My sister has been to Paris many times. "I can't count the number of times I have been to Paris," she tells me.
Often she comes in the winter. Her son is a wine merchant. He comes to France several times a year for business. My sister comes along to help his wife with the kids while her son works.
This year she asks me to come along.
We arrive on January 27. We stay until February 12. Winter in Paris is cold. And wet. And beautiful.
I load up my Kindle with Paris books...travel guides...cookbooks...histories of Paris...poems from Paris...
But I only take along one real book. It's Paris in Winter: An Illustrated Memoir by David Coggins.
It is the perfect book for my trip.
Here's the first page:
"What do you do in Paris every winter? You stay for such a long time."
"We look at art, which makes us hungry. So we eat, which is really why we go to Paris."
"How many years have you been doing this?"
"Twenty or thirty."
"Always in winter?"
"We've gone to France in all seasons."
"Why winter? We were there in winter once. It was cold."
"Fewer tourists. Sometimes it's cold. Often it's very pleasant. It's beautiful really, the spareness outside, the warmth inside."
"You've been to lots of places."
"We like to travel."
"Don't you ever get bored going back to Paris?"