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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

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Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.



Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

Happy Birthday Daddy-o


Happy Birthday Dad!


Gosh, you're looking as handsome as ever. I always did think you looked like a movie star and here you are in this sepia tint print as suave and debonair as David Niven. An officer and a gentleman, immortalized at age 26. Twenty six! Don't be offended if I say you looked older, that's the way it was back then. It's only these days, with fewer responsibilities on our shoulders, that we try to look like kids for as long as possible. 

You left home in England at seventeen, lived in Egypt, danced the night away in Alexandria and told us you tried 'hashish' in an Egyptian bath but didn't feel a thing. We didn't believe you, by the way, you know that right? By the time you enlisted to fight for England in World War II you spoke Arabic, French and Italian fluently. Imagine! A boy from Preston in the North of England teaching himself to speak Arabic. No wonder you served in the North African campaign. 

You'd be 102 today, if you'd lived. A ridiculous thing to say because of course, you didn't. You've been gone twenty five years, as long as I've been married. I'm not going to get all soppy, dad. I just wanted you to know I still have that old cherrywood desk of yours, the one you and mum picked up at the used furniture store in Santa Monica. I can still see you sitting at the desk in that pale blue button up sweater that you used to wear at home, a shirt and tie under it, even when you were just working on your pools. I write at the desk sometimes, overlooking our grassy courtyard. Your son-in-law is sitting at it right this minute doing some work on his Mac, or playing a computer game, I'm not sure which. One day we'll pass it down to your grandson who'll double check for the tenth time to see if it has any secret compartments. We've got the ID card from your days with British Intelligence; to us that means spy. And any spy worth his salt would have a secret compartment hidden somewhere.

Nancy has that old button up sweater now, that and the cool black raincoat straight out of the 1960's. I don't know what Russell has. There's the Turkish rug you and mum picked up in Turkey but I'm not sure what else. As the eldest, he must have had first pick. He was always Mum's favorite, she would have seen to that.

Anyway, I won't keep you. I don't believe in heaven but on the off chance there is one I expect you and mum might be getting ready to go out dancing. Give her a hug for me. 

Posted for Joy's British Isles Friday meme

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful tribute. I know he'd love your post. Good looking man and so many wonderful accomplishments and good times in his life.

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  2. Lovely tribute. A fun way to honor the man and the passage of time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So sweet. I can't imagine how much you miss him, but sounds like he left you some amazing memories.

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