Friday, 8 June 2012

Paris I Love You

The city of cutting edge clobber. Paris and fashion = passion. The city of passion. A city for lovers. Twinkling lights and sparkling energy. Can you tell it makes me rather wistful? When Anita  invited me to her Paris Link Party, I sent her a speedy RSVP to say "Oui oui oui".

Paris is where my parents spent their honeymoon, decked out in long, woollen flared trousers. Not quite what I would call fashion but maybe it was haute couture way back in the 70s. My own love for the city goes back to my early teens.

On holiday in the south of France when I was 12,  I made friends with Dominique, an 11-year-old Parisian, and we became pen pals. We started off writing letters. Her English was better than my French but we found a way of becoming firm friends and still are to this day.


Before long we were jetting off to each other's houses on our own, the excitement cannot be described.

A young me in Paris. What a catch.....(ahem)

Dom lived with her parents and three siblings in an apartment round the corner from the Eiffel Tower.

The view from my room at Dom's apartment

The streets would smell of fried potatoes and omelettes. The humid buzz of traffic and mopeds excited me. We would spend our days wandering around, hanging out in Luxembourg Gardens watching the quirky artists. We would be enthralled by Marchello, a local character who amused us with his eccentric ways.

We would catch the metro, run around the grounds of Versailles and would return to check out the cool skater boys at Trocadero.

He was a boy, I was a girl, could I make it any more obvious
 (that he was well fit)

We would scoff more Nutella crepes than you could shake a baguette at and spend our pocket money on Naf Naf folders and notepads in Galleries Lafayette. Dom also taught me the best French swear words to shout at the top of my voice when we reached the heady heights of the Eiffel Tower.

The words she taught me from the top of here are baaaaad!

I was 15 when I was in Paris for Bastille day. I remember eating cucumbers marinaded in vinaigrette with Dom and her parents at dinner and then Dom and I went to a party with all her school friends. Late at night we all lay under the shadow of the Eiffel tower sipping Champagne and I had to pinch myself to be sure I was actually there as we watched all the glittering fireworks exploding into the night sky. Champagne and stargazing in Paris. How I wish I could relive it.

Everything we did felt sophisticated to me. The teenagers in Paris were far more switched on than those back at home. The way they ate, drank, smoked, shopped, talked...I was in awe.

I remember my last visit to Paris as a youth, when we went to the cinema to watch Schindler's List. Dom had a wide circle of friends and I sat next to Jean-Christophe, who happened to be the son of the Minister of Monaco at the time. He was older, handsome with olive skin and dark hair, slick with his fashion sense and better still, he turned up with a huge bag of foam strawberry sweets. I could feel electricity between us, I was certain his hand brushed mine on more than one occasion as we sat there in the darkness watching the film.

The colour red always springs to mind when I think of Schindler's List, for the iconic red coat worn by the little girl in the film, as well as those foam strawberries.

I thought about Jean-Christophe for the rest of the trip. Then I went home and wished I'd taken the plunge because quite frankly, dating a dish who comes from Paris and just happens to be the Minister of Monaco's son is a pretty cool prospect when you are 16.

Ten years ago, the Husband and I went back to Paris for Dom's wedding.

Jean-Christophe was there as a guest. Still gorgeous but more arrogant, he could only vaguely remember me. My romantic illusion was a little shattered, but by now, I'd already met the man of my dreams (well, other than Jon Bon Jovi, who was unavailable sadly).

Still, I moved on and we had a great few days.

Mucking around at the Pompidou Centre
Mimicking the lady on the poster...badly

In October 2010, the husband took me back to Paris again for a surprise birthday weekend. It was wonderful.

That's his sultry French look, don't you know?!

Ooh la la!

The thrill of walking around a street corner
and seeing the Eiffel Tower always thrills me

And not a hunchback in sight

We walked along the Seine late at night, hand in hand, feeling like young lovers who had only just met.

 The husband promises to take me back again sometime. And I truly hope he will, because for me Paris is the finest place on earth and nothing compares.

Enjoy the Paris Link Party held by Anita and feel the passion too.


Jackie said...

What fabulous memories. I adore Paris and definitely agree that it is indeed one of the finest places on earth :O)x

Catherine Robinson said...

What a wonderful friendship you made and so many lovely memories...I adore Paris too ;-)
I've joined the party with Anita this year, so please pop by.
Have a wonderful weekend.

fee @ chipper nelly said...

wonderful post Gem - I thoroughly enjoyed it! My parents honeymooned in Paris too - must try to find a photo before i post my homage...
fee x

YONKS said...

