In the spring of 1972, my grandparents ventured off for a trip to Paris for the very first time. My grandfather being the ever-curious traveler, he loved spending his days exploring the cobbled streets that he could walk on for hour after endless hour, and his daily one-man gratinee de l’ogninon hunt looking for the best bowl he could find in Paris. Wondering the streets taking countless photo after photo and documenting what he did in his journals, he fully lived and took in all the amazing things that Paris has to offer. On April 22, 1972 he made a note. “bought Claudine a Paris dress, hat and little shoes today” I wish I could remember what that dress looked like. I’m sure it was very chic and maybe also was the basis of my love of shoes, but it certainly started my love of Paris.
My grandfather would wake up early, while my grandmother still slept and he would grab his camera bag and take off to explore the city. Stopping to sit outside with a coffee and a croissant, watching the people scurry by on their way to work. Climbing to the top of Notre-Dame de Paris and getting the many gargoyles frozen on film and overlooking the horizon of zinc-covered roofs, bridge after bridge, and the Eiffel Tower as the little crown on the landscape.
So then, we come to me, the girl with the French name that dreamed her whole life of France and Paris. My grandpa would show me all his pictures and tell me about Notre Dame, Napoleon, the perfect baguettes, and the lovely people he met in Paris.
Today when I am in Paris, I take a handful of his pictures with me and go back to the same exact place where he would stand and hold up that picture against the same fountain or statue that he looked at. And while he is no longer here with us today, every step I take in Paris I feel like I am walking in his footsteps within him beside me. Paris is a place I fell in love with before I ever sat on a terrace with a glass of Bordeaux looking at the sunset behind Eiffel Tower because of his stories and his photos. And the most beautiful thing of Paris is that as much as it changes, it stays the same. The history of Paris, the art and the beauty that is the Paris I want to share with everybody else, after all it runs in through our veins.
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