Paris—the city that gives you permission to live life out loud

temperenceAny excuse to stop off in Paris is a valid excuse.  I only had three days and I made the most of it.  Paris is lovely any time of the year.  Even when it’s cold and rainy—which it is right now.  I love this sensual, stylish, elegant place of beauty, history, spirituality and charming decadence.  My favorite arrondissement these days is the 1st.  The Louvre, home to so much creative splendor, including my beloved Mona Lisa, is there.  As is the Museum of Decorative Arts, which always has a wonderful surprise encounter for me.  And the fashion and shopping!  Wherever you turn you see exquisite style on the passers-by and in the shops—truly a divine experience.  A gorgeous antique gold and garnet snake ring has caught my eye and captured my heart.  To my chagrin, I allowed the voice of reason a vote as I reluctantly handed it back to the clerk.  I can still feel it on my finger.  (What was I thinking!?  I was in Paris, for God’s sake!)

I finally made it across the Seine to the Musee D’Orsay on the Left Bank in the 7th arrondissement.  It is breath-takingly stunning beyond description—and that’s before you see any of the art work. Formerly an old train station that was saved from demolition, its interior was transformed into what is now a fabulous temple of art and discovery.  The building itself is as fascinating to observe and explore as the priceless collections of art are.  I know I’ll be spending a lot of time there on future visits.

I met the owner of a heavenly metaphysical shop and we hit it off.  I’ll be leading a workshop there later this year.  Stay tuned for more details.

Jim Haynes and one of his renowned Sunday night dinners was the highlight of my too short stay.  Jim’s an American life-artist who has lived in Paris for a long time and every week for the past 30 years, he’s hosted a Sunday dinner in his home.  People, most of whom are total strangers to him (and each other), call or e-mail to book a spot. The first 50 or 60 people who call are assured a place and he always has a waiting list of those who weren’t fortunate enough to make a reservation in time.

I love this type of gathering.  A collection of people from all over the globe, from all walks of life coming together to share food and life adventures.  Even though most of us were ‘strangers’ to each other, as we interacted, we discovered that we all had something in common.  Somehow, whoever you spoke with was a fellow traveler on the path to discovering the meaning of life’s great mysteries and their story supplied an important, previously missing detail for you and your journey.  The food, the ambiance, the company and the evening were a gift and a blessing and surely there’s a special place in heaven for our phenomenal host-raconteur, Jim Haynes.