Years ago, after watching Julie and Julia, I rediscovered my love of butter, cooking, and DIY projects. That Christmas, I made aprons for family in hopes that they too would find their love of cooking. The aprons didn't seem to go over as well as I'd hoped, and life became busy. Butter never went by the wayside, but cooking itself did.
Almost one year ago I decided that I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday in Paris, a place that had always been on my bucket list. Like many, I spent a great deal of my 20's fantasizing about Paris. It was in my imagination, the most beautiful and appealing city in the world. During those earlier years, I'd listen to Parisian cafe music. I ate baguettes. I filled my dreams with high school French pouring from my lips without effort. And then I heard about how brutal Paris could be. People told me that the French were rude. They disliked Americans. My French would never be good enough and they would hate me for it. Yet, on the year of my 40th birthday, I felt compelled to go.
We arrived at the airport late in the evening, taking the subway to Boulevard Barbès. Weaving our way around the Montemarte area, we walked up hill until we reached Rue Ramey where the Le Montclair Montmartre Hostel sat with international flags blowing in the night. We had a small room outside of the courtyard that was perfect for our short stay. Incredibly hungry, we walked around within a several block radius to find nearly every bar, restaurant, patisserie, and store closed, save one Italian pizzeria. Our first evening, I ordered pizza in French and laughed the entire way back to the hostel about this. Passing glorious old buildings, steamed windows, and winding streets, we breathed in the cold winter weather, and for once, it didn't bother me.
In her book, My Life in France, Julia Child said, "Oh, la belle France - without knowing it, I was already falling in love!" As was I, Julia. As was I.