In the name of full disclosure, I must tell you: Paris was not included on the original itinerary for our honeymoon.
Don’t hate me, but I’ve been and while I think it’s a lovely place, it has simply never spoken to me (more less whispered sweet nothings in my ear the way it surely does to nearly every other human who visits!).
Paris gets around. She knows many lovers…but, thus far, Paris and I have had no chemistry.
My mother and father-in-law adore the city. They’ve been here a number of times and were crushed that my husband wasn’t going to experience it. So, Paris was added thanks to their loving persuasion…and, I must admit, Paris stepped up its game this time.
I love history and I’m a sucker for a great revolution story – so you’d think this glittering city would have already won my heart, but not until tonight.
Our hotel is just steps away from the famous Tuileries Gardens. Created by Catherine de Medicis, these gardens were private for a century before opening up to the public (just after the French Revolution). Now, in the 21st century: on any given day, these beautiful grounds can be enjoyed by the public for relaxation and socialization. That’s all fine and dandy…but for a few months during the summer, these peaceful gardens are turned into a wonderland that enchants the young and the old alike…
I’m like a moth to the flashing-carnival-light-flame.
I love the cheap games and the bing-bang-cling-clang noises of the rickety old rides. I think ferris wheels are charming, nostalgic and downright romantic. I dig the adrenaline rush of being scared out of my wits by a hideous clown as I get lost in the maze of mirrors in a fun house. So as we stroll out of our hotel in search of food and adventure, I squeal with delight when I spot the high-flyer spinning up above, with the Eiffel Tower twinkling behind it.
A gorgeous twist on the dirty, crowd-ridden fairs we experience each summer in the Midwest (again, not knocking them – I love them, goat auctions and all), this festival is saturated with European class - Stocked with vintage crepe carts and merry-go-rounds adorned with horses dating back to 1900!
What was meant to be a pit stop before a fancy dinner has turned into an evening of cheap French wine sipped from plastic stemware, hotdogs smothered in spicy mustard, and an array of flavored crepes – (not the least of which is a Grand Marnier crepe that I believe may leave me with a headache tomorrow!)
We throw a few bucks away playing rigged games before we get the nerve to brave the fun house. We scramble as the floor drops from beneath us and we dizzily flop forward from a spinning trap. When our path leads us to a quiet (and, in retrospect, remarkably unstable) ledge atop the fun house, we take a break from the craziness to enjoy the City of Lights lit up in all its glory in the dark night. This vantage point is lovely, we can see the carnival below and the sparkling city all around.
The only way down is through a huge, swirling slide. When we emerge from the giant tunnel, laughing hysterically, my hubby points out that the butt of my pristine white slacks is black with fun-house-grunge.
The absurdity of the evening was well worth the fashion sacrifice.
Paris has won a piece of my heart through this silly festival. I’ve met the low-key, goofy side of the city – and we are getting along swell.