Shortly after Esteban and I arrived in Paris last week, we had the tremendous pleasure of meeting my blogger friend Corey Frye. He was as charming and smart and witty as his A French Frye in Paris blog had suggested, so I was very excited to meet up with him again this evening for a stroll through the 5th arrondissement.
We chose that location because of the fortified wall that king Philippe Auguste built around the city some 800 years ago. I’d found the remains of one section, but the portion near the Panthéon had eluded me. As I (sheepisly) discovered, I’d walked right past it on at least one occasion.
Actually, that’s a perfect metaphor for my evening with Corey: At every turn, he pointed out spots I’ve walked past a dozen times, oblivious to their historical significance.
He explained that Notre Dame’s flying buttresses had been an afterthought, for instance, added after the walls developed cracks. He pointed out the figures on the façade that had been brought from another building. He told me the story of the archbishop who purportedly sketched the cathedral’s floor plan in the sand—and showed me his statue as well.
He also told me the story of the exquisite ironwork that adorns the main doors.
Everyone was astounded when the doors were first installed, because they’d never seen anything like them. But soon the Parisians’ admiration turned to suspicion, and rumors started spreading.
Surely Biscornet the blacksmith must have sold his soul to the devil to produce such fine work, the people said. Stories sprang up about the locks not working — until after they’d been sprinkled with holy water. The blacksmith died shortly afterward, Corey said. Of a broken heart, perhaps?
As we walked, Corey and I talked about our mutual love for Paris, and about how we both feel so at home here. Like we belong here, somehow. I admitted to being a bit envious that he actually gets to live here. But my envy didn’t last long: He deserves to live here.
Paris is lucky to have you as a friend, Corey — as am I. Meeting you has been one of the biggest highlights of my trip, and you’ve greatly (greatly!) enriched my time in Paris.
Please keep researching and writing about your beloved city. It’s a privilege for the rest of us to see Paris through your French Frye eyes.