Happy New Year! Bonne Année! As we turn over the page on the very peculiar year and begin what we so hope will be a better 2021, I wanted to reflect back to 2020 and to some of the positive attributes it had too! One of the main things for me… was you! To thank all my wonderful readers… there is a present for you at the end! Enjoy and I Paris is awaiting your return, hopefully this year!
Like almost everyone on the globe, there was no way I could have imagine what 2020 would have in store as I sat enjoying a gorgeous sunset on January 1st on this beautiful beach in Sri Lanka. The year started so well! I was in the middle of my (previously) annual winter trip to a warm destination. I adore Paris… but less so during the grey and rainy winters!
My winter trip 2019/20 started with a grand tour of Sri Lanka and then was followed by some new discoveries in India. I fell in love with Sri Lanka! The country has the perfect combination of history, amazing cultural sites, stunning nature, fabulous food and lovely locals. See my articles on it here.
I then traveled up the southwestern India state of Kerala (gorgeous!), took a harrowing 13 hour bus ride to Mysore to visit its awe-inspiring palace (two above, well worth the treacherous trip), traveled up to the mind-blowing ruins of Hampi (above) before relaxing on the beach in Goa then stopping by Delhi to see friends on my way back to Paris…
Paris. I arrived back on February 12th. I was filled with story ideas I wanted to pitch to travel sites about my trip, I was thrilled to be able to catch up with friends over delicious meals (like above with Gail of Perfectly Paris apartment rentals and Véro of France with Véro) and I launched my own tours on romantic Paris on February 14th. This was just as the ripples of the pandemic were starting to spread. In the end, sadly, no one was able to join those tours this season….
Things changed so quickly and by mid-March, international travel was prohibited and we were under a strict lockdown in Paris. Millions of people were devastated to not be able to visit Paris, and we too were heartbroken to not have you here. To help bring a little bit of Paris to you, I did mini video tours on my exercise walks, wrote some nice arm chair travel articles (like this one on best views from Montmartre) and then the idea of There’s Only One Paris was sparked.
Writing and reading out those weekly stories granted those following the project a window into Paris and a way to connect with the city from afar. But it also helped me. Someone who thrives on keeping busy and who’s normally very social, the lockdown was very difficult for me. The project kept me busy, fostered my creativity and connected me with some wonderful new people who shared a mutual love of Paris (read more on that in this article for Bonjour Paris). Some of these people helped support me by joining my private club with the reward of copies of the forthcoming book, my detailed romantic guides per arrondissement and other great perks (see more on it here).
Although international travel still hadn’t resumed by summer, like many of us had hoped, the situation did give me a chance to rediscover parts of France. I often travel further afield, the pandemic did give me a new appreciation of the country. I had a wonderful trip down to Marseille and Provence which you can read about it these articles for my site and HiP Paris. I also managed a little trip up to England and another one to southern Portugal.
Back in Paris for the arrival of autumn, we were still disappointed that we couldn’t welcome our friends from the States, as we’d hoped for. Nevertheless, I kept busy working long days (and some nights) to finish up the book! Released at the end of October, your encouragement, enthusiasm and great feedback about the book helped get me through the difficult times! If you’re new to the site, find out more about the book and how to get a copy of it here.
I hope that I could transport you to Paris this year in creative ways, however, I hope you’ll be able to come back in person asap! In the meantime, to thank you for everything I have a little present to help bring Paris to you! Here is a sneak peak of the audiobook! Click on the link below to be transported to Paris via the story Picnics and Surprises along the Seine… the story which covers the most of the city. Members of our private club have advance access to the chapters as I finish them and the full book should be available shortly for sale. I hope you like it!