When Miranda Patricia Robertson matched with Nicolas Robert Michel Bayle on the dating app Bumble in 2018, Ms. Robertson had also recently reconnected with what she called “the love of my life” — the city of Paris.
A native of Princeton, N.J., Ms. Robertson, 36, had first fallen for the French capital at age 12 when she visited it with her parents. Her affection deepened in 2007, the year she did a study abroad program at the Universeité de Paris IV (also known as Paris-Sorbonne University), before graduating from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Mr. Bayle, 35, who is from Les Molières, France, a town about an hour from Paris, spent his college years at ESC Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France. While there, he had his sights set on the United States and, following his graduation, he enrolled at Dartmouth College in 2012.
After earning an M.B.A. from Dartmouth in 2014, Mr. Bayle took a job in London. In November 2017, he returned to France and began working as a senior manager of strategic insights at LesFurets in Paris, a company that helps consumers compare financial products and insurance policies.
By then, Ms. Robertson had spent close to a decade living and working in Manhattan, where she had moved after college. But over the years, she had never ruled out the possibility of trading her life in the U.S. for one in France.
“I wanted to return one day to get a feel for what it’s like to really live and work here,” she said. “Ever since my first trip, it was my life dream to move to Paris.”
That day came in 2018, when Ms. Robertson, an event director at AAB Productions, a company in New York that plans events and fund-raisers worldwide, agreed to let her work remotely in Paris.
She relocated to the city that April and two months later began exchanging messages on Bumble with Mr. Bayle, who said he had been captivated by Ms. Robertson’s smile in her profile photos.
“Here was this beautiful, bubbly American girl,” he said of encountering her on the app.
They met in-person that June at the Jardin du Luxembourg, also known as the Luxembourg Garden, in Paris. But it wasn’t exactly a first date.
“It felt like an interview,” Ms. Robertson said.
While sparks might not have flown, each sensed something special in the other. “Her enthusiasm for life was very refreshing,” said Mr. Bayle, who Ms. Robertson said was “very handsome, very considerate and very polite.”
“From the beginning, I felt I could totally trust him and be entirely myself with him,” Ms. Robertson added.
Shortly after their afternoon in the garden, they arranged what both said was their first official date: a picnic at the Parc Montsouris, in the city’s 14th Arrondissement, where Ms. Robertson had never been.
There, the two talked over rosé wine, bread and olives. Mr. Bayle told Ms. Robertson that he was raised Roman Catholic. She told him that she is a Quaker and an only child who was close to her parents, Mary Pat Robertson and Michael Robertson. (So close that, after she relocated to Paris, they eventually moved from Princeton to London to be nearer to her.)
She learned that Mr. Bayle also has close ties with his parents, Dominique Lerebour and Patrick Bayle, who divorced when he was 8-years-old. His father is now married to Emmanuelle Bayle, and his mother’s partner is Pierre Seiler.
As he spent time with Ms. Robertson, Mr. Bayle said he began worrying that her “rose-colored view of Paris,” as he put it, might eventually fade, and that she might begin to look at the Seine as any other river, or the Arc de Triomphe as just another monument, and decide to return to New York, or Princeton, or maybe even head to London.
But those fears did not stop them from continuing to date, and over the following months, she became as much a fixture of his life in Paris as any of its centuries-old attractions.
“She brought such a great balance to my life that I couldn’t imagine being without her,” said Mr. Bayle, who introduced Ms. Robertson to his family in early 2019. “My mother and sister, who really loved Miranda, would not have wanted her to go, either.”
“Losing her would have just been awful,” he added. “So I did everything I could to keep her around.”
Ms. Robertson, although not exactly sure of her long-term plan, became equally smitten with Mr. Bayle. “Most of all I appreciated how patient he was, especially early on when we would talk, and my French was a little rusty,” she said.
The moment that sealed their relationship, Ms. Robertson said, happened on their first vacation together: a trip to Burgundy, France, in January 2019.
“We toured and explored Burgundy all day and night, and just had a blast,” Ms. Robertson said. “When we returned to our hotel room, he just started dancing, and then we both started dancing, we were having that much fun.”
By the time Ms. Robertson and Mr. Bayle traveled to Scotland together nine months later, in October 2019, both felt like they never wanted to be apart. The following year, on Jan. 1, 2020, they moved into an apartment together in Paris.
They would spend more time together than they ever dreamed possible with the emergence of the coronavirus.
“When Paris went into an extreme lockdown, we both began working remotely, sitting back to back in a really tiny room,” Ms. Robertson said.
“It was a very challenging time,” she added, “but the challenge made it clear to us that even under those circumstances, we worked pretty well together.”
Though Mr. Bayle agreed that “the virus made us closer as a couple,” he waited until France’s third lockdown ended to propose to Ms. Robertson.
“I wanted the moment to be special and not linked to our Covid memories,” Mr. Bayle said. Knowing he “wanted to propose in the middle of beautiful nature,” he planned to do it on a trip they took to Alsace, a historical region in Northeastern France, in May 2021.
On May 28, 2021, while they were on a morning hike through quiet woods to the Cascade du Hohwald, a waterfall in Le Hohwald, France, he dropped to one knee and asked Ms. Robertson to marry him.
She said yes, and they celebrated over lunch in Colmar, a city known for its magnificent architecture, where they shared a good amount of the region’s sparkling wine, Crémant d’Alsace.
“I felt totally on cloud nine the rest of the weekend,” Ms. Robertson said.
The couple were married on March 5 in a civil ceremony at the Town Hall of Les Molières, whose mayor, Yvan Lubraneski, officiated before 40 vaccinated guests, who included both sets of parents.
Later that day, they held a religious ceremony with 100 vaccinated guests in attendance. It was led by the Rev. Christian Remond, a Roman Catholic priest, at the nearby Église Saint-Clair de Gometz-le-Chatel, a church in Gometz-le-Chatel, France.
Following the ceremonies, the couple and their guests enjoyed a reception at the Domaine de Quincampoix, a centuries-old private estate turned events venue in Les Molières.
Reflecting on the wedding, the bride said that her love for Paris “has led me to find the love of my life.”
“To me, meeting and falling in love with Nico was a sure sign that I truly belonged here,” she added.
On This Day
When March 5, 2022
Where Town Hall of Les Molières, France
Compliments, the Quaker Way In honor of the bride’s faith, the couple’s 60-person rehearsal dinner on March 4 began with the Quaker wedding tradition of individual guests taking a moment to say nice things about the soon-to-be-married pair.
Gone Hiking The newlyweds, both avid hikers, say the pastime will again play a prominent role in their relationship because they plan to eventually spend their honeymoon hiking in Norway, a place they’ve not yet visited together.
Source: NY Times