In the cloying cold that consumed most of Europe a few weeks ago, spending any considerable amount of time outdoors was unthinkable. Physically impossible, even. But when the sun resurfaced at the height of the Siberian cold front in Paris, locals enthusiastically broke free from hibernation to bask in the fleeting rays and hit the temporary ice skating rink in front of Hôtel de Ville.
It was during this time that I was meant to be catching up over hot cocoa and sweets with my dear friend Susan from Philadelphia, who told me last fall that she'd be returning to Paris just before Valentine's Day. But between that exciting conversation (I rarely have visitors!) and the new year, she learned she was expecting twins and traveling abroad, understandably, dropped far down the list of priorities.
While she was here, she was planning on organizing a little surprise for her husband for Valentine's Day. She asked me to coordinate in her absence so on the brightest (and most arctic) Saturday of 2012, my husband and I ventured to the Pont des Arts, a 19th century foot-bridge best known for the engraved padlocks that adorn its railings. In 2010, the city vowed to remove over 2,000 padlocks which they felt defaced the monument. Almost overnight, all the locks were stripped but the city's success at restoring the "purity" of the tourist site was short-lived. Ultimately, the amorous were victorious and this vibrant array of love locks remains a permanent fixture of the bridge today.
I'm sure you can guess what I helped Susan do but click HERE to read her story and see how it all turned out! A simple gesture that made Mr. Fleurishing a very happy Valentine.
*Franco File Friday will return next week!
**My first article in print has just hit newsstands! If you happen to be in France, pick up a copy of the bilingual food/cooking/design magazine Fricote where I contributed an interview with food trailblazer, Kristin Frederick of Le Camion Qui Fume.