Paris Lives, On and On
“Paris was always worth it,” said Hemingway in A Moveable Feast. He went on to add, “and you received value for what you brought to it.”
My last trip there, I brought a novel, That Paris Year, which I had published two years before and had the pleasure of reading at the famous W.H. Smith Books on rue de Rivoli. Now home for a year, I have brought from it a new book, Wandering in Paris: Luminaries and Love in the City of Light. This is the anthology of travel stories my colleague Linda Watanbe McFerrin and I collected and edited (and contributed to) after our workshop there with a group of wonderful travel writers last fall.
The interesting thing about a book is the life it takes on after publication. With the festivities and fun of bringing it into the world comes a sense of celebration that pushes the long hours, work and occasional hair-tearing into the background. Like a birth of any sort, we rejoice at the arrival and forget the pain.
Then, as the events multiply—in the case of Wandering in Paris, in wonderful indie bookstores, a fabulous San Francisco hotel, and the prestigious Alliance Française—we get to hear the voices again, and Paris lives on anew.
Hear some of them with me:
“I could have had tea, but I drank the champagne. My search for Jane Stanford had inspired me to visit Hotel Meurice.” –Catherine Pyke
“A blast of cool air ruffled my hair as I stepped down into the metro at Saint-Germain-des Prés. My train whooshed into the station with a whistle blast like a muted foghorn, a scream of brakes, and a ssssh of compressed air as the doors opened. I hopped on as if I belonged here, leaning against a pole for the two-stop ride back to my hotel to meet Jack.”—Anne Sigmon
“Paris is alive with dead painters, but I sought only Berthe Morisot.”—Unity Barry
“Famed Paris footwear designer, Christian Louboutin, once said, ‘A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.’”—Cindy Rasicot
“Some of us travel with more unrecognized preconception than we want to admit…Richard and I visited Père Lachaise cemetery on our first day and found weeds sprouting from crevices in tombstones, as well as on the ground, and on the roofs of grand monuments.”—Kitty Hughes
“On Tuesdays, the open market, Place de l”Alma, offers fine samples between two rows of yellow awnings: cheeses, breads, patés, jute bags of grains, rosaries of sausages sold by white-aproned vendors with the gift of gab. You choose from mounds of ribbed Cavaillon melons and figs, European walnuts, firm and tasty; gold table grapes or five kinds of pears.”—Antoinette Constable
“He waits on the wrought-iron balcony;
A somber sky colors his Paris view.
She knows for him waiting isn’t easy.”—Sandra Bracken
“No matter where I went in Paris, Death was there, too.”—Laurie McAndish King
“Hemingway’s moveable feast
Where nothing is simple, not even the moonlight.
We return and find it changed and ourselves changed with it.
It’s a city without an ending
Where the mystery is always new
And truth and memory are like a river
You can never step in twice.”—Daphne Beyers