My husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary a year ago today in Paris. Knowing now the violence that would rock the city six months later, that dinner has accrued much more meaning for me. It has become a celebration not just of our wedding, but of a multiculturalism, tolerance and camaraderie that world events — and provincial fears — threaten to destroy. Let’s not let them.


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The first time we visited Paris, we got hopelessly lost in the Seventh Arrondissement.

That’s how we stumbled onto L’Atelier.

I knew of the chef, Joel Robuchon, thanks to a Christmas gift. Years before, my mom had given me “Simply French: Patricia Wells Presents The Cuisine Of Joel Robuchon.” Ever since, I’d dreamt of eating at his L’Atelier.

Last month, I got to. In honor of our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband reserved space (a year in advance!) for the restaurant’s 6:30 p.m. seating.

I have to confess: I was a little nervous. Our French is only cafe-passable. And the last time we ate at a high-end, award-winning restaurant (my Bluestem in Kansas City), we left feeling like wannabes among the popular crowd. If my hometown eatery made us feel like interlopers, what hope did a couple of non-fluent Yanks have at L’Atelier?

I shouldn’t have worried. The wait staff was kind, attentive and utterly charming…

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