April in Paris – Part One

Move to Paris…..learn French….write a book.   Who hasn’t had that dream someday. Even if we can’t go there ourselves, we can still read about other people’s trips in the delightful little book, A Paris All Your Own.    My Good-reads review below.

A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of LightA Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light by Eleanor Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an engaging little book of essays about Paris by women writers who have been there, mostly to research their Paris-based books, and like the title says, each one has their own story, some good, some bad, but all are different. I appreciated the honesty of those who said they didn’t enjoy Paris all that much, as it has always been a dream destination of mine and now I don’t feel quite so bad about what I am missing. Expectations are best kept realistic to avoid disappointment…but can anything ever live up to the romantic promise of Paris? I particularly enjoyed the biographies at the end of each section, as I picked up some new authors and books to explore, and their advice on what to see and what to skip will be valuable if I ever do get there some day.

While I was familiar with some of the authors in this book, for example Paula McLean of The Paris Wife, (a novel about Hadley Hemingway), there are some new ones I can add to my to-read list.   I appreciated their candor – while most enjoyed their trips, one went home two weeks early,  one had children who were bored, one’s mother-daughter trip didn’t quite turn out as planned, another just wanted to be left alone to write and declined all invitations to socialize in her writer’s residence.   I could sympathize with that, when you are in the flow you hate interruptions even if the distraction is Paris!  (If Hemingway had done more writing and less socializing he might have kept his first wife).  One writer mentioned that April is not the best month to visit Paris.  It rains a lot, she said, May is better, but the chestnut trees are out in April and then there is that song.

I cannot travel at the moment, and my French is abysmal.   Although Canada is a bilingual country, (we have two official languages so everything is written in both), the reality is most people outside of the province of Quebec do not speak it, and Quebecois french is different than Paris french.   My french is limited to the back of the cereal box.   My education consisted of twenty minutes of french twice a week in grades 7 & 8, mostly concerning the Leduc family – Madame and Monsieur LeDuc and their enfant terrible, Henri.  I recall they were always scolding their chien, so I would know to be careful when walking in the streets, (non chien scooping laws).   They seemed to eat plenty of gateau, so I could probably navigate my way around a confectionaire/pâtisserie too.   My accent was horrible so I abandoned la LeDuc famille in high school as soon as I could.  Today if you want your child to learn french you send them to a french immersion ecole, a much more sensible method. 

While I have no dreams of being Hemingway, I would like to visit Shakespeare & Company as bookstores are my thing, and that stationary store (Melodies Graphiques) mentioned in the book sounds divine too, a whole store devoted to paper and pens and different colored inks.   Some day I hope to visit Paris, and see all the famous paintings, eat bread, take a boat trip along the Seine and visit Monet’s garden.    One of the things about my mother’s late-in-life art career is she is too old to travel and see all the art museums.   You should do your traveling when you are young and poor like Hemingway.   (Quote: “There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”)   Then later you can write your memoirs and become rich and famous, if you are very lucky.    Hemingway

We can’t all be as famous as Hemingway but we can all write a little something, a blog or a journal or a book, (and we don’t have to move to Paris to do it).   I am sure there were times when Hemingway wondered if what he was writing would ever be of interest to anyone, but it is helpful to remember that there is always someone out there reading.   And even if that person is only yourself, you are documenting your life, in the same manner as Janice MacLeod did while in Paris (see Part Two next week).     

One of the nice things about blogging is you can find a blog about anything that interests you anywhere in the world.  In my Word-press travels I have discovered two wonderful blogs on Paris and France.

https://adventuresofananglaise.com/                                                                                                                 an English ex-pat’s blog on her adventures in Paris                                                                            (for armchair travelers to the City of Lights)

https://chomeusewithachou.wordpress.com/                                                                                 unemployed with a cabbage/tot – tales of family life in France                                                 (Jane Austen is reincarnated and living in rural France)                                                            

Au revoir mon cheris….until next week….Part Deux

Song of the Day:  Andrea Bocelli – La Vie en Rose

Quote of the Day:  “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”    (Ernest Hemingway – A Moveable Feast)

Eiffel Tower - AMc - Feb 2018

Eiffel Tower – Feb 2018

25 thoughts on “April in Paris – Part One

  1. avwalters says:

    Ah, I remember the famille Leduc. I always wanted to name a dog “Pitou,” but then I came up allergic to dogs. It’s just not the same with a cat. I did my Paris research online–wrote and published the book–and then went to see how close I came. Not too bad–but it’s best not to mistake anything in a City so studied and cherished.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chomeuse with a Chou says:

    Thank you so much for the undeserved compliment – being compared to Jane Austen has really made my day and is truly one of the nicest compliments I have ever received! I am intrigued by this book, which I had not heard of before, and love all things to do with Paris (my initial plan had been to live in Paris (of course) but I got impatient and ended up near Geneva. Still, I have lovely friends in Paris, and it is only four hours away by train, so Geneva is probably the next best thing! I went to Monet’s house in Giverny in September, on our way home from holiday in Normandy, and it was sublime! If ever you get to France it is well worth the detour! My neighbour (when I lived in town) was Quebecoise and I could barely understand a word she said. I look forward to the next post in the series (and I love the painting – is it one of your mother’s pieces?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      It is a well-deserved compliment and true! Your styles are very similar. I came across this book recently on the bookoutlet.com which might be of interest to you. Here’s the Goodreads link. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28260537-the-jane-austen-writers-club#other_reviews It’s called The Jane Austen Writer’s Club – by Rebecca Smith – 2016 – I bought it but have not read it yet. It might be too much analysis of plotting for me, but might prove inspirational. And yes, the painting is my mother’s – if I tell her what I am blogging about she usually can whip something up for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Chomeuse with a Chou says:

        Well, you are very lovely to think so! I feel enormously flattered. Thank you for the link – the title rings a bell, so I think that I may have heard of it, in name only. I shall take a good look. The painting reminds me of an artist, but I cannot for the life of me remember the name (I have been googling artists to try and work it out, to no avail) – is she inspired by anyone in particular?

