joyce in paris: part one…
Posted in paris, pia's photos August 10th, 2010 by pia

Well, what a fabulous time we’ve had. I can’t thank you enough for all your amazing comments on my last post, I told Joyce all about you and how much you are all thinking of her, she was moved to tears. It has been an amazing experience to be in Paris with her – I feel very lucky to have been able to be there, showing her the sights that she has longed to see for so many decades. It has brought up many beautiful memories for her – listening to Edith Piaf records, learning old French war songs from her father, and remembering a special voice message left on her answering machine by her boy Chris when he visited Paris some years ago – he called her from one of the bridges one night and described in detail everything he could see and hear, including the boats passing underneath, and the twinkling stars above. She couldn’t quite believe she was standing within the exact same scene he had described, she was awestruck by the beauty all around, and amazed that it was really happening – she was really in Paris. It took a couple of days for the reality of the dream to sink in, and it wasn’t really until the third night that she was quite sure she was in Paris  – I’ll describe that night in further detail in another post…

So, I thought I’d share some of the things we got up to in a series of posts this week. And then after that I’ll show + tell some new places Romain and I explored, and new restaurants added to our favourites list. That means this week will be all about Paris, are you up for that? I hope so…

On Saturday I got the idea to try to make a little book (a glimpse as seen in the first photo of this post)  filled with mementos and a few photographs for aunty joyce to be able to take back home to Sydney to show her friends and family. I had bought a little set of Paris stamps and created the book as we went, presenting it to her on Saturday night – I’ll describe how I made it in an upcoming post but I’ll show you snippets from it in each post so you can follow along with our adventures…

So, day one! We decided to do a bit of a walking tour – with french boy as our fabulous (and very handsome, as aunty joyce kept telling me) guide. We started at the Jardin des Plantes and wandered through the gardens, admiring the incredible flowers in bloom at the moment. We were all quite taken by the purple and blue blossom gardens, they were stunning, I particularly loved the artichoke bush. Then we strolled onto pont sully and further along the Seine, taking in the view of the Notre Dame along the way. For lunch we headed straight to one of Romain and my favourite lunch spots – Café Louis-Philippe. The food, as always was delicious and cooked to perfection. We sat out in the courtyard, drank wine and talked about old times. Then we walked up rue du pont louis-philippe and visited some of the shops. I took Joyce into Mélodies Graphiques and told her about the story of the lovers secret messages in the calligraphy notebook which I wrote about in my book, then we wrote a little secret message of our own in there…

photos from Paris: Made by Hand

Joyce found a fab silk scarf in the neighbouring boutique, it suited her perfectly. The shop owner was rather wonderful, she encouraged Joyce to try on all sorts of feather boas and fancy hats. After that we wandered to the Notre Dame to see it up close and personal, and then Saint Chapelle. Even though the stained glass windows were quite spectacular I found myself mostly fascinated by the ceiling…

and the floor…

And that was that, our first day in Paris together!  It was treacherous at moments with the wheelchair  – a couple of times we got stuck on a cobblestone or two and nearly hoisted Joyce right out onto the street! Laughter got us through those moments though. It’s certainly not a city made for wheelchairs but even so, there is still lots to be able to see and do. Luckily Joyce is still fairly mobile and was able to use the chair as a walking frame every now and then. Saint Chapelle had a lift accessed within the Palais de Justice so that was pretty cool to see the Palais from inside.

Next up, day two…

« « « Leave a comment » » »


  1. Gill says

    This is such a wonderful blog, Pia – I felt like I was right there with you, experiencing Paris for the first time! I’ve always wanted to go; my parents honeymooned there in 1956 (for 3 days, all they could afford) – after reading this I am definitely going to make it happen! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful, treasured family time with your readers. 🙂

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  2. Tara Bradford says

    Sounds like such a magical trip, not only for Joyce, but for you and R – fantastic that you could help make Joyce’s dream come true. And the special book for Joyce to take home – fabulous treasure! xo

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  3. joan mckniff says

    beautiful, inside and out. thank you

    August 10th, 2010 | #

  4. Leanne T says

    this story continues to bring tears to my eyes…….

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  5. Helen says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us. I’m so happy for Joyce that she has finally realised a life -long ambition to visit Paris and that she has you to share it with her. It goes to prove that it is NEVER too late to realise a dream.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  6. nolita*wanders says

    Looking forward to day two 🙂

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  7. alexandria says

    I’m tickled to read the adventure Joyce, you and others had together. Completely inspiring and wonderful!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  8. Mandy says

    How lucky your Aunty Joyce is to have such a great Paris tour guide …. The idea of the book is wonderful, she will be able to do a lot of bragging when she gets home.
    Can’t wait for the next installment …. ENJOY!!!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  9. Eugenia says

    Believe me, this special time will forever warm your heart. Keep us posted.

