I’ve been sitting here for a week now, trying to decide what to write. How does one even begin to put into words the joy of returning to something that you thought was lost to you forever? I’ve typed and deleted about a hundred sentences in the last half an hour…
I thought I might never return.
From years of financial turmoil to a decade of baby-making to a milk cow to a pandemic… the odds looked slimmer and slimmer with each passing year. Eighteen of them in total since I had my little apartment on rue de la Bucherie. But earlier this year, in true, ornery Angela form, I told my husband (who, thank goodness, understands me SO WELL)… I told him if they ever opened France up again, I was buying my ticket the day they did. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. The WHOLE “Parisienne Farmgirl” business plan, after all, has to have SOMETHING to do with Paris. For heaven’s sake. It couldn’t just be a memory forever. I had shed so many tears thinking I would never get back, but action was stirring in my veins. And, woe to obstacles when the spirit moves…
Well, I was true to my word. Mid-March, that headline came across the wire. No more tests, No more health passports. I Booked my Air BnB within the hour of the news.
Returning to Paris was like reuniting with an old friend. It was as if eighteen years had never happened. My feet hit the ground walking, and I didn’t stop for ten days. (A total of 81 miles walked and 500 flights of stairs in ten days). While you won’t see their darling faces on social media or in the videos, I had the complete honor of taking my two eldest daughters with me. I may have been returning to a true love; however, I got to watch them fall in love for the first time, and it was instantaneous. My sweet girls have never even BEEN to a city, and yet the noise, pace, and chaos of this incredible metropolis didn’t phase them in the slightest. They instantly fit in and fell in love.
We rented an adorable little studio in Montparnasse. With a comfortable sofa and a glass ceiling mezzanine, and a glass rooftop that we could open and close. We dropped our bags, washed the airplane off of our faces, and set off to explore our neighborhood. I’d stayed in Montparnasse before and was anxious to show them some of their dad’s favorite places.
The visual stimuli in Paris speak to an artist’s heart. There is a posh consumer world within Paris that I will never be a part of (Trust me, it looks super fun, but there’s that pesky price range issue). But it doesn’t matter; I can consume in my own way. The well-dressed people, the architecture, and the attention to detail never escape me, and these features are there for mass consumption at every turn.
I think this is one of the reasons I love living in the country because I have a landscape to create and design, and I can arrange it in a way that pleases my eye and makes me feel at home. There is something for me to behold in each rose garden bed and while our home is still a work in progress, in each different room of our house is something beautiful for my eye to land on. And I’ve done that with intention, great intention, as a matter of fact, for I find the world distasteful, abrasive, and harsh. Creating my own little world is very important to me, and I’ve chosen to do that in a remote, Northern Wisconsin peninsula. But perhaps I feel at home in Paris because I can rest my eye on beauty just about everywhere I look.
Visiting Paris means you are stepping into someone else’s reality; you’re stepping into another culture’s idea of beauty. You are stepping into another peoples perception of how things should be done. And you will either find it a pleasant, beautiful, or intriguing difference, or you won’t. For some of us, these differences inspire us. These differences complement some of the aesthetic ideals that we have in our hearts and our minds. In other ways, they challenge us, and that challenge is incredibly motivating. It is for these people that Paris can feel like an instantaneous second home.
Paris is not for everyone. Paris is for me.
Not all who visit Paris will have such an emotional response. Not all who visit Paris want to have or need to have an emotional response. It can simply be an incredible stamp on the passport and a fond memory. But for me, Paris is a portion of me, and it’s a portion of me I didn’t know I’d get to experience again. When I arrived, I not only greeted Paris as an old friend, I greeted a portion of myself as an old friend. “Oh, there you are,” I said to the Parisienne of my Farmgirl. “Life is very wonderful, and you are surrounded by people you would die for, and you have a home and a life that you love, but there you are, I forgot you, and I forgot what you felt like. Welcome back. I missed you and didn’t realize how much. “
If there’s something in your life that truly speaks to you – that’s a blessing. It may be a lake view. It might be the awestruck wonder as you look into the face of your child. That enjoyment you find there is perhaps a sliver of Common Grace, a gift from God, if you will? A sliver of beauty and enjoyment in a world full of strife. Having something that you ache for, something you find so enjoyable you can’t contain yourself, is not fanciful or nonsensical. You love what you find beautiful because you were made to love beauty. You were created by the Author of beauty.
