Versailles. Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower. When I was in grade school these were a few of the places I dreamt about visiting. Fortunate to attend a small, private school where learning the French language was an everyday part of the curriculum, I grew up with plans to attend the Paris-Sorbonne University and further my intense curiosity for French culture. By the time I was half way through high school, I was darn near fluent in the language and poised to become a foreign exchange student. I was, however, also an extremely driven athlete and was afraid that my absence would put my chance for a college scholarship at risk. So I didn’t go and my dreams of Paris remained just that — dreams.
A few years into college, the pull from Paris continued to tug away at me and eventually I signed up to study abroad and paid my $1,000 initial deposit. I was a member of my college’s track team but not thrilled enough with my performance to care if I remained so. And with Paris only a few months away, I tossed my Olympic dreams aside and made plans to visit the Pantheon, and the Jardin du Luxembourg.
But, life took a turn, made other plans for me and I ended up missing my chance to see the great city. And every now and then, though I wouldn’t change the outcome, I still think about Paris — and given the gravity of this past week’s tragic events, once again Paris is on my mind. And although I have yet to visit the Louvre and see Mona Lisa’s smile, I am sure that she, along with the city’s steadfast people, will prevail … as for me, I will hold her in my heart and in my dreams, I, like Rick Blaine, will always have Paris.
NOTE: This is post I wrote for MapQuest. The original can be found here: My Fondest Memories of Paris