paris: a dream come true…
Posted in paris, personal, pia's photos August 6th, 2010 by pia

Once upon a time there was a little girl who heard about a beautiful, enchanting city in a land far far away where people wore berets, ate something called ‘baguette’, and spoke what she immediately decided must be one of the prettiest languages in the world. She learnt about all the ancient stone buildings that stood tall and magnificent along the long, winding river that ran through the middle of the city, and she listened to songs sung in this pretty language. The little girl fell in love with the idea of this magical city, and consequently spent many hours, days, months, and years dreaming about what it might be like to wander its cobblestones streets. Time went by and life went on but still, the idea of this city and the country it was a part of remained in her heart and in her dreams.

That was over 80 years ago, some time around 1930. As we all know too well, life goes on and dreams get put on shelves. For this little girl, wars came and went, lovers stole her heart, children were born, then grandchildren, and then great grandchildren, her body became more fragile but still, she never forgot about her dream and she never lost hope that one day she might see this beautiful city in person – she always dusted the shelf where her dream lay waiting for her.

Today, that little girl is 90 years old. Her name is Joyce and she is my beloved great aunt who, when I was a little girl, taught me how important it was to dream and how important it was to keep dreams alive. When I visited her back home in Sydney this past January, she told me that this year she was determined to get to Paris, the city of her dreams. I told her, “If you go, no matter where I am in the world or what I’m doing, I will be there with you – I will not miss it for the world.”

Yesterday was the day her dream came true.

Together with her daughter Kathy, myself and Romain, the four of us strolled through the jardin des plantes, took in the view of the notre dame along pont sully, had lunch at café Louis-Philipe, wandered along the surrounding streets all the while taking in the sights and scenery. She can’t quite believe it is happening, and I am beyond ecstatic to be here with her and show her some of the Paris that I have come to know and love.  This afternoon we plan to go to Montmatre to see the Sacre Coeur and have an aperitif in a little bar somewhere along the way. It’s not an easy feat with a wheelchair in tow, but so far we have managed. Countless times Aunty Joyce said to me yesterday, “Why has it taken me so long to get here?” and I said, “It doesn’t matter, you are here now, and it just goes to show you, dreams can come true” and she added “yes, and age is just a word”.

I’ll be back to show you some photos of our adventure in Paris some time next week, for now, let’s linger on the realisation that it is never too late to dust off your dreams and fly with them.  Bonne journee mes amis.


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  1. Emma says

    Oh what a beautiful story Pia, how wonderful that you have been able to share her dreams too ;0)

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  2. Susannah says

    okay, that made me weepy – i’m so happy for your Aunty Joyce! x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  3. Tara Bradford says

    How fantastic! So thrilled you’re able to share this great adventure with your family! Hope to see you in Amsterdam soon. xo

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  4. ingrid says

    What perfectly magical and special memories you are all collecting. For ever more you shall follow your dreams with the belief that they really can come true…

    Sometimes it’s not only the destination but the journey that captures the imagination and feeds the soul…

    Ingrid x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  5. Melissa says

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story! It is so touching to hear how much your aunt is enjoying it and such a fabulous reminder that we should never give up on our dreams, no matter how many obstacles may seem to be in our way.
    Melissa xx

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  6. kylie j says

    that is truly one of the most beautiful stories I ever heard. never giving up on a dream or wish… truly inspirational. happy birthday great aunt Joyce! how blessed you are for so many reasons… including a grandniece to share the memory with. love to you all. x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  7. Alexia says

    This is a lovely story…

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  8. Kirsty says

    I just love this post. Dreams are so important… I’m currently dreaming of taking my little man to Paris for the very first time and this has inspired me to take it a little bit further than just a dream.


