I had suspected that once I visited France I would never want to leave. Nine days into my visit, it seemed as though I truly never would…
My trip began with a frenzied flurry of cathedrals and cafes, croissants and charm. Every day was a rigorously scheduled stampede past Paris’s prettiest or pleasingly grittiest spaces and places.
Striving to slot in not only the iconic museums and monuments of history but the long and lovely list of Treasury reader recommendations of shops and stylish sites as well, there were few moments in my first days in France that felt fully experienced. Fully felt.
A silvery gold brunch at Ladurée with baskets of baked bliss and pitchers of milkshake-thick hot chocolate was one of the few itinerary items I didn’t just check swiftly off of my list, but actually absorbed languidly with all my senses and my entire soul.
For anyone who carts at least three cameras to any vacation destination, it can be a tricky challenge to not simply photograph the glory of your getaway, but actually FEEL it too. I have to get better at this.
As the trip was just about to end, an ashy disaster in Iceland erupted, shutting down all European air traffic and trapping us on the far side of the ocean. Unsure of whether we would return home to Minnesota in mere days via plane, or not for three months via a sluggish U.S. Army sea vessel, we washed our clothes, mildly panicked, at a Parisian laundromat. (And accidentally laundered 10 Euros worth of Ladurée chocolate into them, to make matters worse.)
Our pressurized yet picture-perfect vacation had slammed on the breaks at last and we were forced to slow down, set the cameras aside, and look at the city not as time-strapped tourists but as lazy (temporary) locals.
For six extra and almost-agonizing days…
It may sound like I’m whining, because I totally am, but let me explain.
Of course there are way worse things than to be stranded in Paris. The city of lights is lovely, for sure – but nothing is lovelier than home. And when you can’t get there, and a volcano that last erupted for two whole years is standing in your way of ever returning, Paris transforms from the culture capital it normally is. It becomes, unfortunately, a cute but confining cage.
I’m just so very glad to be home again. I missed it, and you. I’ll share more stories and snapshots in the days ahead that showcase and celebrate France and all its non-cage-like best!