I started my love affair with Paris when I was nine, and traveled there with my French mother on an ocean liner, the SS France. What a treat to travel in such a grand way: dressing for each meal, playing shuffleboard and enjoying beef consommé on the deck served by cute French sailors. At that tender young age I already realized that the French had a very special view of the world.
Once arriving in Paris I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the city and wanted to see everything! The Eiffel Tower, The Musée du Louvre, The Paris Opera, and the shopping, especially the Galéries Lafayette, are just a few unforgettable experiences.
I used to sit at the cafés having coffee ice cream while the adults had real café au lait. During that summer I became exposed to the French Fashion Collections and I fell in love with YSL, Chanel and the “chain belt”. Luckily for me, my mother also loved fashion, so she was happy to buy me French Vogue and Elle magazines. Secretly I pretended that I was a Parisian fashion designer.
One afternoon my mother took me to Guerlain perfumes on the Champs-Elysees to select a present for my sister. This experience left quite an impression on me: the splendor of the shop, the sweet smell of the perfume and the marvelous packaging. It made me realize how beauty and fragrance were intertwined into French life. I also learned that going to spas as health retreats was a custom for the French, and how important these visits were to the Parisians in their never-ending quest for beauty and youth.
Walking along the Seine River, buying antique fashion prints, and visiting Victor Hugo’s favorite hangouts became a regular activity of mine. It was hard leaving Paris that summer, I felt changed and grateful for the experience.
My love affair has continued to today. I have revisited Paris countless times and each trip reveals another wonderful treasure. As always, I can’t wait to return.