I don’t come from a family of explorers, travelers, or adventurers. My wanderlust has definitely been a learned trait, something that I’ve discovered after spending countless hours Google searching destinations I wished to visit. Needless to say, my parents were a bit shocked when I told them that I had bought tickets for my daughter Kailin and me to move to Paris the winter of 2011. My mother’s concern was that I “didn’t know a soul in all of France,” my dad’s was that I wouldn’t survive without knowing the language.
Armed with their endless words of advice and a handful of helpful phrases, such as “s’il vous plait, aidez-moi trouver les toilettes”(thanks dad !), my then four year-old and I boarded our very first trans-Atlantic flight to the City of Light. I wasn’t prepared for the anxiety attack I would have midway through our redeye, or how much I would fall head over heels once I’d arrived. In a penthouse apartment situated right across from Sacré-Cœur, how could I not fall in love with all that Paris had to offer me?
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment where all was lost for me and Paris, but maybe it was when an elderly man chased Kailin and me down Place Saint-Pierre, initially to my inherent alarm, only to tell me that all of the carousels in Paris were free during the Christmas season and that I should take Kailin to the one at the bottom of Sacré-Cœur post-haste. No one did that in New York and the experience in Paris sealed my fate.
Whenever people ask me why I decided to move to Paris, I tell them that I needed to experience something different and to feel something new, but the truth is, I felt an evident pull of my heart. Something drew me to Paris and I did not stand a chance against it. But with any huge move one makes, the amount of planning and research that went into it seemed dauntingly endless. The decision didn’t come entirely easy for me; it was the doubt and heavy anxiety that made things difficult. That and being scammed out of an apartment and losing over 800 euros, but that’s another story. The choice to move here was one of the greatest choices I’ve made so far, and my daughter and I love discovering all this city has to show us.
I love our daily trips to our local boulangerie, where the ladies try to cram sweets into Kailin’s hand before I have to push her out of the shop. I love that we can spend endless hours walking, only to discover new favorite locations. But what I love most of all is how much Paris feels like home to us now. Of course there are days that make me question why I’m doing it, but usually those are short-lived. Wherever we travel to now, we always look forward to returning to our new home base.
Written by Marjorie Preval for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Marjorie Preval. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.