    August 6th, 2010 | #

  9. Kathy VK says

    Oh my, reading this post, a smile, tears and a lump in my throat.
    What a gift to be part of this journey and what a lovely way to start my day. Thank you!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  10. Will says

    What a charming, touching and emotive post, Pia. Enjoy Paris with your Gran – I’ d love to take mine there, too. Will

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  11. MK says

    Paris is a magical city that dreams are made on… Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  12. Masha says

    What a beauriful story, Pia…so inspiring. Dreams make our lives worth living and I’m happy that your grant aunt got to make her dream come true.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  13. Haley says

    This made me tear up.

    Hooray for realized dreams.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  14. Lili says

    What a beautiful story! I can’t wait to see the photos you captured on this lovely outing. It’s so wonderful that you got to be there with her and see it through her eyes as well. 🙂

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  15. The Design Dish says

    Oh Paris! I dream of it daily! Love you blog, I just found it!
    The Design Dish

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  16. Bianca says

    Oh what a beautiful little story..and what a great dream to come true for your great aunty! I hope that the beauty of Paris and her adventures there have fulfilled her dreams..
    It just became my 25th birthday 24 minutes ago and this was the first post I read and it has inspired me to dust off my dreams from the shelf and begin to fly to wherever they may take me.. thank-you for your beautiful and inspiring blog x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  17. Anali says

    So happy that you and your Aunt Joyce are having such a good time! It’s wonderful that you’re able to be there with her. I have an Aunt Joyce that I’m close to as well, so I smiled when I saw her name. Bon weekend!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  18. Julie Hatcher says

    What a lovely story. Go girls.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  19. Laughter-Loving Stacy says

    What a wonderful story! I am soooo happy for your grandmother! I hope it’s even more magical than she dreamed. 🙂

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  20. Christine says

    Such a beautiful story! It must be amazing to share the experience with her. I love Paris too–use to live across from Jardin des Plantes. Can’t wait to hear more. Have a beautiful weekend!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  21. sandra says

    i’m so happy aunty joyce’s dream finally came true. i have the same dream — hopefully it will happen a little sooner. have a wonderful time in paris joyce!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  22. Amy says

    This brought tears to my eyes!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  23. Barb McMahon says


    I’m sitting here crying happy tears for you and Aunty Joyce and the rest of your party. I’m so glad she’s able to make this trip with the best guide in the world!

    The other night over dinner, we told our dear friend Fiona that we want to be her guides in Paris next September. She’s never been there, but has kept the dream well dusted, through marriage and motherhood and widowhood and a fine career as a teacher.

    It’s such an honour to accompany someone on their dreams!

    P.S. Amsterdam is on the itinerary, too…

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  24. sam says

    What an absolutely lovely and inspirational story Pia! And what an amazing woman your great aunt Joyce is. We all need to remember this story! Cheers, Sam

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  25. Tara says

    Absolutely beautiful. I will always remember this story. Thank you.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  26. Colleen says

    That touching and inspiring post brought a tear to my eye. Lovely. I can tell your Aunt Joyce is a gem, and I hope Paris is everything she imagined.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  27. Catalina says

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh! so beautiful story!

    (my mother came first time to Paris just 2 years ago, it was her dream as well. She is 82 now)

    enjoy!!!! this time is a treasure 🙂

    by the way I love Paris in summertime, like less people than usual, Paris plage and just the “ambiance” is great!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  28. Lady Ann says

    what a lovely story…I went to Paris once and would love to go back.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  29. Erin says

    How beautiful is that?!? What an amazing accomplishment for your great aunt! And it’s so nice that you could be there too!!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  30. Pixie says

    This is so amazing! I hope your Aunt is having the best time. This post made me tear up. Here’s to everyone’s dreams coming true.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  31. Lindseu says

    Beautiful post! Hope you’re enjoying yourself!

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  32. josephine says

    what a beautiful story! i would love to hear some of joyce’s other impressions and comments about her Paris visit.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  33. Geek Gardener says

    Your story >>> priceless! Your reader >>> weepy! Thanks for sharing these precious moments.

