April in Paris, by Rich Paschall

One April early in the 21st millennium, I actually was in Paris. I thought it would be exciting, even a bit romantic. I am not sure my travel companion saw it in the same light. Although he had never been out of the country before, he did not seem overly excited about the trip, much to my chagrin.

At the time I was working for a freight company that had acquired a nice collection of gifts for Christmas. Since they did not have something for everyone, they raffled off the gifts they had. The top prizes were the airline tickets.

Of course, I had hoped to win the Air France vouchers but doubted it could be so with such a large group. There were other nice prizes and I would have been happy with any of them. When they called my name for the tickets, I thought it could not be true and it must have been for some other prize. I was delighted to receive the top prize.


There were not really many blackout dates, but you were not allowed to cash in the vouchers long in advance. This would allow many summer flights to sell out before you had a chance to claim the date. Being afraid we wouldn’t find a suitable date if we waited too long, we decided on late April. We hoped for small crowds and good weather. We got one of the two.

Frommer’s Guide to Paris was an invaluable resource back then, not just for the hotel, but also for how to get around the city. We found the best ways to visit the main tourist sites. We learned how to get from Charles De Gaulle Airport to our hotel in the St. Germain neighborhood. The location was ideal as the metro was nearby. With a little planning and a lot of luck, we were on our way.

Our tiny room had a small balcony that looked out on an old Paris street. The room had a tiny refrigerator which allowed us to stash a few items so we could save on all the expensive restaurant meals. A small grocery store nearby was a welcome site for a few essentials. Paris is not cheap.

The first night we made it through the rain to a small restaurant nearby. I spoke no French at the time and the people at the restaurant spoke no English. We were not certain what we ordered, but we started with French Onion soup which was nothing like the French Onion soup you get here. The broth was clear and the onions were fresh. It was great. No soggy old onions in a beef broth. I do not recall what beef dish I had; I do recall it was quite good.

In the few days we were in France we saw the Eiffel Tower and actually went to the top of it. We also saw Notre Dame years before the fire, St. Germain des Pres, Versailles, the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, the Cathedral at Chartres, and many wonderful local spots. Despite the cold and damp weather most of the time, it was April in Paris!  What could be better?

In honor of this delightful little memory, I have our top 5 April songs. I wanted to give you 10 songs as always, but I could not think of that many.

5. The April Fools, Burt Bacharach, Hal David. The theme is from the movie of the same name. In the film, Jack Lemmon meets the married Catherine Deneuve and decides to run off with her to Paris. In this instrumental version, the pictures of Paris do not come up until 15 seconds in. As Neil Patrick Harris might say, “Wait for it.”

4. April Love, Pat Boone. This theme is from a movie that starred Pat Boone and Shirley Jones. The song was nominated for an Academy Award and was a big hit for Boone.

3. April Showers, Al Jolson. The old vaudevillian debuted this song in 1921 on Broadway. He recorded it a few times, including a recording for a film of his life story in 1946. In August of 1949, Jolson sang April Showers at Chicago’s Soldier Field. You can catch a rare video of that along with “My Mammy” here. He died in 1950.

2. April Come She Will, Simon and Garfunkel. The song was recorded for the album Sounds of Silence in 1965 and released in 1966. Here it is performed in the historic Central Park concert.

1. April in Paris, Ella Fitzgerald. The hit song has been recorded by many. The Ella Fitzgerald version helped to popularize it. Here she is performing Live at Jazz Pour Tous, Brussels, Belgium, in 1957.

Categories: Anecdote, Music, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. I ALWAYS wanted to go to Paris. Never made it. I remind myself that I spent more years overseas than most travelers. Months in England, Wales, and Ireland. But never made it to Paris. Really, I wanted to go to Paris in 1890, but one must settle for reality. I’m afraid it will never happen now. I don’t have the energy to walk all those streets anymore, but I still yearn for Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. how lucky and what a trip to remember, in spite of the less than perfect weather


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