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Paris on a Whim

Paris is a passion, for me and my husband, Donny. We ended our Paris drought of late (four years since our last visit) with a wonderful last minute trip to that magical city this past July.

It happened that an opportunity to illustrate a storybook fell into my lap and by the time the dust had settled about the details the final deadline was but weeks away. We live in a beautiful coastal area, great art inspiration, but it's home, with many distractions. As I fretted over the time line of the project, Donny made an offer, "I'll take you to Paris." That sounded more than good, it sounded perfect.

And so five days later we were off.

We like to rent apartments in Paris having discovered they are generally not that much more expensive than hotel rooms and even tiny ones (aren't they all in Paris?) help us feel like we might even be Parisian. Never mind that neither of us speak a word of French. Okay a word or two but that's pretty much it. We try to use those few words whenever we can finding that our struggles even with a limited vocabulary are appreciated. The French have always been polite, helpful, and amused by our accent. The first time we heard that comment we were amazed. "We have an accent?" we pondered. Others have accents but we never thought of ourselves as having one. Tres chic!

Our favorite place to stay in the city is on Ile St. Louis and this is where Donny has rented an apartment for my art adventure. Great northern light and a perfect working table (all happenstance, our only plan was to have an interior court view) but sweeten the pot. One long flight later make more enjoyable by Air France's new Premier Voyageur more leg room seating, we unpack our bags at 12 rue Jean du Bellay on Ile St Louis. We are within shouting distance of Notre Dame to the left and the Marais to the right.

We are exhausted but we struggle downstairs to the cafe truly just outside our door for a quick bite and then back upstairs to our new home for ten days. We fall asleep to the muffled sounds of the city. Ah, Paris, we love you! It's good to be back.

Sandra Ball is an artist, writer, and blogger based in North Carolina. Read more of her work at

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