It doesn't happen often but there are moments when I miss Paris. I lived in and around Paris for about eight years. I saw its beauty, romance, all the things which tourists dream about. I was lucky enough to have lived in some beautiful areas - Versailles, the 6th arrondissement - the very heart of the city.
I also dabbled with the dark side of Parisian life - during the riots of 2005 I was living in one of the suburbs where the usual sirens, shouts and violence tripled for a couple of weeks, and we were told to stay indoors after dark. Life at Château Rouge in the 18th arrondissement was eye opening. A fun, vibrant neighbourhood during the day, at night I would be woken up by drug fuelled fights both outdoors and in my apartment block. The area hasn't actually changed that much since the time of Zola.
I ran away from Paris in the end, with my husband. We needed to leave our pasts, and start a new life together. The once idealised view I had of that incredible city is now tainted by real life. When I first moved there the Gare du Nord seemed like a portal to a very exciting unknown. By the time I left it was nothing but a reminder of a day when I cried more tears than I thought I had.
I try and think about happy times, or carefree moments, and they are like rare flashes in the darkness. I grasp them for a moment but have to let go, as when I remember the good times, the bad times poke their nose in and remind me why I left.
It's about five years ago since we planned our escape to the sticks. I have hardly been back. Last year we went back briefly, less than 24 hours, and didn't go into the city at all but stayed firmly in the suburbs.
But now I have a little girl, and another on the way. At some point they will want to go and see their capital city. Paris will be to them like London was to me as a child - the place to be, far more interesting than here. They will probably dream of moving there, studying there. I will have to block out the past and take them to visit. We'll start no doubt with Disneyland - I've never been, and it's only a few hours away. And then when they are a little older we will go to the city and see the sights.
And it is days like today, when I briefly miss Paris, that I look forward to taking my daughters there and seeing it through their eyes. I hope to rediscover the magic, and the history, and the beauty, and create new memories there. Memories which won't be overshadowed by fear, loneliness and broken hearts.