Rhinestone Cowgirls

The last few days of our Parisian holiday were open-ended and left to leisure, mood and whim. My friend had an interest in checking out the high-end boutiques that line the Champs-Elysées—especially Chanel where she hoped to pick up whatever was the cheapest item available—but gave up on this pursuit when she realized the sales staff could see us for the hokey Canadians we were, swiftly ignoring us while catering to the young, very wealthy, Asian clientele who actually had money to drop. H&M was welcoming though.

In the evening I took a slow stroll through the quiet backstreets of the 7th arrondissement, passing antique shops, used bookstores and other peddlers of Parisian history. I wondered about the original owners of the items (as well as their authenticity) when my eye caught several prints of Gustave Doré’s work that appeared to have been taken from a book. At a cost of 25 Euros each, the price wasn’t the issue so much as narrowing down which piece I wanted to decorate my home. But then my eye caught something else not as prominently displayed — the source itself, ‘La Bible’ illustrated by Gustave Doré. I quickly nabbed it. Regardless of price, THIS was to be my most prized souvenir from the trip. Books are a treasure. Weighing in at roughly 5lb, the 472-page hardcover book contains 241 of Doré’s wood-engraved illustrations. What a find! As this occurred after visiting his grave at Pere Lachaise, I couldn’t help but feel it was kismet.


Parisian drivers are insane. Another of the most memorable moments of my trip was when my friend and I, along with an older man, almost got hit by a car going through a red light. As it occurred, the older man jumped in front of the navy blue older model BMW and banged on the hood all while screaming obscenities at the driver. As they, in turn, made apologetic hand gestures towards us, the older man walked around to his window and started banging on it with even more fury. It was quite the show and not very common in friendly Canada.

As someone who walks the majority of the time, and am almost hit by a distracted driver at least once a week with no exaggeration, I didn’t blame him. His vocal defence of his life in this age of distraction is what I aspire to.


Exiting Pigalle metro station during daylight hours is a strange thing. Emerging onto a central boulevard, the first observation one might make are of the families strolling about with their children. The tree-lined green space of the boulevard provides a small, welcome respite for social gathering amongst the dense construction of the surrounding neighbourhood. As a woman, you might also notice the disproportionate number of men loitering and staring from each and every public bench. It can be a bit uncomfortable as you try and gather your bearings. But as the storefronts come into focus, you see that the contrast is far from wholesome. Businesses with names like “Sexodrome”, “Pussy’s” and the highly creative “Porno Shop” line the streets, with the Moulin Rouge and its iconic windmill being the primary attraction. For this is Pigalle, Paris’ famed sex district. My friend I decided to pay a visit while en-route to Sacre-Coeur Church.

We decided that “Sexodrome” seemed to be the most female-friendly (i.e. “not creepy”) establishment on the street. With five levels of merchandise, the store contained anything and everything one could possible desire for sexual intimacy (including a granny blow-up doll that advertised “no teeth” and a cock-and-balls kitchen apron that made me laugh so hard some of the more serious shoppers glared in my direction). My friend became interested in a rhinestone covered g-string that she referred to as a “tiara for my [redacted to keep this blog semi-classy]” but left empty-handed when we were told the only one available was displayed on a mannequin. There’s always floss and a bedazzler, I suppose. Traveling with a friend can give great inspiration for their future birthday gift.


The last day of our trip we visited the Palais Garnier, the very opulent Opera House in Paris that was inspiration for the musical ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Upon entering, one is greeted by a dark, violet-lit room with a subterranean feel mimicking the storied waterways that are said to exist beneath its structure. The higher levels you reach after climbing the Grand Staircase, such as the Grand Foyer, are as elaborate as Versailles; no matter how much gold I see, it always makes my jaw drop at how excessive it is. Literal floor to ceiling. It’s blinding. On this visit, there were even gold tires adorning the top of the Grand Staircase in celebration of the Paris E-Prix race that was days away.

It’s on my bucket list to attend a show here, in this baroque masterpiece. Unfortunately I was not able to see anything on this trip, although entering the balcony overlooking Place de l’Opera and watching Paris play out before me made me feel part of a greater performance of life.