    I cannot wait to see Aunt Joyce’s scrapbook along the way. Will you share a photo of her in her new scarf?

    Hugs from California, USA

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  10. Ming says

    when i first saw this post, i thought you were referring to james joyce’s time in paris, as “joyce in paris” happens to be the name of the exhibit i am currently working on at a museum here in philadelphia. i’m glad i kept reading though–it all sounds so dreamy. you have to go to shakespeare and company when you get a chance!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  11. Dimitry Moraitis & Peter Morgan says

    Hi Pia. How wonderful it is that you are with Joyce and Kathryn and recoding her adventures in your blog. Your photographs too are excellent. The day one excursian sounds great and I am sure that Joyce would have wanted to climb to the top of Notre Dame. No doubt you are going from one coffee/coissant to another. Have you all gone to Kathryn’s favourite falafel shop in the Morais? They are so yummy. How about adding a couple of pics of Joyce (and yourselves) in Paris. Please pass on our love to Joyce and Kathryn and we look forward in seeing he Album on their return. (Sydney 11 Aug 2010)

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  12. bronwyn says

    So glad to hear that she had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to see more of the notebook.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  13. Lisette says

    What an amazing experience for you both to share!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  14. Suzi says

    What a wonderful pace a wheelchair would bring, rather than rushing everywhere. Thanks for sharing intimate moments with your family. Age really is no barrier to beauty!!! Looking forward to a Parisian week, thanks Pia!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  15. bonjour says

    Thank you for sharing this with us.. so much looking forward to hear the rest of the story..
    My best regards to your lovely aunt! She really inspires me!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  16. mal says

    Romain, take care of this bouquet of flowers!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  17. SoBinique says

    Such a beautiful story of your great aunt! Sounds like a love story! Must be so magical for Joyce her dream finally comes true! Your pictures are beautiful as always. I’m going to Paris again in october, I can’t wait!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  18. Becky says

    Totally up for a week of Paris posts! The book you created for Joyce is such a wonderful idea, can’t wait to see more.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  19. ingrid says

    …it’s as though you’re taking my own grandmother through the city she was born in and left at 21…if only she could have returned and explored; wondered and reminisced; drunk in the magic of all it’s breathtaking charm…

    what a treasure you are creating…how generous of you to share and to let me imagine I’m there with my beautiful grandmother…

    Ingrid x

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  20. Marina says

    These are the most wonderful stories. What touching, beautiful, caring times. I’m so glad she has you and you guys have her to share this special trip. There’s a delicacy to it all that’s at once charming and overwhelmingly powerful. Thank you so much for so many gifts.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  21. Ariella says

    I love that you made her a momento album to take back to Australia. You are such a wonderful niece! I have been to Paris several times, and it’s just as much fun for me to relive a bit of my French experience when I read your blog. Yes, Paris all week…I’ll be there (or here)!

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  22. Miranda says

    What a wonderful trip this must bee. It sounds so magical. Can’t wait to read more.

    August 11th, 2010 | #

  23. Tiffany says

    looks like your having fun in PAris


    August 11th, 2010 | #

  24. shipbuilding says

    my dreams have been gathering dust for too long…thanks for reminding me how truely special they are. I need get dusting and then baking…I think a plate of french macaroons is in order.

    August 12th, 2010 | #

  25. Plum Kitchen says

    Just so thrilled for Joyce to have this wonderful trip, and you for being able to share it with her…….and lucky us coming along for the ride, cant wait to hear more:)

    August 12th, 2010 | #

  26. Kristina says

    Your pictures are great!! I love Paris so much, such an amazing place…. viele Grüsse, Kristina

    August 12th, 2010 | #

  27. Jane says

    I can well imagine your Auntie’s smile when you present her with your lovely lovely Paris book, expect a few tears!

    I so love your blog! You manage to take me wherever you are and that means SO much to those of us who are having to take a sabbatical from travel for one reason or another. Thankyou,I was really there….


    August 12th, 2010 | #

  28. kate says

    is that a ‘paper boat press’ pencil I spy in the first picture?!

    August 13th, 2010 | #

  29. Linda says

    You have a beautiful blog!
    all the Paris pictures are magic. I would love to able to go into the shop iwth the bike infront.
    hope you had a great time!

    August 19th, 2010 | #

  30. Trudy says

    Hi Pia,
    Wow thankyou for this magnificent piece of Joyce’s journey you have captured the moments. We have Joyce living at our facility she is one of our treasures.Until now after seeing this I would love to travel & experience what Joyce has waited so long to experience you never say never.

    November 7th, 2010 | #

RSS feed for these comments. | TrackBack URI