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Return to Paris
3.1 star rating based on 203 ratings.

The valet steps briskly over to the window, footsteps muffled by the thick carpeting, and draws back the heavy, elegant drapery with one graceful movement of his uniformed arm. "I apologize for the view," he carefully explains, "If you were to visit us again in the springtime the gardens would be green and the flowers abloom in a gorgeous riot of color. It is rather sad and gray at this time of year!" We step over to the French windows and peep over his shoulder and my breath is suddenly taken away. It is stunning! Standing here in this grandiose Parisian Palace Hotel in the dead of winter, the day after one of the coldest Christmases I can remember, I look down and behold a fairytale vision, a winter wonderland: the Tuilleries Gardens are white, icy white, a heavy veil of mist covers everything as far as the eye can see and it is magnificently, mysteriously romantic. Bare trees and stone sculptures reach up like phantoms shrouded in mist and all is motionless, it is as if the world has come to a standstill leaving only the two of us to listen to the silence, and all the rest is still and forgotten.

I drag myself back from outside and turn around, my eyes wandering over every detail of the room as le valet bustles efficiently around us, checking that everything is in order, the champagne chilled, the deep coral roses fresh and plump, les petits fours arranged on the charming silver tray up to his own discriminating standards, everything comme il faut. I take it all in from the tiny birds flitting across the pale green wallpaper and spread, the gilded fittings and the bed fit for an emperor. Like two excited children offered the key to the candy shop, my husband and I clap our hands and laugh with glee at the magnificent black and white marble bathroom, the golden fixtures, the tub enough for two. The valet smiles, offering us his unwavering assistance for any little thing we could possibly need or desire and leaves us to savor the pleasure of this one day, one night, of pure luxury, alone.

Later that afternoon we slip through the lobby and out into the winter white of this city of lovers. The cold has chased away the crowds leaving the streets silent and all our own. We have each chosen one special museum to share with the other, then spend the rest of the day wending our way through this city we know so well, seeing the monuments and shops as if for the first time, Paris in her new winter attire. Excited yet chilled to the bone, we push our way into our favorite little Asian Soup place for lunch, pulling off gloves, hats and scarves in the oh-so welcome steamy heat that washes over us as we step inside. We slide into the last empty table, elbow to elbow with our neighbors, and shout out our order over the noise and bustle of the crowd. It's as if all of Paris has magically materialized and joined us for lunch. Huge steaming bowls of soup are set before us and we are revitalized, the heat once again coursing through our bodies before we plunge back out onto the street and into the frosty afternoon, the rawness biting into our cheeks and nipping at our noses. Hugging each other in an attempt to keep out the cold, we continue on our way, strolling as only lovers in Paris do, the misty whiteness wrapped around us like an ermine stole. We take in the elegant wrought ironwork of the balconies, the heavy stone sculptures scattered throughout the city, the gaudy holiday shop window displays, the monuments, the Eiffel Tower, the Obelisk, disappearing up into the whiteness of the heavens and fall in love with Paris all over again.

We find ourselves back in the cozy luxury of our hotel room and, champagne glass in hand waiting as the bath slowly fills with bubbles, I step back over to the window, entranced by the beauty and magic of this city. Paris seems to have reinvented herself for us today, bared her soul and shown her secret, quiet inner world for our pleasure alone. How could I, simple, small town girl, growing up running barefoot across the scorching Florida pavement, having traveled no further than my own grandparents' house, ever have imagined in my wildest childhood dreams that Paris would be mine for the taking, lovely Paris, today spread out at my feet in all of her mystery, all of her glory, like pearls poured into my waiting hands.

