I thought I was prepared. After all, I’d spent weeks immersed in researching Paris, read A Paris Wife and Hemmingway’s A Moveable Feast, studied journals about Lindy’s flight to Paris, and surveyed maps of the city. Paris? Pshaw! I had this. Five days — we’d see it all! Starting with the Eiffel Tower, we’d visit the Palace of Justice where Marie Antoinette stayed before being guillotined, and then to the Bastille for a little revolutionary fervor. We’d visit castles and Versailles and Napoleon’s grave, the tomb of Victor Hugo, and of course the Louvre. We’d mosey down to the Arc de Triomphe, then over to the Luxemburg gardens before hitting the Latin Quarter, where we’d ferret out Le Select, Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s luncheon spot. I’d buy a book at Shakespeare and Company and then feed pigeons while sitting in front of Notre Dame.
See, all planned.
Except, in all that planning, I forgot to check the weather. I just thought — hey, it’s Paris! It’ll be warm!
We arrived to 37 degrees, and as I got off the plane, I stopped and bought gloves. I bundled the first day, but our itinerary included mostly outside events. By noon, I thought I might have hypothermia.
I was miserable. As we walked by ancient buildings, I could barely lift my chin out of my scarf to glance at the landscape. Whatever, I said. If you’ve seen one ancient cathedral, you’ve seen them all.
I just wanted to be warm. But I hadn’t brought warm clothes, and I wasn’t about to scratch off the palace of Versailles to go hunt down a coat. Where would I find a coat my size in Paris, anyway? Everyone is the size of a ten-year-old.
So, I sulked. I didn’t want my husband or daughter to know my misery as I looked forward into the chilly week, but apparently I couldn’t hide my mood. “I don’t want to tell you,” I said, embarrassed at my own childishness.
My daughter coaxed it out of me. And then she said, “Well, let’s ask God to give you a coat.”
Hah. Because I needed God to virtually drop a coat out of the sky and into my lap. I didn’t have time to hunt for one — and not a clue where to go. So, I prayed, “Lord, could you give me a coat? Under fifty dollars, and I’m going to need you to just sort of . . . dangle it in front of my face.”
I admit I didn’t hold out much hope.
Shame on me.
Susie and Andrew not so warm on top of the Eiffel Tower!
We had crossed the street, a little lost, looking for the subway. I spied it and headed toward the entrance, when, on my way, I saw a little bin of scarves sitting on the sidewalk. A woman was looking through it. I stopped, her scarf catching my attention, and happened to look up at the storefront behind her. A tiny green door hung open, and inside . . . a thrift store. No larger than a galley kitchen, clothes hung on either side, leaving an aisle about as wide as a person. I heard the words, “I’m just going in here for a sec” emerge from my mouth, and I found myself walking inside.
I started down the row of clothing, then stopped. There, on the lefthand side near the back hung four jackets. I picked up one — the cutest one —and put it on.
It fit perfectly.
I found the tag. 40 Euros. If you do the math we’re at roughly 50 bucks.
Five minutes later, I had a coat. No less than fifteen minutes after I started praying.
I was warm the rest of the vacation.
Yeah, I should have planned ahead. Or not. Because even when I don’t . . . God is already there, saving the day.
I had a blast in Paris! It was so amazing to visit the places I’d researched for Baroness and Duchess — they came alive to me. I could imagine Dash and Rosie meeting in the park, and Renaud and Lilly strolling the Left Bank. Paris is well worth the visit — and may I suggest taking Baroness and Duchess with you?
P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Kindle Fire giveaway, which was extended! Enter here.