I took the first picture on September 10, 2000, the night before I flew home from my first extended stay in Paris.
In 2008 I wrote about the picture and its signifiance to me:
I took the train back into Paris for one last meal and stroll around some favorite spots. To this day, I cannot recall where, let alone what I ate (for those who know me that may come a shocker). But, I do recall taking this picture as vividly as if I were there now. I took a walk that I came to know like my own street in Richmond; through the Latin quarter, around St. Germain (my adopted arrondissement) and across the Pont Neuf to the Ile-de-la-cite. When I paused and rested my camera on the stone railing I made a promise that if I ever forgot that moment, that feeling then I would board a plane to Paris right away.
Two weeks ago, June 2013, I had the chance to take the same picture.
I don’t know if Thomas Wolfe was right when he wrote you can’t home again. But going back to Paris always seems like a good idea to me.
I think I like the first picture better.