I had forgotten how much I love downtown Chicago.
After all, it had been years. I've driven though and changed planes there, but it had been years since I'd truly been there. Once upon a time, it was a city I played in, tooling around town with S., my Winnetka friend, and spending afternoons at the Art Institute or in the park. He was a student at Northwestern then, and in those days I learned the drive between suburb and city by heart.
My husband has roots in Chicago as well, in the same North Shore suburbs. Chicago was the city he learned to love as a kid. After 20 years of marriage, this was our first stay together in Chicago.
Oh, sweet. it was sweet. Nothing can come between me and my Paris, but I found traces of Paris in Chicago. The cafés, mostly lined with broad planters, giving diners a bit of privacy. The tall, fashionably dressed women. The water taxis and excursion boats on the river. And finally, the parks and gardens.
This garden to the west of the old Water Tower reminded me of Paris, perhaps because it is across from a French restaurant I will certainly try on our next trip.
Our hotel was surrounded by steak houses, of course, and the aroma from 5 to 10 p.m. each night was tantalizing.
Having Chicago a half-day's drive away just might tide me over until Paris.