My Mother ever since she was a girl always wanted to see Paris. With the heart of an artist, the fertility of a bunny rabbit, and frugality of a depression era child, she never made it happen, until now. Actually, Auntie Good Times made it happen—god bless her! See? We don’t call her that for nothin’.
The two of them spent 8 days in Paris last week on a tour that anyone who loves fashion, fragrance, haute couture, and sewing would die go on. They toured a place that makes silk flowers from actual silk for the Haute Couture fashion designers: each made by hand, petals curled just the right amount to appear as though the flower has had just enough time to open precisely to the point of perfection, and dyed in the ombre technique like the monochromatic progression of a strip of paint colors moving from light to dark.
They went to a Museum of Haute Couture (forgive me for not knowing its name) and saw some of the finest, strangest and most artistic one-of-a-kind handmade garments from the premier designers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Speaking of, they drank champagne with the ladies that worked in Karl Lagerfeld’s store while they perused his line. Montmartre was also on the agenda, as it has a great fabric market among other things like The Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
The foie gras and wine flowed along with spectacular coffee and caramel soufflé, and lord knows what other wonderful dishes that would show up on the Michelin star registry. A tour of Giverny Gardens and Monet’s estate was a must and certainly failed to be nothing short of marvelous with its tulips in bloom, famous Japanese bridge over the lily pond, and mating season of the bullfrogs. Apparently they were as romantic as our preconceived notions of Paris.
Then there were the absolutes on the bucket list of Paris like drinking champagne atop the Eiffel Tower, witnessing that is the beauty and miracle of Notre Dame, and touring the Louvre in an afternoon (which I am told would truly take a month to see it all.) I guess the Dutch Masters aren’t as popular as let’s say… Da Vinci! It was like Manhattan at rush hour to try to view the Mona Lisa in her 18” by 24” splendor (or thereabouts)-just a sea of heads—she must have looked like an 8” by 10” from their vantage point. That would be hard for me to enjoy myself, which sucks, since as an artist, I would like some time in peace to view these masterpieces, but alas, I am not the only one, I suppose.
Besides the multitude of memories, nuances and moments that are captured in Kathy’s and my mother’s memories that I couldn’t possibly convey here, and the that miniscule detail that is me retelling their story and having no experience of any of these things myself, the thing that I took away the most was their experience with the Parisians themselves. Everyone was gracious, kind and amiable, contrary to the nonsense we have been spoon fed in America by the media, and people who “choose” to have negative experiences. My mom walked out of a restaurant after being served by a delightful waiter, and overheard him saying “I just love Americans!” So here is to you, France and all of your lovely people! Thanks for being such wonderful hosts and hostesses to my 79 year old mother while she realized a lifelong dream! I look forward to that magical experience of my own, when I kick my children out of the nest!