We finished our honeymoon in Paris. It was the first time either of us had been there, so we packed in as many crêpes, baguettes, and glasses of Bordeaux as we could handle. We stayed in Oscar Wilde’s old room at a hotel in the Left Bank and eagerly tackled such destinations as the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, and Eiffel Tower. You know when your favorite football team wins a big game and thousands of fans rush the field? Multiply that by 10 and double it, and that’s half as many people that we competed with to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. But we saw her. We watched An American in Paris and Paris When It Sizzles, played countless games of iPad Scrabble, and walked enough daily miles to justify our Nutella consumption. And since Jean-Pierre Jeunet is my husband’s favorite filmmaker, we made a pilgrimage to Montmarte to trace the steps of the movie Amélie. This included visiting the Gare d’El Est train station, Café Les Deux Moulines, and Au Marche De La Butte. Along the way, we saw the Moulin Rouge, Renoir’s apartment, and the Flamme De La Libterté memorial to Lady Diana. We went to the city of Reims, 80 miles east of Paris, to tour famed champagne house Veuve Clicquot. Its labyrinthine cellar takes up 24 miles of space beneath the Notre-Dame cathedral and was built 800 years ago.
It was chilly in the City of Light, but only literally. After years of hearing about the French population’s distaste for Americans (and for any other nationalities other than French) I was impressed by how warmly we were treated by everyone with whom we made contact. That whole thing truly is a myth. There’s a bridge connecting the Louvre and the Left Bank where lovers fasten padlocks and toss the keys into the Seine as a sign of everlasting devotion. As much as our newly wedded selves wanted to partake in such a badass ritual, we didn’t know where to find the nearest Lowe’s to buy a lock. So we simply memorized the moment, fastening every step of our journey deep into our minds. In Scrabble, “love” is a mere seven-point word, but in Paris it hits the jackpot.