Today I turned 44! I am so grateful for that milestone and will take the wrinkles in life and on my face that come with that privilege. The trip to Paris came so close to not happening. Last Tuesday the blood draw showed that I literally had zero neutrophils or no immune system. When Rugo said she couldn’t let me on a plane I burst into tears. Even though I knew Paris was a gamble I was so looking forward to showing the kids that beautiful city. But Rugo and a true angel, nurse Evelyn, shifted into high gear and started to work towards a potential solution. By 5:30 I had had platelets and a unit of blood. A young medical asst who I have to call lazy, tried to tell us that they couldn’t do a second unit of blood that evening. That would derail the trip. Creighton went to raise the question after Bebe came to visit, her sweet face melting into tears as she took in the news. Evelyn said,”we will get you that blood and we will get you to your special family trip. We will not break that little girl’s heart.” I realize she must have gone home late to make that happen and yet she came in with a smile and more platelets at 8am the next morning too. At 12 I finished the platelets. At 12:15 I was wondering how we could make our flight. Rugo cleared me at the last minute and at 3:10 we were en route to one of my favorite cities in the world. I wore the face mask, brought my walking sticks, went into full cancer patient travel mode.
The Seine was sparkling as we pulled into Paris, and the all rain forecast had turned into all sun and 75 degree days. We were in a divine apartment in the 7th with views of the glorious Invalides done and the Eiffel Tower. Mom and Dad were at the San Regis, and Pete and his kids would join in a few days. We missed Sabrina who was cranking away at work. I set my sights low everyday and slowed time for my baby style 3hr nap. Worth it. Just a different way to “do Paris”.
We took the Bateau Mouches to give the kids a sense of the city. Stunning from the river. And to see Bebe and Will’s smiles as they took it all in made my heart swell. Mom and Dad leapt into Paris via Taillevent which proved timeless and delicious while we started at a tiny bistro with a fine hand at meat, L’Ami Jean, meat that would convert a vegetarian. The kids discovered pigeon! I was practically asleep at the table.
The a Rodin garden was always a sanctuary in my time studying in Paris. There isn’t a bad view. Every turn brings a new perspective, and this time of year the brilliant red roses are in full bloom as the foreground to the Thinker and the golden dome accenting the bright blue sky. If i had only seen one sight that visit made me feel complete. The kids were mesmerized by the Musée D’Orsay and enjoyed sculpture and painting alike. I’m a sucker for the Impressionists along with the staggering views of the city. Getting a guide at the Louvre was a huge success for Mom and the kids. Dad and I pushed our limits walking from the Tuileries to Les Invalides, but I couldn’t help myself. I just love taking in Paris on foot. And now the Seine is so pedestrian friendly.
My favorite meal was at La Fontaine de Mars, a classic bistro with the red and white tablecloths and a great energy. We enjoyed fresh melon and ham cut on site, gorgeous sole meunière and absurd mashed potatoes. Now I say that, but really I enjoyed so many meals! Lunch at the charming 5 Mars where Creighton’s chocolate mousse came in a giant serving bowl and Dad’s terrine in its full pottery dish; a creative and delicious meal at Garance with such good service and out of this world apricot sorbet; fresh fraises everywhere.
Giverny was a home run. The kids loved seeing the inspiration for Monet’s many masterpieces, and it was fun to get into the countryside. The garden was bursting with multi color poppies, bold red dahlias, irises. By then Pete had joined us and the cousins were in heaven. A major Landreth rally. And Creighton took a day to watch Nadal and Jokovich at Roland Garros.
Strolling St Germain remains a permanent draw with its endless boutiques and patisseries. I didn’t have enough éclairs. We celebrated my birthday at the magnificently located Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Best desserts of the trip and with a sunset view of Paris to boot. Perfectly ripe raspberries followed by hazelnut ice cream and practically illegal chocolate. I also wish I had had more Berthillon sorbet. Yum!
8 hours into our flight I don’t feel like my writing has any rhythm, but I’m so proud of having made the trip no worse for the wear. If anything my cold has gotten better, and I felt pretty great all week. I also walked more in 5 days than in the last 3 months! I will certainly have to chill out on return, but this will have been a lifetime trip that the kids will always remember with me.
Will will try Kennolyn this summer where I was a camper and counselor. We will take Bebe for a two day outing up to Fort Bragg and Jenner to see some new territory. Otherwise back to the job of cancer treatments where we keep trying new chemos. I have to remind myself that each drug means a new set of side effects to get used to. Have to stay patient with that.
Excited to reconnect with friends after checking out but bear with me as I work through jet lag. Will add some more photos later.