Seeking Pleasant Surprises

By Sandy Sims / February 21, 2012

stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral

I went on a whirlwind four day trip to leave some of my mom’s ashes in her favorite city, Paris. I am traveling a lot these days and one exercise I find extremely useful and rewarding is to seek pleasant surprises and acknowledge them as they occur. A pleasant surprise is just that. Of course I like to think that we have invisible partners that arrange them, but this is just my belief system.

You don’t think about going to Paris in the Winter, but when the sun shines it can be quite pleasant with a warm coat, hat, gloves, and scarf. My first pleasant surprise came when the adjacent seat in coach, which I refer to as sardine class, was the only empty seat that I could see on the entire plane. Being able to stretch out just a little bit is a god send on a 10 hour plus flight.

I was traveling with Larry Hauer and Jeannie Smiley. They had made this trip before so much of the ground work had been done.  Our boutique three star hotel, the Villa Martin, in the 10th district was another pleasant surprise. It was but a short walk from the magnificent Gare du l’Est. train station. The small room and bath was modern, clever, inviting and simply well thought out, especially the lighting. The staff of young women all spoke English and best of all the smile was a permanent condition of their faces.

On a short trip if you master the subway, you can sample a wide range of Parisian delights. Drawn to sacred geometry I had always wanted to see the Rose windows of the  Cathedral at Chartres, We did. I was not disappointed.  Hoping on the subway in minutes we were at the  mus’ee de Orsay, one of the most inviting and tasteful buildings on the planet. It is a converted train station whose architectural elements accentuate the exquisite art deco, impressionist and art noveau treasures it houses. The cafe there is a must, a feast for both the eyes and the palette.

A cruise on the Seine, expressos at the myriad of  sidewalk bistros, and a stroll through Monmarte. I could go on, but you get the drift.  Few cities can give you day for day what Paris can. It is one big pleasant surprise.

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