Bastille Day falls on July 14, only a few days away. To celebrate that day, we asked the members of the Paris Writers’ Connection tell us what they like about Paris. Happy Bastille Day and happy reading!
My favorite thing about Paris is my neighborhood boulangerie and the routine of getting my daily baguette. Even though there are two boulangeries closer to my apartment, I still venture out to my favorite one because the perfection of their baguettes is worth it. And now I bring my two-year-old son with me so he can share in this quintessential French experience. He knows how to order the baguette (hilariously addressing the boulangère as “Madame Baguette” in the process), pay for it (if I hand him the correct change in advance), and carry it home like a true Parisian: eating just the end off.
Vicki Lesage proves daily that raising French kids isn’t as easy as the hype lets on. She penned three books in between diaper changes and wine refills: Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, and Petite Confessions. She writes about the ups and downs of life in the City of Light at VickiLesage.com.
There are many things to like about Paris, but for me the most pleasurable is the quality of the restaurants that one finds here. French chefs, restaurant managers, and staff have mastered the art of preparation and presentation of the food that they serve, the spirit of service, and the arrangement of the dining space. Each week, my wife and I look forward to dining out and then reporting on our experience in our weekly restaurant review.
Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first took an unpaid sabbatical in 1975 to travel to France to learn the language, see the country, and pursue a diploma in French language, literature, and civilization. Returning to California in 1978, he eventually realized that while he had left France, France had never left him. He moved back permanently in 1992. Reeves’ latest book Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light helps Paris-bound travelers understand French dining customs so that they feel comfortable when entering into a French restaurant for the first time.
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The thing I love the most about Paris is its joie de vivre. This is manifested in different ways, but I truly feel that Parisians celebrate life. They take the time to sip un petit café at the bar or a laugh over a glass of rosé en terrasse. They savor their meals over hours instead of gobbling down a quick bite. They spend Sunday afternoons in the park or taking in an exhibit at the city’s vast array of excellent museums. This energy keeps me here and keeps me alive!
April Lily Heise is a Canadian writer and romance expert based in Paris. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Frommer’s, City Secrets, and DK Eyewitness Guides and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T’Aime, Me Neither, a lively novelized memoir on her romantic misadventures and continues to share dating tips, stories, and travel features on her blog www.jetaimemeneither.com.
The truly great thing about Paris is its constant surprises. This evening Radio Classique offered a classical music concert sponsored by the RATP in the great hall of the Miromesnil metro station. The space was packed, the acoustics were perfect, and the violinist, Nemanja Radulovic, a brilliant young star. Tattooed, his huge mane of hair waving as he moved, his passion for the music was palpable, and the familiar pieces resounded as never before. This was not the first time Radulovic played in the metro: it was here at the age of 14, having moved with his family from Serbia to France after the Yugoslav Wars, that he began his career, busking for money. I felt truly grateful to have been part of such an original evening, and thought ‘only in Paris’. . .
Rosemary Flannery is an author, photographer and tour guide. She arrived in France in1989, just in time for the bicentenary of the Revolution and the inauguration of the Louvre museum and its Pyramid. Passionate about Parisian architecture, she wrote Angels of Paris: An Architectural Tour of the History of Paris, celebrating the illustration of angels in the city’s facades, fountains and rooftops. Released in 2012 by The Little Bookroom NYC and distributed by Random House, her book will be published in French this September as Les Anges de Paris: Voyage au coeur de Paris, by Editions Exergue.
Paris is made for walking. There are walks I’ve been doing for over fifty years and they only get better. Like turning a rich soil and taking in the pungent aroma of fresh earth that flairs the nostrils with pleasure. An early morning when the cafes are just opening is best, before traffic, crowds, and tour buses. The city breathes Zen.
Leonard Pitt is an author, actor, and teacher. He lived in Paris for seven years in the 1960s and learned nothing about the city. It was only much later, in the 1990s, when he became shocked upon learning what he did not know that he started reading and researching everything he could about Paris and its history. As someone once said, “If you want to learn about something, write a book about it.” Leonard has written three books about Paris. His first, Walks Through Lost Paris was a bestseller in the French capital. In addition he has written, Paris, A Journey Through Time, and Paris Postcards, the Golden Age. His new book, My Brain On Fire, Paris and Other Obsessions, is a memoir. It will be published later this year by Counterpoint Press.