We didn't get much time to actually see Paris. When we weren't working at the expo we were cuddled warmly in our apartment with my family. We had one dinner at a friend's apartment and one dinner at my Turkish family's restaurant down the street.
We had one free afternoon where we pranced over to Galleries Lafayette, ate some macarons, tried on some lingerie, and wandered. It was enough.
It was enough because I know Paris better than I know any city in the world. Because as much as it is one of my favourite stories... my Paris story is over.
It's weird to admit. But it's almost as if when I finally finished my Paris guide book, I also finished a very long love story with Paris. I turned the last page.
For many years Paris was my hope. My escape. My romance. My something better. The place I belonged.
It was a place to wander romantically and feel like anything could happen. A place I often envisioned spending my life alone, writing, walking, dreaming, smoking cigarettes in cafes and drinking rose at sunset.
And I did that. I lived that year, those months, those many sweet and sometimes sad returns. I dated Parisians, I did Paris fashion week, I rode on the back of a moped along the Seine and visited the Musee D'Orsay when the morning light cast through the giant clock, before the hoards of tourists had arrived. I led excursions and climbed up to the top of the Eiffel tower with a group of teenagers in heels before my first coffee.
I am good.
I'm onto another chapter, a whole new book, one I am excited to write. One where I create my own romance and know the true meaning of love.
I will always return to Paris but it's no longer my answer to everything. It is a footnote to whatever will follow.
Still, this visit was good for my heart. For the human connections. The conversations. The reminder of my favourite indulgences (food, libations, and fashion, oui oui, more svp.)
Marisa and I had one last French feast at the airport, then lucked out on standby and flew home business class again with big grins and glasses of Champagne, taking as much home of Paris back with us as we could with us.
I left with enough time for a quick stopover to see my grandma in Ontario, and back to Vancouver, where I am working on my next love story. This one's set in California.