As a mother of two, I am always seized with guilt when presented with an opportunity to travel without my kids, for work or pleasure. There should be a word for that unique biological clock that parents of adolescents keep. It beats to the tune of, “how many years do I have left with them under my roof? How many more Spring or Summer Breaks will they actually want to spend with us? How many more moments do I get where the door to her room is left wide open?” Years of late nights at work have already kept me from them, and they tend to remind me of the dinners and tuck-ins and read-a-louds I have regularly missed.
So when I recently received an invitation to Haute Couture SS20, I was both thrilled and riddled with guilt. How can I travel without them when I want to suck all the meat out of their fleeting childhood? Is a trip to Paris to take in fashion shows, selfish and frivolous? Would it make me a better parent if I stayed home and was present for pick up and soccer? In a perfect world I could have brought them with me, as I have in the past, but they are older now and school commitments must be honored. Happily my husband talked me into it. We decided I could and should sneak away for three days. Call it a wrap gift to myself after a nine year run on “Suits”, where my character’s sartorial choices proved an invaluable education on the art of fashion and how it celebrates and empowers the modern woman. And who knows what I could bring home to my children both literally and figuratively. As Audrey Hepburn’s character in Sabrina said, “Paris is for changing your outlook, for throwing open the windows and letting in…La Vie En Rose.”
After a sleepless overnight flight, I pulled up to the intentionally under the radar exterior of Hotel De Pourtales. I was graciously ushered behind the grand red door at No. 7 Rue Tronchet, through the 19th century courtyard, and into a spacious and beautifully appointed suite with enough bedrooms to sleep every member of my family without sharing (brief pang of guilt again)! I was so taken with the art and architecture of the place that Antoine Bidan, the executive assistant manager, enthusiastically took me on a tour of the newly renovated property culminating in the two story Penthouse Suite with 360 degree views of the city. Le Madeleine, The Eiffel tower, The Opera House, and Sacré-Cœur were on full display. So naturally, as a self-described theatre nerd, I belted out a few of my favorite bars from Les Miserables to the surrounding neighbourhood before heading to my room for a power nap.