Of all the destinations on my 30 Before 30 list, Paris is the place I was most looking forward to going. How cruelly ironic, then, that after returning from dinner on the evening of our arrival Easter weekend I fell ill with a flu-induced fever. Most of my first night was spent in a fitful sleep next to my husband. Most of his night was spent putting cool towels on my forehead and generally being too worried to sleep.
The next morning The Man went out early and returned with Ibuprofen from the pharmacie and chocolate-filled croissants from the boulangerie. This combination did the trick, and by that afternoon we were finally ready to walk the streets of Paris.
And walk we did. We walked to Notre Dame and strolled along the Seine, through narrow streets and jostling crowds. Past men selling crepes and guitarists selling sound. Over bridges, through the Louvre, underneath the Eiffel Tower. Past a phone booth where a woman slept with her child.
This was my first trip to Paris; my husband's second. He was very excited to show it off to me. "I want you to see this church. That park is really cool. Oh, and we can't leave without seeing this..." He couldn't stop pointing out little architectural details (or checking my forehead for signs of fever).
As we made our way through the City of Light, I found myself reconciling the myth of Paris with the reality of it. I decided that French women are no more beautiful or stylish than, say, women in LA. And most Parisians weren't as rude as I'd heard they were.
But seeing it all with my husband reminded me that one cliche' absolutely rang true: Paris really is for lovers.