A walk in Paris

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” 
~Thomas Jefferson

Women walking in the rain, Paris, 1934

I keep getting lost in this photo. Two women walking in Paris. It doesn’t really matter where they are going. When in Paris, the journey is just as good as the destination. These lovely ladies could be my sister and her daughter, whom are now doing exactly the same thing — just a century later.

Paula McLain takes us for a walk through 1920s Paris in her award-winning novel, The Paris Wife (a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson):

“Interesting people were everywhere just then. The cafés of Montparnasse breathed them in and out, French painters and Russian dancers and American writers. On any given night, you could see Picasso walking from Saint-Germain to his apartment in the rue des Grands Augustins, always exactly the same route and always looking quietly at everyone and everything. Nearly anyone might feel like a painter walking the streets of Paris then because the light brought it out in you, and the shadows alongside the buildings, and the bridges which seem to want to break your heart, and the sculpturally beautiful women in Chanel’s black sheath dresses, smoking and throwing back their heads to laugh. We could walk into any café and feel the wonderful chaos of it, ordering Pernod or Rhum St. James until we were beautifully blurred and happy to be there together.”

P-Wife-cover-pb-virago-Waterstones

And on writing about Paris, Paula McLain says:

“Paris in the 20’s was such a singular time in history, and the Hemingways’ years there were so full of spectacular adventure and compelling encounters, that I felt entirely grateful to live it with them. Working on this book was hands down the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer. I’ll never forget it.”

Enjoy your walks ladies. I am with you in spirit!

11 comments

  1. In case you haven’t seen it, you should check out Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris — a must for all lovers of that great city (especially in the 1920s, when the Lost Generation inhabited it).

  2. I haven’t been to Paris, but I enjoyed this book very much. It made me feel wistful for a different time, a less modern way of living. I then read A Movable Feast but remembered that I’m not a fan of Hemingway’s writing style.
    Midnight in Paris is a good movie too. My youngest watched it with me when he was about 7 🙂

    • I have to admit I haven’t read any Hemingway, as I’m not a big fan of his either. But I love The Paris Wife.

  3. I read the quote, I sighed with delight. It has been too long since I was in Paris. Only good memories. And that photo is just so wonderful! The elegant women walking so perfectly in time and wearing the most stylish coats and hats, clearly on their way to shopping, a cafe-au-lait in a too cute coffee house and a very good lunch at a petite bistro…I am starting to miss my sisters! I better go and get that book and start reading;0)
    Thanks for such a lovely post, xoxox Johanna.

  4. ‘Those were the days, my love..’
    I’ve read A Moveable Feast, though I can;t bear Hemingway, and have since learned that much of what he wrote about people was fiction – not true – people seen through the Hemingway glass – darkly !!!.

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