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38 comments
Hari R. says:
Nov 7, 2013
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Helena V. says:
Mar 15, 2012
Modest: Modesty pays mayweather vs cotto everywhere. It does not mean you should not write your areas of expertise, you have to do that. But, writing statements like, I am the how to weld best team player and manager an organization could possibly have mayweather vs cotto tickets, etc., is certainly far from impressive.
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Bill C. says:
May 24, 2010
I love Paris and this explains why.
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Oz S. says:
May 23, 2010
I could imagine every minute of your adventure - the thick cold bite n the air...and the steamy soup! Superb Jamie
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Bobbi D. says:
May 22, 2010
Tres bien ma chere`. :)
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Sharon S. says:
May 22, 2010
Jamie you have taken on what seems to be the highest mountain when it comes to describing Paris and you did it proud! Love Paris and loved this.
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May 17, 2010
Uncle Al & I spent some time in Paris many years ago. Loved it
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Jill S. says:
May 15, 2010
"The cold has chased away the crowds leaving the streets silent and all our own." this brings me there with you. very nice story. makes me appreciate Paris once again... (although a steamy bowl warming me in an Asian restaurant might have helped me to appreciate it more back then!)
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Howard C. says:
May 15, 2010
amazing as usual. Keep writing so I can keep reading
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Lora L. says:
May 15, 2010
lovely.
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May 14, 2010
Excellent as always.
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Janet L. says:
May 14, 2010
Fabulous! Thanks for my little vacation, through your eyes!
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May 14, 2010
Amazing descriptions - I can picture everything in my head with the words you use. good luck!
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Rosa M. says:
May 14, 2010
Great story! Beautiful!
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Renee J. says:
May 14, 2010
What pictures you paint for us! Felt like I was right there.
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May 14, 2010
I have never been to Paris & it is one of my dream destinations. Now more that ever, I would like to visit and experience Paris, in any season. Great story!
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Sarka A. says:
May 13, 2010
Beautiful story Jamie! I've never been to Paris yet. Hope I'll visit this gorgeous city soon.
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Julia H. says:
May 13, 2010
Thank you for this Jamie - I have yet to spend a Christmas in Paris, but now I feel like I have. Beautifully written!
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Renee J. says:
May 13, 2010
Makes me feel like I was there with you. Beautifully written Jamie! Good luck!
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Greg J. says:
May 13, 2010
Good Luck, Miss Jamie:)
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Wendy A. says:
May 13, 2010
Such a rich and wonderful description. Thanks for the story Jamie
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May 13, 2010
Lovely Jamie. So lovely, in fact, I too would love to experience the same. I've never been to Paris but sure would love to.
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Meeta K. says:
May 13, 2010
Oh la la! I love this! I have printed it out to read it to Tom, who has never been Paris! Your words are magical and takes me back to the many days and months I spent in Paris!
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Aparna B. says:
May 13, 2010
Was in Paris, a looong time ago, for a couple of days but never in winter. Yet you have brought it alive for me. :)
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Joy J. says:
May 13, 2010
Thank you for taking me there with you. Your words are like fairy dust, leaving us enchanted m'dear.
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Nat M. says:
May 12, 2010
Undoubtedly you are very talented ! I love "Return to Paris" and reading it <3
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Krista B. says:
May 12, 2010
Love it, Jamie!!!! :-) Your words are magic. :-)
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Lee S. says:
May 12, 2010
Wonderful Jamie!! Lee
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Kim T. says:
May 12, 2010
You have such a gift of engaging your readers with your romantic descriptions. Thanks for the brief escape!
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May 12, 2010
I love it! How do I vote?
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May 12, 2010
Enchanting beautiful story. You describe it so well. I love your style of writing. Well done xx
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Debbie K. says:
May 12, 2010
J'adore Paris...you describe it so beautifully that I almost feel like I was there with you :)
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Ken L. says:
May 12, 2010
Beautiful story
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Finla N. says:
May 12, 2010
Same here wish i had the luck for expirencing paris like this.
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May 12, 2010
Excellent!! Most enjoyable
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May 12, 2010
Lovely story Jamie, almost makes me feel like I'm actually in Paris...or maybe it's the snow outside my window!
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Arthi I. says:
May 12, 2010
absolutely amazing write-up Jamie..Love it
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