It is the sepia tones found in Paris that are the most satisfying to me. They can be spotted amongst the pleasant offerings of boulangeries, fromageries, patisseries. They can be found in cafes on the slick wicker of a woven chair, in the settlings of a coffee cup, on thin paper in a worn notebook or the ink scribbling of a small poem left behind on a wine splashed napkin after the sun has set.
The tint can be found in the dim light of the catacombs and in the neatly stacked skulls, femurs and tibias of the six million Parisians who rest in its glow.
It is cast in candlelit shadows of centuries old cathedrals and in the furry fringe of a child's hooded coat in November.
It is between the pages of Hemingway's moveable feast.
The various tisanes found in pharmacies, brewed to relieve ailments and discomforts, are in undertones of sepia.
It is how I see the Eiffel Tower, perhaps because I looked at it so longingly in old photographs before honeymooning in Paris nearly fifteen years ago.
It is the essence of the tweed jacket with suede elbow patches and the Gatsby hat worn by a man in the Marais who stopped to comment on my Polaroid camera. It too, is the hue of the polished wooden cane that rested on the hinge of his arm.
Its ochres hover over Van Gogh's wheat fields and ripen Cezanne's pears.
It is the patina of aged leather books at Shakespeare and Company on the Left Bank where George Whitman extended decades of hospitality to readers and writers and where his daughter now does the same.
Sepia is the iridescence of the well-worn, well-loved. It is warmth and romance with a tint of nostalgia.