This photo has very few redeeming qualities, either technically or artistically. Or even culinarily. It's a photo of a fairly ordinary sorbet dessert (cassis and citron) in a fairly ordinary glass, outside a fairly ordinary café in Montmartre, Paris.
What you can't see, however, is that after finishing the dessert, I leant back in my chair, full of the goodwill that comes from having a nice meal, and realised that after all those years, all those visits, I had suddenly got what people saw in France.
This was in September 2002, almost 25 years after I had first visited Paris. I had always more or less enjoyed it, but after London, Amsterdam was "my" town, and I couldn't honestly see what all the fuss was about with Paris.
And then it happened - I had eaten a nicely cooked but unremarkable cassoulet and a sorbet dessert, sitting outside a cafe I had discovered rather than planned on visiting using a guidebook, at a table I hadn't booked: and yet it was delicious and inexpensive, the atmosphere was relaxed, the sun was shining, and there was beer to be drunk. This wasn't the Paris of "Europe on $15 a day", this was Simon's Paris.
Three years later we started our planning for a new life...