Friday, November 27, 2015

My Paris Dream

I have been thinking a lot about Kate Betts and her memoir, My Paris Dream, lately.  I read Kate's book this summer after serendipitously finding out about the book and Kate being a Sag Harbor native. The shockingly horrific events in Paris on November 13th tore at my heart and reminded me again of what is really important in my life, my family and friends. I am so grateful for all of their encouragement, love and support. I am also especially thankful to live in a place that allows and inspires me to follow my dreams.
In My Paris Dream, Kate writes of following her post graduate dream to live and work in Paris. Ironically, at the time of Kate's move there, Paris had suffered attacks from an extremist group now forgotten. Kate hesitated, but her Mother encouraged her not to fear, but to follow her dream and go. The story of Kate's experience in the City of Light seen through her young eyes is an inspiring reminder to continue to dream.
Kate Betts and friends at Harbor Books.
My own Paris dream was also a post graduate adventure. At the end of my college senior year at St. Olaf College,  I went on a choir tour to Norway. All year my best choir friend, Suzan, and I dreamt of "Tour" and our post tour trip to Paris. We would stay with a friend of Suzan's, an American visiting Paris. When it was time for our trip Suzan decided to stay in Norway. What was I to do? We had dreamt La Boheme dreams all year. The tickets were booked to return from Paris. I was going. Suzan gave me the address of her friend Robert and off I went. I took an overnight ferry from Bergen to Amsterdam. After an unexpected adventure in Amsterdam and train to Paris, I arrived at the Paris address. I don't recall the arrondissement, but the apartment was a classic. A tiny woman on the first floor of the building asked me who I wanted, (I think!) I showed her my piece of paper, and said I was there to see Robert. Her reply "oh l'ame´ricaine". She sent me up the wide curving stairs to the third floor where I knocked on an ornate wooden door. A woman in light blue apron answered my knock. (A French maid!) I told her I was there to see Robert -----. I kept repeating the name and finally a look of realization came over her and she said, "oh, RoBARE" and went running back into the apartment calling, "RoBARE, voila!" over and over again. A young man came to the door. His name was Robert, but it wasn't the Robert that was supposedly expecting two American choir girls.
Artwork by Carol Gillott via her blog Paris Breakfasts

I was only in Paris for two days. It seems the Robert that I met, who was living in the garrett giving English lessons to the resident's children, was supposed to be visited by the other Robert who never showed up. This kind young man fed an unexpected stranger and allowed me to sleep on the floor of his garrett room for one night. My foolhardy unforgettable adventure is one that fuels further dreaming. I think back to it now when I am afraid to try something new.
photo from Corey Amaro's blog: Tongue in Cheek by her son Sacha

Paris inspires and comforts me lately through books and blogs. 
I few blogs that inspire me:
Carol Gillott's: Paris Breakfasts
Corey Amaro's blog Tongue in Cheek:
Photographer Carla Coulson: Don't Put Your Dreams Off Till Someday
Photo by Carla Coulson via

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” Pope Paul VI


  1. I love this post.
    I found out a little more about you..refreshed my recent reading of that book you had recommended to me..saw Carol's charming art..I kayaked for the first time this year..thinking..just do it:)

  2. Thank you for your friendship Monique xo

  3. I never knew this! Brave & daring G! xxoo

  4. How lovely, Gail. Thank you for this wonderful post. I also had adventures in Paris when I was young. Isn't it amazing to think how brave we were when we were young? I love that quote. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!
    xx Sunday


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