BWW INTERVIEW: Ahead Of The Launch of WALKS AROUND CENTRAL PARIS, BWW Sydney Gains An Insight Into The Inspiration For The Unique Book.
With the promise of seeing a hidden side of Central Paris, WALKS AROUND CENTRAL PARIS is more than a travel book, representing a passionate love of history and travel as well as a beautiful love story. With text by the late Ross Turnbull, this project is finally making it to print as a tribute from his friends, particularly his wife, Caroline Turnbull. BroadwayWorld Sydney had the pleasure of gaining an insight into what promises to be a wonderful book in a chat with Caroline.
The book captures Ross' love of Paris, a city he spent a great deal of time in over 20+ years, often living in Paris for months at a time as he worked on the International Rugby Board. Ross and Caroline also shared many wonderful memories in Paris which makes the completion of his vision to write the book a wonderful way to honour his memory and their love. After years of collecting stories and memorabilia, writing an immense number of journals and marking up countless map books, Ross, refusing to let a diagnosis of cancer hold him back, decided to collect the stories into a book of five self-guided walks. He felt that walking was the only real way to see Paris as people miss out on a lot if they don't walk the city, or they don't know where to walk. He intended the walks, which start and end at the Eiffel tower, to allow the reader to immerse themselves in Parisian life whilst still having the ability to touch on many of the main tourist spots. He wanted to give people an insight on where to find the quirky, romantic, historic and beautiful old restaurants and classic bistros that are not in the usual guidebooks. Ross planned out all the walks, researched the history of the places and quirky people of Paris, and completed the text before he passed away in March 2015.
In 2016, publisher Jaqui Lane, a friend of Ross and Caroline's, approached Caroline with the offer to help bring Ross' project to completion. Long-time friend, professional photographer and graphic designer Brent Carswell, in whose studio Ross would spend a great deal of time during his treatment, joined the team of as photographer and designer while his wife Sue came on board with her skills as French History expert and English major to edit the book. Following months of mapping and plotting out the walks as per Ross' writing, the team of volunteers returned to Paris in September 2016 to undertake each of the 5 walks to ensure the quality of the walks. In a heartfelt and emotional journey with Brent taking photographs for the book, which could be just as much a coffee table book as a travel guide, the team fact checked every detail in Ross' walks over 5 days. Cover 8 to 9 km a day, they ensured that the details for every restaurant, café, bistro, and gallery were still current, checking if chefs had changed and if opening times were still relevant. Also, in light of the attacks on Paris, they also wanted to ensure that all the roads and paths were still accessible.
The book also has the background of a heartbreakingly beautiful love story as it forms part of Caroline and Ross' history, from meeting as volunteers feeding the homeless in The Domain with what is now The Exodus Foundation to trips to Paris together where Ross was able to share his enthusiasm for Paris with Caroline, further cementing her love for the city. She recalls that she was struck by Ross' "sheer knowledge" of Paris along with its "colourful characters" that extended beyond the famous names. She remembers Ross standing in front of statues that other people would walk past and becoming so interested in their story that he would want to discover more about them. Whilst she has many great memories of her time with Ross in Paris, she recalls Ross taking her beyond the doors of a building that "looked like an embassy", and discovering a beautiful garden restaurant which only locals had discovered as there were no indications of its presence from the street entrance.
As part of a tribute to Ross' memory, and the impact the Exodus Foundation and Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, where Ross received chemotherapy treatment and was the first inpatient, had on Ross and Caroline, a portion of the profits from WALKS AROUND CENTRAL PARIS will be donated to these institutions.
WALKS AROUND CENTRAL PARIS will be available in July 2017.