We'll Always Have Paris

Last spring break I went to Paris for the first time.

With my (then) 17 year old daughter.

To share the magnitude of this with you, please know that I've dreamed of going to Paris all my life and for lots of reasons (none really valid, but all very rational) I had never been.

After I had breast cancer, I made a bucket list.  Suddenly, all the things I had wanted to do in life, all the places I had always wanted to go had a lot of immediacy.  

There's something about getting cancer that will do that to you.  You suddenly realize how short life is, how quickly it can all change; you heavily feel your own mortality with a solid thump.

Paris was #1 on that list.

I'd been to France in my 20's but just never got around to Paris.  Then I got married and had kids and then.....well any of you moms know what happens then.  Life with kids happens.  Trips to Paris aren't that easy with 2 toddlers.  Plus I work full time and between kids and work, Paris just seemed harder and harder to squeeze into the mix.

After I had breast cancer in 2010, I made a vow not to wait to fulfill that bucket list anymore and last January, I just took the plunge and decided I was going to take my daughter to Paris during spring break. My son is on the basketball team and once you're in an organized sport in high school, there are no more family spring break trips, so it was just a mother daughter event.

Paris was better than I ever could have anticipated.  I've lived near New York City my entire life so have held it as the gold standard when it comes to cities, but Paris wins hands down (sorry, New York).

The city is so beautiful.  The food is astoundingly good, even better than you've heard.  The people were warm and friendly (as long as I started out each conversation with "Parlez-vous Anglais?").  The architecture is amazing; every corner we turned brought a more beautiful view.

We both agreed that the highlight of the trip was a cooking class we took in Montmartre.  We met our chef at 9:30 a.m. and he took us shopping in the local market for our dinner ingredients.

Buying the 4 course menu dinner ingredients in local shops

After the shopping expedition, we went to the cooking school and spent hours preparing and eating our 4 course meal.  We rolled out of the class around 3:30 p.m. replete with food, wine and desserts (yes, plural desserts).  I would recommend this to anyone who goes to Paris, it was a wonderful experience. (If you're interested, the school is called Cook'n with class and I organized it all online in advance before we left.)

Scallop appetizer, Lamb entree and Passionfruit Souffle - c'est magnifique!

But the very best part of the entire trip was that my daughter and I both experienced our first time in Paris together.  There were times during the trip that I would hold my breath at the depth of emotion I felt as I shared this wonderful adventure with her.

How about you?  Have you gone on any special trips with your daughter or son?  I hope you've had the chance to experience something so memorable with your children, as well.                     

Claudia Schmidt blogs at http://www.myleftbreast.net

You can also reach her on Twitter @claudoo

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