According to the New Oxford American Dictionary “the word ‘serendipity’ comes from the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.” I suggest that these were things that they consciously were not in quest of – yet. At least that is how serendipity works in my life. A chance meeting of an old acquaintance in a café leads to an introduction to someone who changes my life. This time around it was my plan to stay at my favorite hotel in Paris that was dashed when I discovered that it was booked for the next six months. I agonized. Then sanity prevailed and I realized that there must be a reason for this disruption of my grand plan. Perhaps there was another hotel or neighborhood that I was meant to explore? No room at the inn in the bohemian Latin Quarter led me to a quieter way of life in this 7th arrondisement. It is a neighborhood of high walls, narrow streets and the Eiffel Tower. I find it welcoming, comfortable and understated. And for the first time ever, I am renting an apartment. Apartment advantages: more room, a kitchen to prepare a few meals, a washing machine. Disadvantage: no maid service so it feels ever so slightly less like a real vacation when I am washing dishes and towels.
But back to serendipity and why I am here. I have returned to Paris to spend time in a place that occupies my imagination at least 50% of every day and to discover why. Serendipity guided me to a new neighborhood to discover the restaurant Chez L'Ami Jean (my next door neighbor), Le Chocolat par Michel Chaudun (two steps to the right) and Jean Millet Patisserie - 103 rue Saint Dominique - for morning croissant et un grand crème (ten steps to the left). So far, so good.