I love Paris and France and everything about it: The imagery it conjures, the food, the culture, the wine, the fashion! Every woman who loves any of these things has a love affair with Paris, after all, who wouldn’t want to dance beneath the Eiffel Tower, whilst sipping Champagne and nibbling Macarons during Fashion Week?
Hyperbole aside, it’s a city whose attractions and as numerous as they are spectacular, I have been in love with the city for as long as I can recall.
Except, I’ve never actually been.
We’re star crossed lovers, Paris and I, destined to find comfort within one another’s arms, which if you remember this post I was going to be doing for my birthday this year, Ben and I having planned a week away!
Well, due to me starting a new job, and the fact Ben and I moving, we have decided to postpone our adventure to Paris until we have a better idea of what exactly is going on in our lives (i.e. where we’ll be living in a months time!). It’s a decision we didn’t take lightly, and was discussed over several days and throughout several conversations. We realised that at the end of the day, although we had already booked flights, we simply couldn’t go – the logistics just weren’t going to work out.
We had bought the tickets in January when they were on sale, when conditions at the time were a lot different to what they are now, but thankfully we’re not going to be losing much money by cancelling our trip. Times changed and therefore our plans had to also, and it’s just one of those things in life that happens.
The interesting, or maybe funny, or perhaps even annoying thing about having to cancel our Paris trip is the fact this is the third time I have booked tickets to Paris and not been able to go.
It has been a different reason each time why I haven’t been able to explore the city I love, and at this point I am starting to think Paris simply doesn’t love me back, and doesn’t want strutting down its streets, exploring it’s beauty.
So why haven’t I made it to Paris in my lifetime? What happened those first two times that prevented my vacation and shopping sprees? Why is it so difficult for our love to be?
It was May 2014 and I had spent the past two and a bit weeks exploring Scotland, Wales and now London. Everyday I was on foot, in my little ballet flats, discovering this, buying that, and taking photographs of everything (i.e. food) because that’s what tourists do.
For my birthday however, I had a daytrip to Paris planned, catching the Eurostar back and forth, costing me a small fortune. Two days before hand, I had curated the perfect outfit for the day and had planned the perfect day that took me from café to architecture to markets – I was excited, I was keen, and then the next day I woke up in pain.
One thing I may not have mentioned previously on this blog is a weird condition I have with my legs and hips. Growing up doing all sorts of dance, including ballroom and ballet, meant that my leg muscles developed differently to most kids who don’t dance. As a teenager it was great as it meant I found transitioning to heels incredibly easy, and since then I have never really given them up, but otherwise it kinda sucks.
But what this penchant for heels and strange leg muscle issue means is that if I wear flat shoes for too long my legs end up in complete. utter. agony. Remember above when I said I’d been wearing flats for the past two-ish weeks?
The day before Paris I woke up in pain, the muscles in my legs cramping severely. I tried to walk it off (in my flats, because I’m not always at my cleverest) but found I couldn’t walk more than 10 minutes without having to stop and rest. That day I ended up only walking through London for an hour before limping back to my hotel room, and soaking my legs in a hot bath. I recognised the cause of the pain immediately, of course, and cursed my lack of foresight. I had brought comfy wedge shoes to wear around, to prevent this from happening, but I simply had forgotten to wear them.
Being unable to walk even 10 minutes without needing a break, and having muscles that ached beyond compare, it meant I had to cancel my trip to Paris. There was no way I could have my day trip whilst in such pain, and even though I had heels I could wear, it’d take 2-3 days of wearing nothing but the heels, walking painfully as I did so, in order to stretch the muscles back into place.
So, instead of going to Paris for my birthday, I limped through London in a pair of wedge heels, and got Bubble Tea and a burger for lunch with a Friend.
It wasn’t Paris, it wasn’t love, but it was still pretty fun.
I moved to London in January 2015, where I stayed in a hotel for a month. This wasn’t the initial plan, at all, to stay in a hotel. In fact, I was meant to stay with a friend I had known online for 13 years, sleeping in their spare room in Angel for 2-3 weeks until I got a job and could find a place to live.
Part of this plan also included a weekend in Paris with said friend, and an additional mutual friend who was in London for work from America. We had all been laughing at the jokes this adventure would lend itself to – An Australian, an American and an Englishman go to Paris: insert punchline here.
This was all planned, booked and paid for in the December, and after I had booked my flights and trains, I emailed my London friend to confirm.
What happened over the following few days meant that I chose to stay in a hotel (in Notting Hill, no less) for the duration rather than even ever meet London Friend. The events of those few days also meant our mutual American friend didn’t want to meet London Friend. In fact, a lot of people told London Friend he was a bit of a git, and needed to get his act together.
But what has this got to do with Paris?
Well, those events meant that I didn’t feel even remotely comfortable meeting London friend, let alone spend a weekend in Paris with him. So… I had to cancel my trip to Paris. My tickets were non-refundable, I couldn’t transfer them, and my travel insurance didn’t cover me deciding not to go because of a creepy guy.
That weekend I ended up hanging out in London with the Friend from my previous failed Paris adventure instead. Wine was involved I am sure, as well as lots of curses against London Friend, and again my failed expedition to Paris.
As you can see, life keeps getting in the way of the love affair Paris and I are sure to have, should we ever meet. Maybe it is fate, maybe Serendipity is playing us for fools, or maybe destiny is laughing at us as we speak.
Either way, I will make it to Paris one day – probably by accident, mind you, but it will happen!
Unless of course, our love is simply not meant to be.
Have you ever been to Paris? Where is your favourite city escape? Let me know in the comments!