Paris Dreaming

It's hot, sunny and beautiful here. And Paris is still on my mind. 

Sitting in a cafe of Northern California, thankful to be out of the heat, I took a break from work to scroll through Facebook. I follow a lot of Paris info and photo accounts- either there's an explosion of activity from my friends overseas of my friends on this side of the Atlantic are all having quiet days, because the pictures of Paris outnumbered friend-posts 2 to 1. It was lust inducing...wanderlust. 

Mama Loves Paris has a new blog post about an interactive kid-friendly science museum, La Cite des Sciences. It's the largest science museum in Europe, and has a planatarium AND a green house. I haven't bought my plane ticket to Paris yet and I'm already geeking out over the prospect of being there. 

Personally, I'm uncomfortable in crowds. So uncomfortable I actually plan my life aorund doing everything at non-peak times. Sunday brunch? Sure! Let's get there at 7 am! Go to a carnival? Great, is it open on Monday at 2pm? So it's no surprise that when I'm thinking "Paris," I'm also thinking "off-season." 

Paris has held a solid place in the top ten of Most Visited Cities in the world for decades, and that doesn't look like it's about to change any time soon. Even in the aftermath of terrorism, the French insistance on good living, fearless living, attracts people in droves. I once read a description of European cities in contrast to American cities. Forgetting all but one line, this has stayed with me: Paris remembers itself. 

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photo via flickr.com user Moyan_Brenn

There is something inexplicable and stable about being abroad, about the cities and even villages of France. For me at least, life seems to make more sense surrounded by things made to last. Here's a fun fact: American building code asks builders to maintain a standard that home structure lasts for 30 years. In France, places are built to last 300 years. They live with an assumption of longevity, connected to past and future generations. Even as a tourist, you can feel the difference. 

So I'm looking at October or Novemeber for my next trip. I'm looking at an off-season, but not so far off the weather is terrible. Even in Paris there are grey, rainy, cold days. I'd like to see the trees in brilliant fall colors, wear a trench coat while walking around town, maybe carry an umbrella for a few days. 

No matter when it is, it'll be Paris. Paris is always a good idea.