In 2005 I was fortunate to spend a summer in the City of Love—Paris, France. Without any agenda other than to simply live, I did not know what I would do with the free time I was afforded, or what I could expect to experience while there.
With no knowledge of the French language, I interacted with the city and its inhabitants on a level I had not previously experience in any other locale. I found myself exploring the beauty of this historic place on a daily basis through the acts of walking, watching, and listening. As the days unfolded I began to fall in love with the nature of what can transform a collection of urban spaces into a place. The people, the spaces, and the interactions amongst and between these elements shaped Paris into a vibrant urban wonderland in front of my eyes and under my feet.
Although it was impossible for me to know it at the time, a chance run-in with a stranger, the relationship I built over a few short hours, and the mark that experience left both in my mind and in my heart; this was the genesis for my love and appreciation of cities, community, and place.