Although I’ve never lived in Paris, I have an interesting history of visits to this glorious city. My most recent time here was in 2009, and my son Eric had never been here, so it was about time for another trip! My family and I had very enthusiastically planned a spring break trip here … departing on March 19, 2020. We booked five nights at a hotel in the 7th Arrondissement, and were counting down the days, certain that the unfolding virus crisis would, at most, require us to take additional measures during our visit …
Fast forward four scary, lonely, frustrating months. Some time last July, I said to David, “If the world has reopened enough by this time next year, why don’t we get out of the country for a whole month? You could work from there if needed, and we could really get to experience the town or city.” So instead of the original five days we’d planned on being in Paris last year, we are here for four weeks this year. I mean why not, right?
I scoured the internet for apartment rentals, filtering my search to ones that permitted cancellation with a full refund up until July 2021. Other criteria included two bedrooms, a bit of local character, and washer & dryer. I wanted to be within a mile or less from the Seine. Also, we tried looking for a place with air conditioning: Lol, NO, at least not within our budget. (I also watched House Hunters International. Like, a lot.)
In the end, I reserved a surprisingly (suspiciously?) affordable top-floor flat on a small side street in the 2nd Arrondissement, and we all spent the following twelve months alternating between bracing for disappointment and embracing timid optimism, while weighing our risk tolerance and commitment to safety constantly, too.
We followed the news, read multiple French government sites for guidelines, and double and triple checked that we had everything we needed to enter France responsibly during their restricted reopening, and still cautioned ourselves and each other against getting too excited. We gave ourselves plenty of time during our connection in Newark, and as soon as an airline employee arrived behind the counter at our gate, we went over and showed him our electronic boarding passes along with all the documents we’d prepared. Good thing, too, because he then gave us a printed boarding pass, on which he wrote OK, and this turned out to be required for boarding. Sure enough, plenty of passengers hadn’t completed this step, and during boarding, they were all sent back to the counter to obtain their OK’d printout. Now, you’ve heard of unruly air travelers being especially bad this year, right? Yep, well, we saw a few very angry folks not being their best selves in that moment, yelling at the boarding attendant because of this.
Nevertheless, we couldn’t believe how smooth everything had otherwise been so far for us. So when departure was delayed after we were already on the plane, we went “Yep, this is where they cancel the flight!” It literally wasn’t until takeoff that we believed fully that we were at long last, on our way to Paris. We still prepared for many hurdles upon arrival at Charles De Gaulle, but it turned out to be a piece of cake, or I should say gâteau.
We have now settled well into our home away from home, and are recovering from jetlag. Grateful hearts and beauty at every turn help a lot. I am sitting at this window beside our kitchen table as I write this. Grateful heart indeed.Share this: