URBANSIDER story

Coming Home to Paris

Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is where the heart is, not where you're born. And Paris will always have my heart. As a teenager, I fell in love with the feeling Paris gave me, a feeling I was happy to find waiting for me upon my return.

I was 16 when I first visited Paris. As I walked through the capital with my high school classmates, I think I stopped and took a picture on every rue. I’d never been out of the United States before and was so excited to finally be in France.

We must’ve walked ten miles that first day, our tour guide Maurice making us pound the pavement to stay awake and fight off jet lag. We saw Notre Dame, went to the Louvre, then walked all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. It was exhausting and glorious. The city was everything I hoped it would be: bustling, beautiful, and full of possibilities.

From the age of five or six, I had been certain that France was where I was destined to be. My first 24 hours in Paris confirmed it. As my friends and I wandered around the city, I felt an overwhelmingly exquisite, yet surreal sense of coming home. Home to a place that I’d never been before. I managed to keep my emotions in check most of the day, but that night, atop the Eiffel Tower, it finally hit me. My longtime dream had come true; I was really in Paris.

We only stayed in Paris for a few days before heading out on our own Tour de France, visiting ten different cities in as many days. But this first day and the feeling of being exactly where I was supposed to be never left me. Once I finally moved to Paris some 12 years after that first trip, that feeling was still here waiting for me, welcoming me back with open arms.

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