Many years ago, on the eastern shore of a great harbor, there was a compound of lovely houses. The houses all had large windows that let in the sun and the air. They encircled a broad lawn of the greenest grass sheltered by ancient trees where birds sang each morning. In one of these houses lived a young girl with her family. She played all the time with her sisters on the grassy lawn. But this little girl had a secret: she liked to close her eyes and pretend she was somewhere else.
She would pretend that the concrete driveway was a glittering boulevard filled with bustling cars. She would pretend that the big metal gate at the end of the driveway was a monumental arch covered with triumphant statues. And she would pretend that the tallest tree in the compound was actually a soaring metal tower touching the sky. For yes, the little girl – though she was still very young – already loved Paris.
She had seen pictures of Paris in a book her mother had given her and in her aunt’s fashion magazines. Most of all she had seen the great metropolis on the Seine in movies, in many wonderful movies filled with runaway princesses and couples standing on bridges. Every so often the young girl looked up at the stars from the window of her house and wished that she would, at long last, see Paris.
Finally, the day came when the little girl’s fondest wish was granted for stars do listen to one’s prayers. The little girl who had grown up into a cheerful and diligent lady found herself in the city of her dreams.
And so she lost no time in visiting the glittering boulevard of the Champs Elysees, smiling at the monumental Arc de Triomphe and gazing at the soaring Eiffel Tower. She saw how the people walked with an air of confidence and how the sunshine caressed the gleaming buildings and how even the smallest slice of bread was served with an elegance she had never encountered before. How she wished she could take the whole city home!
Then one night, she met a Frenchman who, beneath the spreading branches of a large tree where birds sang, gave her a kiss on her cheek. Suddenly, it was clear to her what she should do: she went home and opened her own restaurant.
She used only the freshest ingredients from her dear husband’s farm. She found a new twist in each dish she prepared. And she made sure that every berry on her tarts, every macaroon that emerged from her kitchen, every warm and crusty slice of bread from her ovens was served as it was in the City of Light.
For the little girl who was now a grown-up lady knew that Paris was really in one’s heart and all it took to bring it home and share it with everyone was just…one kiss.
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