I don’t speak french, but I know all about joie de vivre.
We found it in Paris last summer, in the midst of a general strike, only hours after historic flooding, and just months after a devastating terrorist attack.
We heard it in the animated chatter of proud Parisians, smelled it wafting from their sweet corner bakeries, tasted in their salty plates of charcuterie and oaky white wine, and saw it proudly emerge from the receding floodwaters of the gorgeous Seine.
Paris is determinedly dignified in any season, but particularly in the face of challenge. So many people warned me and my daughters not to travel there in the summer of 2016. “Aren’t you scared?” they asked.
But, honestly, we weren’t.
“If you live in this world, you should see it,” my mother says.
All four of my children and I inherited this delicious wanderlust, and how grateful we are for the encouragement to appreciate this great, big, beautiful planet.
I took hundreds of pictures during our trip to France. I shot the Eiffel Tower in its evening majesty, Notre Dame in the quiet dawn, and Giverny and Versailles in the bright afternoon light.
But, I took my favorite picture in a less lofty locale, as we strolled along the Seine. I think it captures the reciprocal joy of two sisters and the magical city they love.
Thank you, Paris, for your hospitality and the inspiring way you absorbed a devastating blow, deeply mourned your loss, and still stood tall and strong. We’ll be back some day.
But, for now, there are plenty of places we still need to visit, adventures we intend to enjoy, and so many more favorite photos I hope to shoot.