Set in Paris

Today I am feeling tired. We are very busy with work and as I write this my husband is talking to the night staff on FaceTime. Loudly. In the living room. Sigh… So I am going to take the easy option tonight. I never, every take the easy option. What’s the point of setting goals if you’re going to let yourself down? You’ll forgive me this once, I hope.

My fellow Paris Lovers will agree; if it’s set in Paris, we’ll watch or read it. I could probably write 1000 words off the top of my head just listing the titles of all the books, movies and tv shows that I have watched principally because the story is set in Paris. My book shelf seems to be populated by pretty spines decorated with Eiffel Towers. My bookends – little cats my sister bought in Paris. My gargoyle candleholders standing guard. It’s possible that I could trace my Paris obsession back to reading the Madeline books (by Ludwig Bemelmens).

how my obsession began…

Along with all the non-fiction and travel guides Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French is probably my favourite memoir and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop is my current fave fiction. I’ve completely given up the idea of guilty pleasures – Just enjoy yourself and feel no shame! I spent years feeling embarrassed that I loved the Impressionists. Who cares! tbh – I have stopped reading the online reviews of the books I like and I never listen when someone warns me to skip a movie I really want to see. It seems I have quite simple taste in fiction, (but then even Eat, Pray, Love has 1-star reviews.) My own first novel is set in Paris, bien sûr. There it is in the photo with the ring-bound spine. It is still being re-written, a work in progress. It might be finished soon…

Last year, I fell in love with the Netflix series Dix Per Cent (10 Percent) The english title is Call My Agent. Saucy and funny, it features a roll-call of the French and Famous. There is a lot of other French content on Netflix but I have found I prefer to watch in French with subtitles rather than dubbed into English. It just loses something in the process.

Speaking of so-so reviews, 2008s Paris is loved by most people who will watch anything set in Paris but it wasn’t well received. I don’t care at all. I love Juliette Binoche and Fabrice Luchini, who both also feature in Call My Agent. Luchini and Romain Duris also paired up for Molière the year before. SPOILER ALERT –

I love that it ended before we knew Pierre’s fate. So very French!

Easily my two favourite movies set in Paris are Julie and Julia and of course, Midnight in Paris. I love Meryld Streep and her rendition of Julia Child is gorgeous. I have the cookbooks and if I wasn’t a vegetarian, I would cook my way through them, too!

As for Midnight in Paris…I know it’s not popular to watch Woody Allen movies and this isn’t even one of his good ones, but it is an ode to Paris. Plus, there’s time travel and I am a sucker for a bit of time travel action, especially if it involves artists and history. It’s also very lightweight and easy to watch and sometimes you just need a bit of pure entertainment.

Have you read Paris by Edward Rutherfurd? Gil, Owen Wilson’s writer character in Midnight in Paris gets a mention. I think that is a particularly subtle form of metafiction, but I could be wrong about that description.

The magical stairs… The side stairs to Saint-Étienne-du-Mont just behind the Pantheon in Paris. Stand here at midnight and what for the vintage car…or not, actually it might not be very safe to do that…take a friend… I sat opposite in broad daylight and had a very bad apple cider. wouldn’t recommend.

There are just so many. I’d love to know your favourites so I can add them to my to watch or read list. Next up on my TBR list is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by French novelist and philosophy teacher Muriel Barbery and the French Film Festival starts next week! Oh la la!