First, three days in London and now our first night in Paris.
We checked into our Left Bank hotel in the late afternoon and when we came back outside the sun was setting. Traffic had suddenly disappeared on all but the larger avenues.
Patrons of restaurants, cafes and bistros were spilling out onto the sidewalks and sometimes even into the streets as the sound of music, laughter and love began creeping through the alleys and boulevards on little cat feet.
We walked uphill to a plaza next to the Pantheon and picked out an empty table that was half on the sidewalk and half in the street.
Mona’s French came in handy as she looked over the menu and ordered for both of us.
“What did you order?” I asked.
“I have no idea,” she said. “I just looked at the menu, pointed to one line that said boeuf and one that said poulet and let the dice roll.”
The meal came with a small, unlabeled bottle of wine. Whatever it was that we ate was wonderful.
As the darkness fell and the lights of the city began to shine and twinkle, the phrase “love is in the air” became as real as the air we breathed.
Hand in hand, we walked four blocks down to the Seine.
Notre Dame was to our left, lit up like the lead actress in a play.
The lights were reflected in the water, doubling their effect and creating the illusion the entire world had turned into sky, with stars gleaming from every direction.
Our hands separated and wrapped themselves around our waists drawing us as close to one another as possible as we walked.
We joined the parade of lovers down the Quai de la Tournelle before crossing to the Il Saint-Louis on the Pont de Sully.
There we saw jugglers and men selling flowers on the sidewalks. Musicians were playing simply for the sheer beauty of it without any thought of receiving a donation—their instrument cases lying closed at their feet.
The lights became hypnotic, drawing us into a dream of our own creation.
As we turned to face one another, our hands moved yet again, drawing us even closer in embrace. Our lips touched. We breathed warmth and passion into each other’s hearts and our souls joined the music of the night in a song of love.
Such is Paris after dark. The City of Lights. The City of Love.
In London we had practiced.
In Paris we performed.