flow with it and let it unfold by itself, rather than have preset ideas and itineraries.
A few minutes down the road I came upon a vibrant square full of people in an array of colors, walking, looking around, sitting and eating.
There were lots of cafés and colorful small alley shops and a din of many languages spoken.
As I kept on walking, I found a group of street musicians playing for a cheering crowd and then a man throwing a small-children toy up in the air. The toy was performing stunts that drew another crowd. Then I saw Notre Dame looming on the horizon.
The night was young and I kept walking and enjoying the joyful sights until I met my children to whom I told about the beautiful places that I saw and led them to where I was able to remember.
The memory of how I got to experience Paris stayed in my heart; a memory that brings back the colors, the music, the sounds of laughter and joy; an unforgettable one in spite of all the troubles.
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