“How would you feel about spending a year in Paris?” The Mister asked me over breakfast one morning.
Is this a trick question?
The Mister and I first visited France in 2017. We stayed for a week in the countryside about an hour’s drive from Lyon and then another week in Paris itself. While both experiences enchanted me, Paris was truly my heart’s home. The beauty of the city, the history on every corner and — best of all for me — the formality and cultural aloofness that relieved my introverted self from having to pretend to be an extrovert. It was heaven.
I immediately declared that all of my future international trips would include at least a week in Paris. Fortunately for me, the Mister — both tolerant of my whims and equally charmed with the city — genially agreed to my terms. We both assumed it would become an annual tradition.
So what’s this you say about a year? I’m intrigued …
The Mister’s work requires him to travel a great deal to visit various public and private collections and research archives. His current schedule averages three or four international trips a year, each lasting up to three weeks. In addition to the long absences from home, the flights themselves are grueling. Add to this the dubious pleasure of living out of a suitcase (and often on a colleague’s sofa) and suddenly the title of “international gadabout” no longer feels as glamorous as it sounds.
It occurred to him that a year in France would allow him to focus on his European opportunities for an extended period of time without the cost and inconvenience of trans-oceanic flights. From Paris it would be easy enough to visit associates in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium as well as within France itself. As an additional bonus, we’ve been talking for a couple of years about selling our current house. If we sold it prior to the move, we wouldn’t be paying a mortgage in addition to the rent for a flat. Upon our return we could take our time to find or build the perfect house.
“It wouldn’t be for at least three years,” he cautioned, due to his current domestic obligations. “Maybe as long as five. It really depends on the situation.”
“I’m a patient person,” I assured him.
Okay, that’s a complete lie. I am, however, a Planner (with a capital “P”) to my very bones, and three to five years would be a perfect timeline for me to get ready for a year in the City of Lights. My French is rudimentary, to put it kindly. I’d want to learn more of the language as well as the history, culture and food so I could truly appreciate it when I’m there. Additionally, I’d want to make some inexpensive upgrades to the house that would increase its saleability.
This preparation is My Paris Project. In this blog I’ll journal my efforts to prepare for the move as well as my attempts to bring a little bit of Paris into my every day life between now and then. I’m aware that I’m not a terribly engaging writer — hopefully I’ll become more proficient in the future. If not, well, at least the information will be available for others who want to follow a similar journey.