Life can be quite lovely

Gargoyles on Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris -  Crumbs de Vie

The ever-watching gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris held a chilly glint as I wandered the narrow alleys of the Marais. Perhaps because the cold winter winds have finally begun to whip around the city’s tight corners, or because the once festive Christmas decorations wait unlit to be removed from their perches, or because the city seems a bit empty without its inhabitants, many of whom are nestled in their country homes for the holidays. But perhaps this glint is instead due to the realization that I’ll be leaving Paris in just a month and the inevitable reflection that accompanies the start of a new year.

So reflect we shall. 2013 has been a year filled with both familiar comforts and new adventures. My family has grown even closer despite our physical distance. There were countless bouts of laughter and reflective conversations with old cohorts. My long-time goal of living in Paris was realized and accompanied with delightful new friends and delicious new food. While three months ago, I could stammer through only a few sentences in French, I’ve just returned from my Christmas holiday, having spoken only French for three days. I’ve biked through glaciers with my sister, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with my parents, eaten scones, ice cream sandwiches, and far too many cupcakes with friends, sung at Carnegie Hall and with Andrea Bocelli, lunched with one of my real-life inspirations, the Countess of Romanones, and truly enjoyed my work and coworkers. Certainly, I have much to be grateful for.

Locks on the Pont de l'Archevêché, Paris - Crumbs de Vie

Locks on the Pont de l’Archevêché

So after watching the sun set over Paris with the gargoyles of Notre Dame, I fastened my own lock to the Pont de l’Archevêché as a memory of my time in Paris and walked home along the Quai de la Seine, listening to the lapping waves of the river on its banks. I was reminded of the words a wise friend had told me the day before, “When you pay attention, life can be quite lovely.” How true, indeed. Here’s to 2014!

Quai de la Seine, Paris - Crumbs de Vie

A view of the Quai de la Seine

From Museums to Markets

Flowers at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Flowers at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

After a busy week which included an exclusive exhibition visit at the Louvre and a delicious cooking class at L’atelier des Chefs (which paraded as a work event), last weekend passed as any good weekend should, with good friends and food. A friend and I ventured to Le Marais, where we followed a gloriously lengthy brunch with a stroll through Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. Here, locals clustered at small outdoor tables enjoying the market’s varied Mediterranean fare while the indoor stands displayed flaky piles of honey-steeped pastry, overflowing buckets of hydrangeas and roses, and stacks of vintage black and white photos.

Photos at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Vintage photos at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

After a gelato stop (rule: there’s never a reason to not stop for gelato) and brief visit to the beautifully restored Paroisse Saint-Paul – Saint-Louis, I walked home along the Seine as dusk began to fall. The trees along the path were lit happily with Christmas lights and the Eiffel Tower burst into its first sparkle of the evening as I passed. I was so distracted by the beauty of the city that it was two hours later when I realized I was far past my turn and halfway to Portugal. I scurried to the nearest metro to make it home in time for the night’s Skype dates.

The Eiffel Tower at Night

A view of the Eiffel Tower from the Right Bank