The cobblestone streets of Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The cobblestone streets of Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Karl forever. Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Karl forever. Montmarte, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

View from atop Sacre-Coeur, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

View from atop Sacre-Coeur, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Paris’ sex district (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pont de l’Alma, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pont de l’Alma, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Le Village Royal, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Le Village Royal, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

I would guesstimate that 90% of the vehicles in Paris are black (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

I would guesstimate that 90% of the vehicles in Paris are black (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Entrance to Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Entrance to Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The gold tire adds a classy touch; the Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The gold tire adds a classy touch; the Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Staircase, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Salon du Glacier, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Salon du Glacier, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Ceiling detail, the Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Ceiling detail, the Grand Foyer, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

As a designer, one of my key takeaways of inspiration during this trip was the unbelievable ceiling work. This is the Salon du Soleil, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

As a designer, one of my key takeaways of inspiration during this trip was the unbelievable ceiling work. This is the Salon du Soleil, Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

View from the top of the Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

View from the top of the Palais Garnier, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

This is my “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” moment atop the Palais Garnier (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

This is my “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” moment atop the Palais Garnier (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

A sample of French packaging which always elevates the consumer experience. This is how my desserts from Laduree were presented (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

A sample of French packaging which always elevates the consumer experience. This is how my desserts from Laduree were presented (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Yet another indulgence from my trip, a pistachio Saint-Honoré from Laduree (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Yet another indulgence from my trip, a pistachio Saint-Honoré from Laduree (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

And drumroll … of all the fancy French desserts I ate over the course of my holiday, this simple vanilla bean eclair from Ladurre was absolutely my favourite. The rich vanilla flavour of both filling and icing was unbelievable (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

And drumroll … of all the fancy French desserts I ate over the course of my holiday, this simple vanilla bean eclair from Ladurre was absolutely my favourite. The rich vanilla flavour of both filling and icing was unbelievable (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

A Cemetery is a Great Place to Meet Someone

My favourite day in Paris was marked by an unexpected encounter while exploring a site for the dead.

But prior to that, I took the metro to an art exhibit that proved to be absolutely magical.

I saw pictures online of La Nuit Étoilée while researching my holiday and thought it might be hype to increase upfront sales when numerous publications warned to get tickets in advance. I did book MONTHS in advance, just in case (also because I’m “type-a”), and was relieved that I did because the exhibit was indeed sold out on the day I attended. I understood why when I entered; the animated exhibit is a completely immersive, multi-sensory show where the viewer becomes part of the artwork. Set in three parts—showcasing contemporary art, Japonaiserie and the iconic work of Vincent Van Gogh—this is something that must be seen to be believed.

Afterwards, my friend and I took a short walk to an unlikely tourist destination in Paris: Pere Lachaise cemetery, final resting place of artists, philosophers and rock stars of the ages. It’s such a landmark that people sell maps at the entrance. Being my frugal self, I pre-printed a map from the internet … that proved worthless. My friend and I quickly got lost while searching for the grave I wanted to pay respect to, that of my favourite artist Gustave Doré. As we walked amongst row after row of eerily creepy—often open—nineteenth-century crypts, I took a moment to rest against a tree and try to figure out exactly where we were amongst its 110 acres.

“Maybe a spirit guide will appear,” my friend commented.

And no word of a lie, within two minutes of her stating that a Frenchman approached us asking if we needed help finding anything.

He introduced himself as Glen and informed us he was a lawyer that lived and worked in Versailles. He debated traveling to Normandy that day for a dip in the English Channel but decided against it because of a questionable weather forecast, instead opting to visit one of his favourite places in Paris - this very cemetery. He then inquired about what grave we were looking for. When I told him “Gustave Doré” he was impressed; it was apparently a rarity that anyone requested to visit that site. As we made our way over, I noted that someone had once placed a small rock over a now weathered paper note left for the artist. Glen and my friend chatted while I also gave silent thanks to a man that has provided immense inspiration and wonder to my life.

After Gustave, my friend wanted to visit Pere Lachaise’s most famous (or infamous) gravesite - that of sixties icon and lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison. This grave is quite controversial within the cemetery and there have been numerous calls to remove it over the decades since he passed in 1971. Today, one can’t even walk up to it. A steel fence surrounds it and several of the perimeter headstones in order to protect against further vandalism. Even in death, rock stars require crowd control.

