I love reading and I am always excited about books that discuss European living. I dream of going overseas some day and I am pretty confident that the Lord will allow that dream to come to pass.
I was really excited about this book because it is complied of many different authors and each story gives their own personal experience of Paris living.
I was very surprised and pleased with their honesty. Some authors loved Paris and some didn't. Some were hoping to have the same experience as their grandmothers and some were expecting that Paris that they saw on television.
But when it came down to it, everyone was honest and that I really enjoyed. Although there were some stories I enjoyed more than others.
The first story that I loved was the very first one in the book. It is called "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a French Woman" by J. Courtney Sullivan. In the first chapter she talks about her mother and grandmother. She said, "It begins, like all things, with my mother......she believes that, in her heart, she is French. She collects Quimper pottery, wears silk scarves with confidence of a native Parisian, and spritzes Chanel N*5 on the dog after a bath."
She goes on to say, "Her passion is inherited from her own mother, my grandmother, who to me seems every bit as glamorous as Catherine Deneuve. She subscribed to W, and when she's collected enough back issues, she bags them up and brings them over to our house. My grandmother is known for being the first person to jog in her neighborhood, long before there was such a thing as jogging attire- she did it in a trench coat."
WOW!!! Talking about being elegant everyday! I was hooked on this story right away.
The second story that I enjoyed and learned a lot from was "Paris is Your Mistress". The author Ellen Sussman talked about how she was so in love with Paris that she didn't see how it was blinding her to the fact that her marriage was failing. She mentioned how she got up each day with boundless energy once they moved there and how she wanted to roam the streets. She also said that she hardly knew or remember what her husband did or was doing. It was so interesting yet so honest. I loved her honesty.
The third story that I enjoyed was "A Myth, A Museum, and a Man" by Susan Vreeland. This story was so full of substance and beauty. She said this, "Painting, sculpture, architecture, music, religious and social history- I was swept away with all of it, wanting to read more, to learn languages, to fill my mind with rich, glorious, long-established culture wrought by human desire, daring, and faith. And I wanted a cordial relationship with French people, one peppered with laughter and lively conversations about art and history over cafe creme in a sidewalk cafe.
"Impossible, Madame," I heard at the back of my mind. "The French are snobs, especially Parisians. A cordial relationship? It will never happen".
Oh my goodness, do I feel the same way! But as I continue to read the story it turned out very well with lots of discussions about art and the people. Wonderful read.
The last story that I read was called, "The Passion of Routine" by Jennifer L. Scott. I LOVED this story. I am such a creature of habit so this spoke to my heart. Jennifer shared about how she was living with a Parisian family during her studies in college. She lived with them for about a year and was talking about their living habits. She talked about how their apartment was when she first got there, "I found myself in a grand old apartment with high ceilings, walls painted a bold yellow, faded antique furniture, and aristocratic portraits adorning the hallway. It was all so much more formal than the carefree Parisian flat I had pictured in my imagination.
She also talked about her first night there for dinner, "Monsieur Chic, the son and I waited in the living room until dinner was announced. Madame Chic then rolled out the food on a dinner cart from the kitchen. We sat at the dining room table, which was beautifully set with cloth napkins, blue and willow-patterned china, and delicately etched drinking glasses.
And this family lived like this everyday. So inspiring....
I still have ten more short stories to read in this book so once I finished those I will come back with a part 2 to discuss those stories. I just wanted to share what I have read so far and how I have enjoyed them.
Thanks for reading!!!!!
(photos via Pinterest)