        Liked by 1 person

      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        It’s not likely I will be reading it anytime soon, I have 3 other books out, but I’ll let you know if it is worthwhile….the reviews were mixed. Some said it would only be useful if you were trying to write a book. I sometimes wonder if this blog business is worthwhile. It might be better to put the time into writing something that might make some money, like a murder mystery. (I think I will put this in next weeks blog, stay tuned for Inspector Darcie Leduc.) Recently I read The French Girl, by Lexi Elliott, and although it was good, I was expecting from the description that it be set in a rural french farmhouse, when it was set in London. It sounded like an enticing premise but I felt I’d been lied to by the title! It was similar to the Gone Girl genre. (think movie rights!). I don’t know how people make money at these blogs, there are so many out there. Here’s the link. (I suspect you have little time to read with Chou to look after). https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35235624-the-french-girl PS. My mother doesn’t even any any art training, other than a few night classes, she just paints for fun. But if you google Maude Lewis – a Canadian folkartist – I have had comments re her similar style and use of color. When the curator from the art gallery came out to see her paintings (I entered her in a contest which she won), she said she reminded her of Maude Lewis – there was a movie about her life Maudie last year probably only released in the US. I just gave her some travel brochures for inspiration – she’s very quick at painting, and usually does 2 paintings a week. She is having another show this summer, which I am calling Home and Abroad, so we will put a mixture of rural and travel paintings in it.

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      • Chomeuse with a Chou says:

        Thank you for the link. I have no idea how people make money from their blogs. I like to think of mine as writing practice for if I ever decide to attempt writing professionally. I have felt like my brain turned to mush after stopping work to look after my son and blogging helps me to feel a little like me again. Thanks, I’ll Google her and have a browse. Your mother clearly has natural talent. What a pity she didn’t take it up earlier!

        Liked by 1 person

      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        I agree….my writing skills were pretty rusty, not having written anything since high school, so blogging once a week forces me to improve! You won’t find my mom on google, she’s just a local artist….maybe some day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chomeuse with a Chou says:

        Sorry – that was my fault for be clumsy. I meant Maud Lewis – as I had never heard of her before and would like to see the comparison! I had assumed that your mother probably paints mainly in a private capacity – but you never know, she may yet get spotted by an important critic and achieve fame and glory of google-like proportions 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        Yes and I can be her agent! Maude Lewis has only gained a bit of a reputation lately because of the movie out last year, Maudie which I found dreadfully boring….but her paintings are full of colour.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chomeuse with a Chou says:

        Good idea! I haven’t been to the cinema since well before my Chou was born, so I never even bother looking up new releases anymore. Thanks for the heads up about Maudie, which I will perhaps give a miss if ever I come across it over here 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen says:

    Paris is lovely and you will find it really does change you. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a few times and I’m never disappointed, ever. Have no expectations and you won’t be disappointed. And the book stores………..well, you’re going to love them all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rhc55 says:

    That was a really interesting read and I love your mother’s painting. She has great talent. We had our honeymoon in Paris and have been back several times. For my 60th birthday the kids – organised by Chomeuse – gave me a day’s patisserie course in Montmartre, plus flights and overnight stay for us both, and Chomeuse, Chou and Mr. C took the train over to meet us for the rest of the weekend. It is a very special place and hopefully you’ll get there one day. …and thank you for the lovely compliment to Chomeuse, which I agree with, but I am obviously very biased.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      I think she inherited her writing skill from her mother! You should write blog about the patisserie course – it would be very interesting. I love to bake but not to cook (yesterday I made sticky toffee pudding because it is still wintery here). My 92yr old mother, (who has painted sporadically for 40 years – she started when we all left for school), was recently discovered at the age of 90 when I entered her in a contest for a popup exhibit at our Class A gallery. It’s an honor to be shown there, so of course that opened quite a few doors for her, she had three local exhibits that year, and this summer she will have her fourth, which I am calling Home and Abroad. She does a fair bit of rural stuff, so I asked her to do some abroad landscapes (hence the Eiffel Tower, she has some lovely ones of Italy for my soon to be Italian blog). So motivating for her, as you think nothing exciting will happen at that age! She is a very quick painter so if I ask her to paint something it doesn’t take her long – she usually does 2 paintings a week.

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  5. Adventures Of An Anglaise says:

    This book sounds very interesting, I might have to try and get hold of it! I can thoroughly recommend Shakespeare and Co., it really is a wonderful place for book lovers – especially upstairs, especially if someone is having a go on the piano. And if you DO go, make sure you visit ‘my’ go-to bookshop, the San Francisco Book Co.! It’s only a stone’s throw from Shakespeare and Co., and again, a book-lover’s dream. I feel like a heroine in a romantic film whenever I pay a visit; even the grumpy American guy who (I presume) owns the place is like a character straight from the page/screen…

    Like

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      Dear Audrey (Hepburn)…..I will look it up when I go! There is a picture in next week’s book blog Janice MacLeod’s A Paris Year of an old man in a cafe….who looks like your typical Parisian character. I also read her Paris Letters. Are English books more expensive there?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adventures Of An Anglaise says:

        Good! 🙂 Unfortunately, English books are indeed pretty expensive here, although to be honest I think books in general are, at least compared to UK prices. My jaw has literally dropped checking the price stickers on books on more than one occasion – both English and French!

        Liked by 1 person

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