What a wonderful lifelong affair you have had with Paris. I loved visiting with you.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh have spoken all true memories for yourself and for ME. Each word here, I savored, and chuckled again....WOOOWOWOWOWOOOWO those GROS MOTS, there are plenty of them, and I KNOW THEM TOO!! But I never had the opportunity to shout them from the tip of the Eiffel Tower! WHAT FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What romance. When I was in Nice France, I was shopping in a FABULOUS tapestry shop whose proprietor was a darling little 89 year old man. We were chatting, EN FRANçAIS, and then he goes to the back to get something. He comes back with the most darling little tapestry pillow with a rabbit playing a harp. (I LOVE RABBITS and I play the harp. How would he know...) He handed it to me. I asked him why....he said like only a Frenchman could say it, "PARCE QUE VOUS MADAME, VOUS ÊTES ADORABLE." Dang, if I didn't swoon on the spot. GRASSE...teeehhheeee...I will save that for next year's party....

DO NOT WORRY DEAREST. THIS POST WILL STAY UP ALL WEEK! I must inform dear Mimi......I LOVE YOUR POST, YOUR MEMORIES are what we all would love to have in our diary of life. Carry on...Anita

Miss Magpie said...

I have only been to Paris once and I loved it. The downside was that the friend I was with refused point blank to eat anywhere but McDonalds. Seriously there I was in a city known for it's wonderful cuisine and I had to eat at freaking MuckyDs EVERY DAY *weeps* Best memory sitting on the viewing deck of the Eiffel Tower in the spring sunshine eating a chocolate crepe.

SarahB said...

Ooooooh fabulous post, I could almost be there!!

I too love Paris, we went briefly on the way to Disneyland Paris when the children were tiny and then Mr G took me for three days sans enfants in 2005.

It was magical, we did a nighttime river cruise, explored the Louvre and warren like flea markets and best of all drank champagne in the Moulin Rouge (so much pink!! So much glitter!! So many boobs!!)

Wonderful, am hoping to go again someday.

When can we catch up IRL?!!


S x

Karen Harvey Cox said...

I loved your story, and your photographs are wonderful. How lovely that you and your husband went back more recently. Lovely post.


Rachael said...

What great memories! I had the obligatory French pen pal during school but nothing lasted longer then about three failed attempted at letters to each other so its great to hear a pen pal story that's lasted the years. While I've been to France a couple of times I've never made it to Paris - it's certainly on the to visit list!

catkin tales said...

how funny, chipper nelly told me about your dominique and i came straight over for a read. i know a lovely dominique like this too with whom i shouted baaad words with her,haha. is there something about dominique's? the ones we know are magical for certain. i thoroughly enjoyed this post and love your blogging style. am going to follow so, will be back for more :) xx

Karena said...

This has been the most wonderful story of youth and love in Paris!! Gem if I able to travel to Paris I will be in heaven; in the meantime....

A Parisian Party
Art by Karena

Jacqueline said...

How lucky you are - what a trip to Paris you brought me on. You are so lucky to have visited it in so many stages of life - but I love the stage best with your handsome hubby and I hope you get to return many more times. We went last year for our anniversary and I said I wanted to return every year for our anniversary but that won't happen - but maybe every once in a while. Come eat a decadent breakfast with me in Paris!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Gem,thanks for sharing all of your Parisian memories...
I've only been to Euro Disney,Paris but LOVED it there,lol I'm a big kid at heart.Have a fab weekend,lots of love,xxx

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I AM BACK!!! Oh I had to go off to school this morning but now I am sitting here in my studio LOVING THIS EVENT! Gem, thank you for the LOVE LOVE LOVE....and oh yes, my arms....I WORK OUT 4 days a week, lifting! OH YEAH BABY, GOTTA KEEP FIT! It ain't over 'til it's ova.....

Have a grand time my dear....Anita

It's me said...

Welcome in Paris darling...nice to met you here....what a great party this is !! Anita.....she is such a great friend for all of us.....happy week enjoy your time here....xxxx..

Woolytales Miniatures said...

so wonderful and I love to see REAL family pictures in blogs!smiles~

Dessa Rae said...

Thank you for letting me into your life...I feel like I know you...I love your blog post, and I am glad we have this blog party to get to meet new people.

I am a follower now and I would like to invite you over to my blog to be entered in my blog giveaway.

Dessa Rae

Missy said...

How lovely that you kept in touch with Dominique and went to her wedding. It's a sweet story.
Great memories and photos.

"Create Beauty" said...

What a joy to read of your Paris adventures! And to have made a friend there all those years ago ~ and that the friendship continues, is very special.

It was fun to read about your memories as a young girl, we all have them, but most don't take place in the romantic city of Paris!

~ Violet

lostpastremembered said...

What a great story... your attraction to the city is a delight. How remarkable to keep a friendship going for so long after so many years. Loved the post.

Champagne Macarons said...

That is an amazing story and photos! How wonderful that you met a life long friend on a holiday to France.
It's nice to meet so many with the same passion for Paris and see it in a different light.
Wishing you a lovely weekend! xoxo, B

Mimi said...