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  34. melissa says

    Bonjour Pia~ i have your gorgeous book *paris made by hand* as it is a city that i too always dreamt about…i have now visited soo many times that i am happy to wander aimlessly with a sense of direction i absolutely did not have on my first heavenly visit…
    to have that first moment with your aunt joyce {who sounds delightful} will be one of those once-in-a-lifetime memories you will return to time & time again…

    a beautiful story…i took my eldest daughter for her 11th bday & will NEVER forget the excitement on her face or the look of paris in her eyes…it’s a love…
    we also took Madeliene- her *sleep-with* doll since she has been 5 yrs old….couln’t visit Paris without her!

    thanks…loved this post..
    melissa x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  35. itsasne says

    what a touching story…
    had to hold back as i felt tears coming up
    just beautiful
    thanks pia x

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  36. odessa says

    this is such an beautiful and touching post. i’m so glad that your aunt joyce was able to see the city of her dreams and even more so that you got to share it with her. cheers! 🙂

    August 6th, 2010 | #

  37. Grace says

    Good woman Joyce! laissez le bon temps roulez.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  38. Victoria Bennett Beyer says

    What a beautiful story! It is so wonderful that you can share this dream come true with your Aunt to make her experience that much sweeter 🙂 I hope you continue to have lots of fun together!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  39. Emma says

    What a beautiful post :), can hardly wait to see the photos. Your family sounds lovely.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  40. MissHeliotrope says

    Thank you for a warm fuzzy feeling that will last the whole weekend…

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  41. Shell Sherree says

    Oh gosh, that’s so beautiful! Thank you, Pia and your dear great-aunt Joyce, for inspiring.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  42. Kristine says

    Oh Pia, I just read this and it brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful thing it is to share something so wonderful.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  43. Eugenia says

    Your post is so beautiful. I cried with the thought of my one regret in the care of my dear mother. I only wish I had been able to visit our home our homeland, Pico, Azores, before she passed away. She was able visit just a few years ago for the last time but it was in my heart to be with her. I am so glad that you are there in France with your dear great aunt. Thank you for sharing her story and giving all of us hope.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  44. Avdelingen says

    What a beautiful story and the best part is that it is true. You are all very right. Paris is tres belle.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  45. Jas says

    What a lovely post Pia! As a fellow Paris lover (from Canada, been to Paris once and can’t wait to go back), I got goose bumps thinking about how your great aunt would have felt to finally have her dream realized. And kudos to you for going along the journey with her. I’m sure the experience was made that much more special for her knowing she was with someone who totally understood what she was feeling! Looking forward to seeing pics!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  46. bronwyn says

    What a beautiful story. I bet aunt joyce is an amazing woman. I am really moved by this.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  47. Leanne T says

    oh how beautiful, that brought tears to my eyes. Dreams are so important aren’t they. I was just thinking the other day that in lots of ways i am living in the daydreams of my youth. All the the things i used to ponder and wish for as a little girl i now see as reality. Its important to keep dreaming….it pulls and leads us in to an exciting future!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  48. sue says

    “and age is just a word”…………….that has got to be the most beautiful thing ever said.
    all the very best to you and your aunt on a very special journey.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  49. nioole davis says

    that made me tear up! i’m so glad she did get there and that you got to be there with her!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  50. Jeska says

    a beautiful story how magical to be a part of it.


