Three years ago we lived in England. One of the advantages of living there was our ability to travel around Europe. And April in Paris just felt right.
Traveling to Paris was a dream that we had shared for most of our married life. Paris the city of lights; the city of romance. Being there – walking through the streets of Paris is hard to put into words. I just kept being overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it all. The monuments – Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Obelisk in The Place de la Concorde were all more impressive in person than what I had seen in photos. Notre-Dame Cathedral and The Louvre are simply magnificent. The River Seine was amazing. But my favorite memory of Paris will always be the macaroons.
Let me explain:
My beautiful wife loves to cook and loves to watch cooking shows and read cookbooks and cooking magazines. Debbie learned that the place for macaroons in Paris is Laduree. People were literally wrapped around the block waiting to purchase macaroons there. It was a must-do! So we patiently waited and little by little wound our way into the shop. The cases were filled with thousands of macaroons in various and assorted flavors. Deb was thrilled beyond words while I was just coming to the realization that macaroons are cookies – beautiful, colorful cookies but cookies nonetheless. Of course neither of us speak French so, when we finally approached the counter, we panicked and requested an assortment. In broken English the young lady said that 24 macaroons would be 40 euro. Deb was still awestruck and nodded – OUI, OUI! I was quickly doing the math in my head – about $56.oo for 24 tiny macaroons! Now I’m not really a cheapskate, but because I figured that I could eat about three macaroons in one bite, I knew that this was going to be a pretty expensive snack. But as we say in Paris ~ C’est la vie!
When we left Laduree I told Deb I thought that 40 euro was a bit much for 24 macaroons. “Oh no!” “I thought she said 14 euro.” was her reply. We both had a good laugh and I told her it was no big deal that we could eat few each day and take the rest back to our home in England. Deb informed me that macaroons have a very short shelf life and that we would have to eat them pretty quickly. So after a long day of sight-seeing we sat in our hotel room with swollen feet and gorged ourselves on macaroons and laughed about how glamorous our time in Paris had become. God forbid we would waste one morsel of precious macaroon!
So that’s my favorite and most vivid memory of Paris. Laughing with the one I love about the macaroon mix-up while stuffing our faces. Hardly the romantic image of Paris I had expected to carry in my heart but still the one I will always cherish.
I’ve traveled to some amazing places. I’ve been fortunate to have toured some magnificent castles and world-renowned museums. But my most cherished memories aren’t places. Instead it’s hearing a heartbeat next to mine, touching newborn skin so soft I could barely feel it, tasting a tomato just pulled off the vine, holding a tiny hand in mine, smelling lilacs in bloom, hugging someone so tightly and never wanting to let go, seeing a sunrise so beautiful it made me cry. It doesn’t matter whether those things happened in royal gardens or grand halls or sacred cathedrals or back alley ways.
You see, it’s not where or when that makes memories special. It’s who and why. And macaroons.