Monday, February 27, 2012


I have this dream vacation in my mind.  And, I might be a little frightened to actually take that vacation, because, what if it didn’t turn out as well as I imagine?  I would be terribly disappointed.  Wouldn’t you?

Shall I tell you what my dream vacation is?  It is a lovely dream.  For me.

I would wake up in a small hotel in Paris.   Narrow street.  Balcony.  White muslin curtains on the French doors.  Mediterranean  tiles on the floor, white walls.  There would be an old iron bedstead, cushioned with a deep feather mattress; soft, white bedding; squishy, inviting pillows.

It would be old, but lovely, smelling of wood and plaster.  The bathroom would have a large, inviting slipper tub, with a hand held shower and thick white towels on the bars.

I would be there in the late spring, early summer, before the weather gets too hot.  A light breeze would ruffle the curtains as I lay in my bed, sun streaming through the doors, contemplating what I wanted to do that day.

And what would I do?  Well, it’s Paris?  I would wander.  I would lose myself in the maze of streets.  Peek in the windows of small shops.  Eat French cheese with abandon.  And croissants.  And baguettes.  Oh, the food.  The gorgeous smell of fresh baked bread.  The musty, moldy smell of well aged cheese.  And the chocolate.  The deep, rich, fruity scent of real chocolate.

Then, I would find my way to the Louvre to indulge in the art.  To be sure, the Louvre would take days and days to get through.   This is my dream vacation, right?  I have endless days if I want them.

I would watch the sunset from le Tour Eiffel.  I have done this, you know.  And it is glorious.  As amazing and romantic as one might expect.

I went to Paris once.  It was…not what I had expected or hoped for.  It was hot.  It was the Paris Open and there were so many people there.  But there were incredible moments.  One I remember in particular has always been one of my favourite memories of France. 

Shall I tell you?

My friends and I had to split up to get a place to stay.  A and I went to a very nice hostel, but they only had room for two of us.  So B and ML found a place at a small hotel.  In the morning, after breakfasting on baguettes, jam , fresh fruit and hot cocoa, A and I went to find B and ML.  They were several streets away in an old, old building.  We had no idea what room they were in and there was no one at the front desk.  Not knowing what else to do, I stood in the street and shouted B’s name.  A few moments later, the shutters on the second floor were flung open and my lovely friend leaned out, her long brown hair swinging across her face to shout “Bon Matin!”  It was lovely, delightful.  So perfect;  an old, plastery, whitewashed building, with dark wood shutters and my beautiful friend framed in the window.  I laughed and wished I had a better camera.

Later that night, after sunset on the Eiffel Tower, the two girls went back to the hotel, tired, hot and cranky.  A and I decided we weren’t quite ready for bed, yet.  After all, we were in Paris!  So, we went to the park across from and under the Eiffel Tower and lay down on the cool grass, shoes off, breeze blowing through our skirts, just relaxing.  The lights on the Tower came on, the city came to life.  And we lay there and watched. 

Then, of course, we got the clever idea to go dip our legs into the fountain at the Palais de Chaillot.  That was a mistake.  The water was green and there were a few plastered French boys hanging about who tried to push us in.  Sort of ruined the mood.  So, we went back to our hostel.

But, back to my dream vacay.  It would involve walking down the Champs Elysees, appropriately attired, naturally.  Because, you know, there are different clothing requirements depending on the activity at hand.  Of course, in my dreamy hotel room, whilst deep in slumber, I would be wearing a soft, white gown of cotton lawn.  Very old fashioned.  For wandering about the Louvre and down the Champs Elysees, something black and narrow.  Cigarette pants.  A well-fitted button down shirt.  My hair cascading down my back in auburn waves.  And sunglasses, of course.  With a brightly coloured handbag and French flats.  Do you see it?  Are you there with me?  It would be lovely, would it not?

Later, I would climb the steps of Sacre Coeur and take in the view, following it with an exquisite French dinner in a small café.  Then perhaps an open air concert in le Jardin des Tuileries.  After, back to my small hotel for a long, hot bubble bath and bed.  This time with the evening air ruffling the white muslin curtains and the stars shining in my window.

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