Glen seemed keen to continue the tour and ended up showing us around for over an hour. As someone who appreciates the macabre, I specifically asked to be taken to the creepiest parts of the cemetery. He happily obliged. These included some truly beautiful and haunting headstones and crypts depicting ghosts, spirits and the afterlife. There was even a crypt with a stained-glass window detailing the folklore behind the will-o’-the-wisp, once believed to be a phantom light but since explained via science.

At the end of our day, Glen asked if we wanted to go for a drink but my friend was feeling a bit tired and we declined. Prior to parting, I exchanged my business card with him in the hopes of keeping a well-informed contact in the city but I’ve never heard back.

Was Glen a spirit? Was he an actual lawyer seeking reflection in the calm of the necropolis? Or was he just a dude trying to hit on two foreign chicks? All I know is that a cemetery is a great place to meet someone. Dead or alive.

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The absolutely AMAZING La Nuit Étoilée exhibit at Atelier des Lumières in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The grave I most wanted to pay respects to, that of my favourite artist Gustave Doré at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The grave I most wanted to pay respects to, that of my favourite artist Gustave Doré at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Jim Morrison’s infamous gravesite at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Jim Morrison’s infamous gravesite at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

This grave in Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France is stunningly beautiful and haunting. It’s been  featured as artwork on album covers  (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

This grave in Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France is stunningly beautiful and haunting. It’s been featured as artwork on album covers (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Grave of Belgian poet and novelist Georges Rodenbach at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Grave of Belgian poet and novelist Georges Rodenbach at Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Pére Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

A Prince tribute show that I wish I got to see in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

A Prince tribute show that I wish I got to see in Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

In the City of Love, condom machines are readily available on the street, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

In the City of Love, condom machines are readily available on the street, Paris (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

My next indulgence: the signature desert of Angelina Paris, the Mont-Blanc, along with their famously rich hot chocolate. It was a bit too indulgent for me (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

My next indulgence: the signature desert of Angelina Paris, the Mont-Blanc, along with their famously rich hot chocolate. It was a bit too indulgent for me (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Disneyland for Foodies

La Grande Epicerie is a high-end, fine grocer in Paris’ 7th arrondissement that many describe as a “Disneyland for foodies”. It was high on my list to see as there really isn’t anything quite like it where I live. Anything one could possibly want from any culinary region of the world is available within its aisles from black truffles direct from Italy to Ethiopian passion berries (I bought both). There was even an American section that had overpriced Reese peanut butter cups and Hershey syrup, which offered great perspective on the food habits of North America compared to Europe. I never imagined I would take such delight in cooking after years of eating based just on convenience but now that my tastebuds have been awakened, I treat it less as a chore and more of an art form. The kitchen is now my canvas. La Grande Epicerie was the perfect place to evolve my palette further. My wallet and I came prepared.

At first I thought I would pace myself and wander before filling my handcart but after being met with the chocolate section, located right near the front entrance of course, that stance quickly went by the wayside. I must have spent at least twenty minutes studying all of the different types and their premium packaging. This wasn’t 7-11. Most of the bars on display here have won international awards for their taste and production, including the varieties I bought:

Bonnat Chocolatier Madagascar 100% Criollo: made with the rarest cocoa bean in the world, this bar was the silkiest I’ve ever eaten. Absolutely exceptional.

Chapon Chocolatés in Noir Fevory and Noir Bolivie: both winners at the International Chocolate Awards. The packaging for this brand is striking.

Dolfin Chocolate bars in lemon ginger, bitter orange and masala chai. Very flavourful.

Mademoiselle de’Margaux boxes in earl grey, raspberry and pear.

Indulging my sweet tooth was just the start though; the spice aisle is where my imagination really went wild! I bought several unique flavours of salt, including a pungent viking salt from Norway and a French espelette pepper salt that I now sprinkle on nearly everything, as well as spice blends from around the world, vanilla beans from Madagascar and Saint Lucia, black rice, smoked rice and even a pink rice coloured with beet juice that can traditionally be found at Indian wedding celebrations.

Besides all the ingredients I was set to haul home in a very, very packed suitcase, I also picked up a takeaway lunch from La Grande Epicerie’s in-house boulangerie. A simple sandwich with three visible components—roasted cajun chicken breast, guacamole and a fresh French baguette—I was so enraptured as I ate it that I completely zoned out of a conversation with my friend to focus on the flavour notes and mouth feel. It was easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve since tried to replicate it at home but haven’t been successful (giving me reason to return again one day).

