I have been to Paris every year for the past four years and the last three of those were during Christmas time. It's my favorite place in the world.
I know and yet I don't quite know why I love it so much.
But I think it's time to say good bye to the city that I love the most.
Because I don't think I will be back next Christmas.
I will miss Paris -- she will leave a void in my heart.
Just thinking about not ever seeing her again makes me sad.
Here's my love letter to Paris and all the things I will miss ...
I will miss flying into Charles de Gaulle, on my favorite airline, the ever efficient, always organized, extremely reliable KLM -- with the tallest female flight attendants I have ever seen.
I will miss the first ever glimpse of the city each time and the quickening of my pulse as the car crosses the Seine.
As Cole Porter said, "I love Paris in the winter ... when it drizzles". I will even miss the rainy days and nights.
I can drink 1664 any where in the world but it will never taste as good as drinking it in a bistro in Paris.
The food may not always be good but when it is, it's perfect.
The Paris Metro -- probably one of the oldest in the world. A great way to get around the city but sometimes, I miss the light and need to get above the ground.
I'll miss Paris' marche aux puces - her flea markets where you can buy anything and everything, even spare airplane parts.
Jay and I will miss renting an apartment -- and the illusion it brings that somehow, even if for just two weeks, we are locals and part of the neighborhood.
I love exploring the streets of Paris ---
And turning the corner and finding her grand buildings.
I will miss walking by the Seine on a cold December afternoon ...
and walking across Paris ' oldest bridge, Pont Neuf.
And how about those gorgeous Parisian men in uniform!
We will miss sitting outdoors on those ubiquitous cafe chairs, watching the world pass us by.
And Jay will miss his favorite small shops in the Cite flower market where they sell antiques and curiosities galore.
I will miss treasure hunting through Paris' vintage shops -- where 1 euro silk scarves and distressed leather handbags are rewards for those who can dig through the piles.
We will even miss take-out Chinese dinners from the oriental traiteurs.
Not the best food in the world but something that we always turn to when
we start to miss the taste of home.
They say Paris is not safe -- but I have never had a bad experience -- even while walking alone through quiet, deserted streets late at night. I will miss the sound of my footsteps on her silent streets.
I will miss the Seine at night -- romantic and dreamy.
And who will ever cut my hair the way that only Willy Leyba can? I will miss this kind, gentle and unbelievably talented Filipino hair artist who has made a name for himself in the most stylish and chic capital of the world!
Paris' pastries are the best -- the tarte tatin my favorite of all!
But I won't discriminate -- eclairs, tarte citron, macarons, macaronade -- I love them equally as well!
I will miss dusk as it hits Paris and all the lights slowly go on, creating a magical and enchanting glow.
And I will miss her streets, decked out in Christmas colors and lights -- twinkling and shimmering through the winter cold.
I will never be able to gaze up at Marc Chagall's lovely ceiling, framing the grand chandelier of the Paris Opera Garnier.
And I will miss Paris' many outstanding museums where one can get lost for hours or even days.
But the streets of Paris are museums unto themselves where art abounds, even on lamp posts.
Where you can see sculptures framed by nothing but the vista that surrounds it.
I may not find it as the most iconic symbol of Paris but yes -- I will miss Mr. Eiffel, specially as he looms above me like this.
Demi sel beurre can make the most mundane slice of bread taste like heaven on earth.
I will miss the thrill of shopping in Paris ...
... from my favorite un grand magasin .... Bon Marche!
Paris has an abundance of beautiful old churches -- most of them still active and functioning parishes. To my mind, the best of all is the majestic grandeur of Eglise Saint Sulpice where I have had the pleasure of listening to the Great Organ as played by head organist Daniel Roth.
I will miss my favorite park -- Jardin de Luxembourg.
Where I can indulge in my favorite pastime of sitting on a green metal chair and staring without thinking of anything but how beautiful the day is.
I will miss Paris' lively street markets which can be found all over the city -- proving that ordinary Parisians care very much about the freshness and quality of their food.
I will even miss the quietness of Paris' cemeteries where we have walked through, peering at the headstones of the famous and the unknown. Unto dust thou shalt return.
There is nothing so identifiable as Haussmann's architecture which defines the look and feel of Paris' streets.
From wide avenues and boulevards...
To narrow and unknown alleys, I have walked and strolled through these -- losing myself in the beauty and allure of Paris.
Her rooftops and skyline views cannot be duplicated...
And it pains me that I will never be able to open my window at early morning and peer down on her just awakening street scenes... ever again.