    August 7th, 2010 | #

  51. beauty comma says

    oh pia, this is the most touching story i’ve read for a long time *sniff* i’m really happy that your great aunt gets to see this beautiful city. i hope she finds it to be everything she’s dreamt of.
    thank you for telling this story – and for the words in the last paragraph…

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  52. joan mckniff says

    wonderful and beautiful, just what my 70 year old mind needed. i lived in Paris for 5 years but it is good to remember to look forward as well as backwards.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  53. Mandy says

    Oh this is such a beautiful story,and your writing captured the moment so perfectly …you really write so beautifully, can’t wait to see more.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  54. linda dacey says

    Fantastic true tale beautifully written; enjoy…

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  55. Carol Barclay says

    You are a treasure, Pia, and how lucky you are to have Auntie Joyce in your life. What a joy to share that experience through your story. Merci beaucoup!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  56. mal says

    i have fallen in love with you, please advise.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  57. Amanda says

    Oh my god, Pia!
    I have tears in my eyes.
    This is the most beautiful story.
    Joyce, you have inspired me beyond MY wildest dreams.
    Thank you for sharing this Pia Jane, you lovely, lovely girl.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  58. verhext says

    gorgeous, gorgeous post. i’m so so happy she made it to Paris! it’s been a dream of mine for a long time too, and I thought going at 34 was late!! (I also felt the spirit of my grandma, who passed away in Dec at age 92, with me the whole time.)

    I don’t know if you’ll check this, but i have maps and lists of things do here:

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  59. Helene says

    Wonderful story Pia! I miss home, I miss strolling Paris with my mom, I miss my home town in Provence but I’ll be there in 2 weeks to revisit it all! Glad you are enjoying your time in the city!

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  60. carolina says

    This is such a beautiful story. I had teary eyes while reading it. Let’s all have dreams and let them become true.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  61. verhext says

    not that you wouldnt know all them! but it’s fun to see how other people see cities.

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  62. andrea says

    this is such an amazing story! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m gonna tell it to my grandfather see if he finally builds up the courage to come to Italy with me 🙂 xx

    August 7th, 2010 | #

  63. Chez Us says

    Pia, I just found your site while I was looking for some info on Paris. Beautiful story, it really touched my heart and brought tears of joy to me. I am so happy that you have taken your great aunt to Paris and made her dream come true. Paris holds a special place in my heart and we enjoy going as often as we can. I would have been destroyed if reading your story if you were not able to make her dream come true as Paris is so magical. Enjoy your time with her while there, I look forward to reading more.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  64. Joan says

    Pia, this is among the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Such courage for your Auntie Joyce, and such a divine gift for all of you! I hope the weekend copntinues to unfold beautifully, and I cannot wait for the photos you’ll post.

    And your post is a gift for the rest of us… Enjoy it ALL!

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  65. Sheryl says

    awww beautiful, what a story writer you are pia. Wow very touching, even brought a tear to my eye. thanks for sharing. dreams “feel the fear and live them anyway”

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  66. amanda says

    beautiful story! and even more special that you’re there to experience it with her.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  67. Debbie says

    I do not have words for how wonderful this is … thanks for sharing.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  68. Tuulikki Titine says

    I love this post because of ‘dreams come true’ but even more because ‘french boy’ has become Romain.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  69. Susan Krzywicki says

    Congratulations! Dreams happen. Let’s all continue to take steps to make ours come true.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  70. shipbuilding says

    thank goodness for great aunt’s! paris is special and great aunties even more so. how gorgeous to enjoy the two together.

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  71. Gill says

    What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing! 🙂

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  72. Sarah - Jane down the lane says

    My heart is bursting with the joy that your Auntie Joyce must be feeling, what a wonderful thing to be doing ~ enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    Sarah x

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  73. Becka says

    a lovely, inspiring story, I hope your time in Paris is really magical. 🙂

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  74. Su-Lin says

    That is just about the sweetest thing I’ve read in a long time. How wonderful that your great-aunt finally made it there! I hope you’re all having a fantastic time!

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  75. Miss K says

    This is such a great story. I’m going to go read it again!

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  76. Pinar says

    Hello Pia-

    Have a wonderful time in Paris! I am looking forward to great pictures and the rest of the story 🙂

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  77. elis vermeulen says

    one day..

