The Right-Brain Side of Paris

The Right-Brain Side of Paris

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The plane leaves for Paris in 17 days, whether I’m on it or not. I keep adding to my to-do list to the point where it’s shutting me down, keeping me up at night. I can hardly accomplish one task before adding three more.

History, for instance. That strong voice of insecurity in my head keeps telling me I must take a crash course on French history before I embark on my 30-day walk. After all, history is the very core of every aspect of this grand city. But I’ve always hated history. The Louis XXXs and Napoleon – oh, I memorized who they were, but they stayed in my head just long enough to get a passing grade on an exam.

I’ve never been a reader, either, so you can imagine why I’ve avoided Victor Hugo and his miserable book. But that voice, the one that worries about my image, keeps telling me I must be up on a few of the newest titles when I visit that famous bookstore, Shakespeare And Company.

And art history? Those classes were some of T-H-E most boring I took while in college and I was forced to take a passel of them. You see, modern art is much more to my liking. Like graffiti – it has so much more life and energy, much better colors than a nude or some stone sculpture from the Renaissance. Don’t you agree?

So this morning, as I sat in my bubble bath, trying to calmly de-hype, de-clutter and focus, I realized that it’s ok not to know the history of Paris nor all the art periods. I don’t have to include that in my blog posts – there are plenty of books written about all that.

I realized that I was given the gift to see things differently. God spent way more time on the right side of my brain than he did on the left. And that’s ok.

One of the nice things about being almost 60 is that you become so much more comfortable in your own skin, so much more appreciative of the talents that define you. Yeah, I get a pit in my stomach when my friends talk about their book clubs, or they quote history as a basis of today’s politics, but does it drive me to run buy the latest bestsellers?

No, I’d rather have breakfast with a famous graffiti photographer or interview a French mom about the schools in her country. I’d prefer to study the ligatures on the headstones in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, or walk the streets of Isle Saint Louis and take photos of the beautiful handmade shutters and door knockers.

So, girls and boys, I’m marking Louis and that Napoleon guy off my list. Come hell or high water, I will be on that plane!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  If you’d like to follow my 30-walk across Paris, be sure to sign up for email alerts or join my Facebook page. I plan to find some real surprises while there – stuff you never read about – and I’d love to share them with you.


  • Karean Williams
    Posted at 16:28h, 12 August

    I would like to have a page like this to blog my travels. Would like for you to go to India with us…Perhaps in March. I so enjoy your adventure. Please keep writting.

    • Lisa Stapleton Weldon
      Posted at 23:15h, 05 December

      you still going to India in March? Just wondering…

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 17:53h, 12 August

    oh, don’t ask me twice about India. It’s definitely on my list. And feel free to use this blog or my Facebook page to share your travels. Both my blog and my Facebook site and here for the use of anyone who is living out a dream.

  • Kitsie
    Posted at 18:48h, 12 August

    Lisa –
    I felt the same way when I went to Paris about the history thing. I can recite all of Henry the VIII’s wives but couldn’t tell one Napoleon from another ( and I like history – but French history is so hmmm – non-linear?). Anyway, I think the best way to learn history is to visit and see it in context which is exactly what you’re doing. A good read is “The Paris Wife” – fictional account about Hemingway’s first wife and their life in Paris. Puts you in the mood and its easy to get into. Enjoy!

    • Lisa Stapleton Weldon
      Posted at 23:16h, 05 December

      Just read Paris Wife. LOVED it!!!! Thanks for recommending it.

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 19:56h, 12 August

    “The Paris Wife” – you’re the third person to tell me about this book. I may be forced to read it.

  • My "Sophisticated" Life
    Posted at 11:34h, 17 August

    I was just about to write that you should forget all of the “shoulds” and just do and know what makes you happy, but then you got around to it yourself! You’re going to be fabulous and I can’t wait to read along the way!

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 11:40h, 17 August

      I’ve got to remind myself of that. I ‘should-ing’ myself to death right now!
      I just need to get on that airplane and go!

  • Ally T.K.
    Posted at 02:21h, 19 August

    Thank you for an honest post, I’m glad that you’re honoring your own perspective on things – I really look forward to seeing Paris through your eyes.

  • Vetan Vali
    Posted at 17:10h, 23 August

    Thanks for this great post

  • Janis Miller
    Posted at 12:47h, 24 August

    I learned to love history by reading historical romances when I was quite young. It really puts the spice back into history when you know the personal lives of all of those dry factual people in history books. “Desiree” is a wonderful book about Napoleon’s first sweetheart who he threw over for Josephine. Now that’s history!

    The nice thing is that French history just seeps into your pores wherever you go in Paris. So do as you’ve decided, just “be” in the most wonderful city there is!

  • lisaweldon
    Posted at 12:57h, 24 August

    I had one incredible history teacher in the 7th grade – she taught her lessons in story format, not ‘memorize this, memorize that’ – because of her I did get hooked a bit on American history. My kids had a teacher in high school who used to dress up in period styles. I remember one lesson he taught. He read a letter from a husband at war, a letter to his young bride back home. He was an incredible history teacher.