Strolling the streets and parks of Paris, pretending I live in the 6th arrondissement, and tasting my way through upscale chocolate shops, local patisseries, and good restaurants are now done only in my memories. As Rick says to Elsa in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.” But are memories enough?
Reality in California means hunkering down at home during the shelter-in-place mandate. No eating out with my adult children, no meeting friends over coffee or lunch, no workouts at the gym, no non-essential travel. The only voyages I will be making in the near future are trips to the supermarket. Maybe not even that, as online shopping is safer.
In these turbulent and frightening times, it’s too easy to lament what’s lost and not be thankful for what we still have. I prefer to think of my confinement as a staycation where I catch up on projects hiding on my to-do list, like taking that online photography course I paid for last year but never got around to doing. Now I can spend more time studying French online. Or maybe I’ll simply relax with a good book.
While my planned trip to Paris may not materialize, I can’t help planning the one after that. Perhaps all will be well and safe later this year. Despite the pandemic’s current impact on France, I am optimistic. It is France, after all, and the French are a resilient and resourceful people.
While life as we know it has changed, I can still go to Paris in my mind, if not in a plane. I remember all my wonderful times in the City of Light. I revisit Paris through my photos, taken in what already seems like another lifetime ago. With memories of the past, I dream of the future and the possibility to see Paris again someday. Because, in the words of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea.”