Paris est magnifique!
A delightful week, sunny and warm, spent soaking up all Paris has to offer, and finding writing inspiration around every corner. What more could I ask for?
While we saw all the regular tourist sights, and a few lesser known as well, the highlight of the week was a walking tour of a small section of the 6th arrondissement, (left bank) with the author of a book we read prior to our trip. (The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris is a memoir of the author’s years in Paris.) Originally from Australia, John Baxter is a friendly and engaging tour guide and storyteller, and we saw everything from the courtyard where Gigi was filmed to where Hemingway lived with his second wife, to the flat where the guillotine was invented, and the gutter that carried all the sheeps’ blood from the inventor’s trials and errors during the inventing process. The tour was followed by a wonderful afternoon spent sipping wine and eating fromage in his terrace apartment with its view of Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, talking about writing and cinema, and all things French. (He has a backlist of 40 books, many of which are biographies of people like Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas etc.) Our other tour mate was a fascinating man from Australia, Lebanese by birth, who in his spare time is a playwright. So our afternoon turned into a wonderful ‘salon’ experience. Quite appropriate as Sylvia Beach used to live in the building, and Hemingway and Fitzgerald were often there to visit her! I kept having to pinch myself!
Of course the literary part of my trip wasn’t going to be complete without a café crème at Hemingway’s old haunt, Les Deux Magots, on Boulevard St. Germain. He would write all morning in the café, all the while nursing ONE café crème.
In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway writes about spending hours looking at a Cezanne painting and gathering inspiration from it. Enjoying all the magnificent artwork in the many museums in Paris, it was hard NOT to be inspired. In fact, two sculptures in particular have become sources of inspiration for one of the YA books I’m writing. And of course, inspiration could be found in the very charming city itself!
A perfect trip. A beautiful city that begs for another visit. Someday.