I stepped off the plane to beautiful snowflakes falling from the winter sky. I could feel my hands turning brittle and blue but I didn’t care. The streets twinkled up with holiday lights as I made my way to my home for the weekend. My friend stood by the door, waiting for my arrival. I teasingly laughed at her frozen lips before realizing that mine too were numb. We hurried inside freezing but gleaming with excitement and wonder. Our curtains wide open, we impatiently stared out the window waiting for our bodies to defrost.
An hour past, we made our way back down to the streets of Montmartre. My friend suggested we brunch at a cozy restaurant by our place. But I only had the Eiffel Tower on my mind. No ubers, no taxis. I felt determined to soak in as much of the city as I could. In our four hour walk—or rather run, since that was the only way we could keep warm—we toured through the historic Sacré-Cœur then the golden halls of the Lafayette and the divine Notre-Dame Cathedral, where we kissed the sacred Crown of Thorns relic after the midday service. We scurried to the Louvre where a crowd huddled around da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. An incredible sensation overcame my body as I stood just feet away from paintings and sculptures and histories that I had read about my entire life.
We could have spent three days straight at the Louvre, but with our ephemeral time in Paris, we forced ourselves out. A half hour later, I stood in front of the iron lattice that I had always dreamed of, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Have you ever dreamt of a place so badly, so passionately that when you actually make it there your body just glaciates in disbelief? My heart beat faster than I’d felt it. My lips, still numb from the crisp winds, stretched full across my face. My eyes widened with spirit. I’d always wished for a Winter Wonderland, and in that moment, I had found mine.