OH WHAT A GLORIOUS YOUTH you had.......Oh that part of your post!!!!I could read it over and could be a MOVIE!!!!
I fell in LOVE with calls me now...I promised my 4 year old grand daughter when you are 14 AND your 8th grade graduation gift will be......WAIT for it....YES a trip to PARIS..she also Loves PARIS and screams with delight at any and every Eiffel Tower we see......I do not think I can wait 10 years....No city I have been in calls me like this....I have been to all 50 states...NYC--CHICAGO--SAN FRAN--my own Scottsdale, Az....well my state and my friend...nothing has cast a spell on me like Paris......I will return before 10 years...I must....

Victoria Sayer said...

Holy Dooly! Gem.
Wonderfully personal and so charming! Thanks for sharing your incredible memories with us.
I really really did enjoy this so much.♥

patchworkandlace said...

Ah paris what a place,its just heavenly there thankyou for sharing such lovely pictures and reminding me how lovely it is xx

DolceDreams said...

How I loved reading your love affair with Paris...Anita's party is so much fun, I am adoring meeting new friends!
a bientot,

Palomasea said...

Bonjour chere Gem!
I thank you so much for your visit chez moi...and un grand merci to darling Anita!
I love your story and your is fabulous that you have remained friends through the years...what fun and beautiful memories.
Merci, and enjoy the party..I am following you!
- Irina

Paula said...

What amazing memories you have of Paris. I have only been to France once for a weekend. The thing I remember most about it was the markets. They were amazing! Never been to Paris though it does always sound so lovely. And you write so affectionately about it too.

Thank you for my comment on my blog. The jar might of Gisela Graham. As that garden centre do stock a lot of her stuff. It was pretty.

P x

hi-d said...

What a unique post, capturing your special times in Paris both earlier as a child and then later as an adult. I really enjoyed reading this and this it's great that you are still in contact with Dominique.

Have a lovely week!

koralee said...

Your photos are beautiful and so much fun..I have never been to Paris but it is at the top of my list.
Thank you for sharing! Hugs for a great week.

xx Nicki (home bird)xx said...

Bonjour ma cherie!
Fab post, gorgeous. As you know, I LOVE Paris - I go as often as I can and never ever tire of it. I am a bit of a Francophile anyway but Parisians are the epitome of cool to me.
Aren't French kids the best for teaching the language?! I was pretty well fluent at school having done A Level French but haven't forgotten most of it, apart from the swear words and phrases which are firmly lodged in my memory! Ha ha!!
You are sooo too good for that Minister of Monaco's son.... pah. Fancy only vaguely remembering you - LOSER. Ha ha! (He does sound gorgeous, mind you.)
Have a great week.
Nicki xx

xx Nicki (home bird)xx said...

*Have forgotten most of it, not HAVEN'T. Grr. Soz, should proof read before I hit the publish button.

PS you're the only person I correct my typos with. Slightly frightened of you and your journo ability to spot a typo at 50 paces. Ha! :-) xx

Missy said...

Ladybird Books and Waxing Painted Furniture Bulletin...
Right, mrs. The books are a selection. One day soon I will take photos of them in little groups and do a ladybird book post just for you to drool over. I know I have a crochet one but I mentally lent it to a mate and it is a niggly worry now that she might nick it. I clearly remember seeing it at a boot sale and dribble running down my chin as I fell on it from afar. Before I put it in my bag, I snogged it for a while and then gazed at it lovingly in disbelief.
Waxing furniture- With the Annie Sloan paint you have to wax because it is chalkier than a very chalky thing.Think White Cliffs of Dover. If you didn't wax it would feel weird and I'm not sure it would stay on properly without wax. It looks like it would rub off easily. With eggshell or satinwood you don't need to wax unless you want to. Sometimes I have and sometimes I haven't and it doesn't make that much difference. If I were a pro and flogging stuff I probs would wax for a better finish. But as I end up keeping it all in my own gaff anyway it's only me who cares.
I've never painted anything with emulsion but I would think you would wax that, it's a bit rubby offy. I'm sure someone who's far betterer at painting than what I am will come along and put you right if I'm wrong.
Happy day, lovely!

Mary said...

What great memories you have shared. You are very connected to that grand city and France. Happy next trip there. Mary

Sarah said...

What a fun post of personal memories of Paris. I felt as if I were a teenager again seeing my favorite city in a whole new light. Friendships across the miles through the years ~ very special indeed. Loved seeing your images! Thank you for sharing. ~ Sarah

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Precious Gem!!!!

Well my dear, the party has fizzled down to a lovely memory, and I am so happy that you participated here with such fond souvenirs, to bring us yet closer to the PARIS we know and love. I will put you down for a chance to win my little paper shoe; these really are fun to make and are getting better and better all the time! Oh I am having a blast over here!!! HOPING your beach outings will be fun and I look forward to more TALES from the shore as you explore your surroundings and bring us much joy!