I have so much more to share with you about Paris over the coming months. I’m grateful you are here and hope you find a touch of that beauty and encouragement.
You look so happy in this picture. I’m really glad you were able to enjoy Paris at this particular moment in time. You chose the right moment. France is now struggling with strikes that impact gas delivery to petrol stations. The strike is reaching other sectors, and we expect a general strike next week in many sectors: education, transport, delivery, etc.
So yeah, great timing! Paris is very special. I lived there as a student (late 80s), got married there (mid 90s), had children (early 00s) and then moved away. I used to walk around the city for hours, day or night, without feeling stressed or anxious. I love Midnight in Paris, from Woody Allen. I could still feel the vibes of this era when I lived there. I’m afraid these are gone, but Paris still stands.
Thank you so much! These first thought s are so true, and written so well. I could not be more thrilled that you got to see your “old friend”. Gives me hope that I’ll see mine again some day!
Your thoughts on Paris are so moving, and I am so happy that you got to go back to your beloved, Paris! I lived in Germany for twelve years and feel the same way about it; once a special place s in your blood, it becomes a part of who you are and how you live. I get you!! How thrilling to go and do this trip with your girls. That is special beyond words.
Oh my goodness. I’m so happy for you, Angela! Your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your passion.
Your words brought tears to my eyes. I lived in Germany from ages 5 to 8 and again from 12 to 16. We traveled all over Europe. I’m 65 now and long to return to Europe. It shaped so much of my life…my taste in architecture, art, history, my love of travel and meeting people of all nationalities. I consider myself blessed to have experienced it all as a child. Thank you , Angela, to putting words to my feelings!
BTW, I love your channel and home.
My thoughts exactly when I was there , no truer words ,you are a true writer so happy for you and your girls
I love hearing your thoughts. You express yourself so beautifully. I went to Paris about 18 years ago.. one week and it wasn’t enough time… I need to return w my daughter.. how lovely to revisit with your daughters.
How wonderful that you were able to take your daughters with you. I love that you are sharing your memories with us. thank you.
I love how you said “Paris is for me”…that is how I feel about Paris. It’s my second home and I had the unexpected opportunity to go back a second time in 2018. There is just something about Paris that captured my heart and soul and never let go. Can’t wait to see your photos and hear more about your experience!
So glad you got to see Paris again but get to live in lovely Door County. I also am privileged to live on a peninsula in the lovely PNW. Beauty Matters, it feeds the soul, it is our design from the creator of all beauty.
Your hair cut is absolute perfection!
A beautiful picture and your words are inspiring! Being who you are and creating a very special place for so many of us to enjoy is indeed a talent! Looking forward to the view of Paris from your eyes and your adventures with the girls.
You look radiant. I’m 27 years old and I have 10 month old daughter. I hope I can travel with my daughter one day too!
As much as I love the architecture of Paris from photos and real estate shows, I would choose to live in the south of France if I could. Been thinking more of that the harsher this country is becoming quickly. I don’t recognize the country I grew up in anymore, but France has its troubles. I have spent the last year reading books of people who moved there and rehabbed farmhouses, and I have learned life is not so easy as far as the bureaucracy. It would drive me nuts. So, there is a balance and I think I am too old to move to another state, let alone another country. I too create my own world here, one full of gardens and beauty. It seems all I can do other than vote and pray the people who will turn back the nasty will get elected. Not a world I ever thought I would live in and your vlogs and writings here help me fend it off a little longer. Thanks, Angela!
Dear Angela i Saw your last vidéo youtube and i have to Say that in France we unlike, we hate people who touch evrything in museum. It’s a museum it’s not a shop so please dont touch the fabric, la soie is beautiful but very fragile. Imagine if everybody do the same.
As we say in France : touch with the eyes.
Don’t published it, it’s only an advice if you don’t want to pass for a rude personne with no education.
Have a good trip, and don’t forget don’t touch in museum.
Sorry it wasn’t the soie but the wallpaper but it’s the same.