The disproportionate hands of the clock could not tick fast enough as I counted down to July 23, 2014, the day I departed for my European vacation. Germany, Netherlands, France and Italy were all on the itinerary. Of the four countries, guess which one I anticipated most? France, but of course! Why? Because we are like bare feet and warm sand, we belong together.
I credit some of my fascination with France to my French-American father. He lived and attended elementary school there, before his parents returned to “the land of the free and the home of the braaaave”.
Papa named me Roshell after La Rochelle (or so I thought), a city in western France on the Biscay Bay southwest of Tours. Apparently, someone lied to me. Either way, I share a name with a city in France… WE GO TOGETHER.
Fun Fact: La Rochelle is the sister city of New Rochelle in New York… another place I gravitate toward. Coincidence? Not sure.
What I am sure of is crème brûlée, the rich creamy custard topped with a contrasting layer of crispy caramelized sugar, torched to perfection. If you ever want to be my best friend, bring me crème brulee, it’s my favorite dessert.Crème Brûlée at Cafe Vavin
While on vacation, I stayed in Paris for a week and finally devoured creme brûlée in its homeland. Magnifique! I mentioned before that of the four countries, I anticipated France the most, that’s because of Paris. Paris, the city of love. I anxiously awaited walking the streets of the city that oozes the magical red gooeyness that makes us all warm and tingly inside.
At the mountain peak of my list of “best things in the whole wide world” is LOVE. It is up there next to perfectly tearing out a sheet of perforated paper
I imagined watching couples stroll hand in hand down the Champs Elysees all kissy-faced and googly-eyed. My ears anticipated hearing street singers perform their best renditions of the greatest love songs ever. My eye couldn’t wait to see the most beautiful architecture-lined streets. I awaited being bear-hugged by Paris’ comforting arms of love.
Imagine my surprise when my fellow Frenchmen did not recognize me. No hugs or kisses. No hearts falling from the sky as couples skipped down the sidewalk to the tune of “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie. Whaaaa? I thought, where am I? Should I denounce my love for France and apologize to America for having eyes for another?
No. Just like the bare feet and warm sand, we can’t always be together and we don’t always agree with one another, but that doesn’t mean we don’t go together. France and I are stuck for life. We share a name, dessert, and love… in some weird way. We are stuck until I find a new favorite dessert and trade in La Rochelle for New Rochelle because it loves me more. Until then… j et’ aime, France.
Macarons at LaduréeLe Petit Dejeuner
Gelato at Berthillon
See more photos on my Facebook page in my “Travel” album. Here’s a quick video of footage I captured in Paris.