I am going to Paris. Again.
There are work commitments claiming certain days there, but other days are unscheduled and uncommitted. They are available for caprice.
One of the first days of every visit to Paris I inevitably stop before some corner flower store. Nowhere on my list of things to do or places to go have I included this or any florist’s shop windows. In tracking in advance the time and location of organ concerts and gallery exhibits, I tend to forget the beauty of fragile petals opening on a stem in a Paris flower shop window.
I have purchased flowers once from such a store and walked outside with them in my arms.
I have ordered flowers once and had them waiting in a Paris hotel room.
I have been given flowers once on a Paris sidewalk, bought minutes before from a flower store about to close for the night in the eighth arrondissement.
Flowers are a language I understand. I usually forget until I get to Paris that I can speak it and understand it even there.
I am not a tourist when I look at flowers in Paris. They are not a souvenir. They are not a memento. They are what they would be if I saw them in a florist’s window in Boston or New York or New Orleans. They are a tribute to the person who gets stopped in his tracks by them. They are a tribute to the person who has to catch her breath when they first lie in her arms.
They are extravagance.
They are an extravagance that so suits Paris.
On the other hand, no one sees a photograph I take of them and exclaims, “Ah, Paris!” Only I know the story they tell of the Seine and the streets that lead down to it and the dream I get to live when the flowers and I walk together down those streets.
Image from Artisan Fleuriste