When I returned to Canada, the first meal I made with purchases from La Grande Epicerie was a lemon rosemary garlic chicken with a side of herbed vegetables and black rice, served with an après dîner drink of absinthe. It was great to bring a bit of France home to share with my loved ones.


My friend and I also visited the Palace of Versailles. This was my third visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and while it forever remains preserved in time, it is always fascinating to experience it again (especially the gardens, which is one of my favourite places in the world).

Continuing my culinary adventures, I also purchased more spices here as well as tea made on the grounds that is the same recipe Marie Antoinette favoured during her reign (black tea with apple and fragrant rose petals).

Selfie in front of the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Selfie in front of the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Coordinating my outfit with the Palace of Versailles (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Coordinating my outfit with the Palace of Versailles (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Portrait of Marie-Antoinette at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Shuffle-room only at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Shuffle-room only at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Detail at the Palace of Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

In the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

In the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Bedroom detail at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Bedroom detail at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Canal of Versailles, one of my favourite views in the world (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

The Grand Canal of Versailles, one of my favourite views in the world (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Next indulgence: raspberry eclairs from a small bakery near the Eiffel Tower (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Next indulgence: raspberry eclairs from a small bakery near the Eiffel Tower (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Variety of spices purchased at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Variety of spices purchased at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Variety of spices purchased at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Variety of spices purchased at Versailles, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Black rice, also known as “forbidden rice”, purchased at La Grande Epicurie in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Black rice, also known as “forbidden rice”, purchased at La Grande Epicurie in Paris, France (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Preparing the marinade for lemon rosemary garlic chicken (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Preparing the marinade for lemon rosemary garlic chicken (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Preparing lemon rosemary garlic chicken (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Preparing lemon rosemary garlic chicken (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Lemon garlic rosemary chicken with herbed vegetables and black rice (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Lemon garlic rosemary chicken with herbed vegetables and black rice (©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Absinthe from France (55% alcohol content)(©Deborah Clague, 2019).

Absinthe from France (55% alcohol content)(©Deborah Clague, 2019).

After Life

On Saturday night, I can normally be found on my couch, in my velvet pyjama bottoms and faded Gudetama t-shirt, using my partner’s chest as a makeshift pillow as we watch nature documentaries on Netflix. The cocoon of our living room offering the solace craved by two introverts after a hectic week. A recent switch in our predictability though—at my unknowing behest—brought this splendour state to a sudden halt as I was confronted with memories that I’ve tried to keep at bay.

It was a simple change. Watching a new program listed in my recommendations list that was written, directed and starring one of my favourite comedians, Ricky Gervais. I assumed it was a comedy, and, at times, it is but ‘After Life’ is moreso an unflinching, uncomfortable, honest portrayal of grief and how it leaves those left behind to grapple uncharted emotions after losing a loved one. As we watched it on this particular Saturday night, I tried my hardest to hide the tears streaming down my face. To somehow cloak how relatable what I saw on screen was to my own reality. My partner knows … but I’ve always felt that until loss this deep happens to one personally, you don’t really understand. His parents are alive and healthy. It’s been five years since my father and best friend passed away in a matter of months after an unexpected terminal cancer diagnosis. And it’s been five years since my mother was hurled into a state of loneliness and depression that I, as an only child, have made my main duty in life to offset. It’s been a lot to shoulder and I feel the weight of it every day.

A scene in episode three really hit a nerve. In it, the main character reflects upon memories of the wife he lost while at one of their favourite places, the beach. The contrast between the love and laughter of the past with the sorrow and sadness of the present was incredibly well-acted. It made me ponder how I would feel, how I might viscerally react, during an upcoming trip to a place my father and I shared so many beautiful memories including our last adventure together just two months before he passed.

For in one week, I would be flying to Paris. It is a place forever intertwined with my own life story. A city that has provided inspiration, enchantment and hope (in addition to maternal family lineage).

I had no idea what this chapter would bring.

But I knew his ghost would be present.

Intertwined locks for both my father and I placed on Pont de l’Archevêché, near Notre-Dame Cathedral visible in background, in 2014 (©Deborah Clague).

Intertwined locks for both my father and I placed on Pont de l’Archevêché, near Notre-Dame Cathedral visible in background, in 2014 (©Deborah Clague).