    August 8th, 2010 | #

  78. Eva / Sycamore Street Press says

    What a wonderful story! And what a magical place to dream about…it captures so many peoples’ imaginations! It reminds me a bit of the movie with Angela Lansbury called “Mrs. ‘Arris goes to Paris”. And also the story in “Paris, I Love You” about the lovely middle aged American woman with the funny accent.

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  79. lilouka pour JojO says

    Ravie de ma découverte de ce soir,
    votre blog est magnifique
    Que de belles images !

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  80. bonjour says

    What a wonderful story! Keep dreaming and fulfilling our dreams, is what keeps us alive:)
    Thank you Pia!

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  81. bonjour says

    ps. never stop dreaming and hoping.. this is what your story is tellings us! Keep sharing such a great true stories, lovely Pia!

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  82. Becky says

    I teared up just a little bit reading this. How wonderful.

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  83. Marina says

    Oh, I’m so glad for you and for your lovely Joyce. Thank you for sharing this.

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  84. hybrid handmade says

    beautiful story – straight from the heart – wonderful, amazing….true stories are just the best

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  85. virginia says

    I also have tears in my eyes – I lived in Normandy for two years, 1963-65, and dreamed of being able to go back – I finally managed to return, 37 years later. I never thought it would happen – I also searched for, and found, my teacher from the one-room village school (long, long story, involving the internet, personal favors from strangers, and letters), and even though I did not find her before my visit, I gave my mother and sister her address. They visited her in 2007, and I felt as if the circle had been completed.

    I hope your aunt has been persuaded to keep a journal about this experience. I can see this as an inspirational children’s book…

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  86. Isa says

    I only just read this, but it made me cry. Beautiful and inspiring!

    August 9th, 2010 | #

  87. sharon says

    What a charming story! She’s so smart to say ‘age is just a word’ when she’s living proof that dreams come true for all who believe in them.

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  88. Ingrid says

    this gave me goosebumps. what an absolutely beautiful story! so happy for all of you ~

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  89. Hannah says

    I found this through Mocking Bird, and I just wanted to tell you how much it has touched me and what a beautiful blog you have here.

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  90. Sarah B says

    What an amazing story – just incredible!

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  91. Kate says

    Aunty Joyce you inspire me. I am so happy for you, your wonderful dream and now your grand adventure…. savour every minute of it & enjoy! Best wishes, Kate

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  92. Sarah Leslie says

    Lovely blog…Im hooked…and I mentioned you in my last post!

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  93. Chrissy B says

    Loved this story…so inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  94. Tiffany says

    Love those photos!


    August 10th, 2010 | #

  95. alexandria says

    This is so beautiful and touching. I love reading about moments like this that help remind me to hold fast to dreams and keep moving forward. Thank you for sharing and I am excited to see your photographs!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  96. Melissa Kranzo says

    What a beautiful story – our entire staff was so inspired after our CEO shared this with us. We have a card that I immediately thought of for your aunt: Dream Balloon (in Paris!) 🙂

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  97. Sonya says

    So wonderful having family over this side of the world- especially someone who has dreamed for so long about it. Thanks for sharing your story.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  98. Reina says

    love how you turned a story into the real thing. such a darling post! very happy for both you, and your great aunt ;D

    August 12th, 2010 | #

  99. mary says

    What a lovely story and I’m so glad she made it at last.

    August 14th, 2010 | #

  100. Kirstie says

    How inspiring! What a long way for your very courageous aunt to travel. We should all live to fulfill our dreams! Kx

    August 14th, 2010 | #

  101. annawithlove says

    I am so happy I found your blog! This story gave me chills as it is one of my dreams to be able to live in Paris, thank you so much for sharing!

    August 25th, 2010 | #

  102. The Sad-Eyed Girl says

    What a beautiful story!! Thanks a lot for sharing it…

    September 14th, 2010 | #

  103. Fuji Instax Come Hither says

    […] most beautiful story I’ve read in a long […]

    March 28th, 2011 | #

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