Ok, so actually tickets are just really cheap if you fly out of the United States on the night of the 4th. Y’all know that I love July 4th more than just about anything, and the the only thing that can pry me away from it is Paris. I promise to be a good American and eat some red, white, and blue pancakes or something in the morning.
When I applied for a grant last fall to spend some time in France this summer, we didn’t know all that would be happening in our lives. We felt sad that I would be away from James for a chunk of the summer, but both of us felt that it was a really important opportunity for me professionally. I cannot emphasize enough how blessed I am to be married to someone who takes my career way more seriously than I do, urging me on to go for things and chase after difficult decisions, even if it meant that he would be wife-less in hot DC while I spent a month on Europe. When we found out that James would also be away most of the summer, I couldn’t help but feel relieved that I will spend this time away from him in Paris. Paris might just be the best place imaginable to be away from someone you love because, well, it’s Paris. If you asked me, it’s one of the best places ever for just about anything.
When you love Paris, you can’t help but love reading about other people coming to understand this city. If you want to take a little Paris trip this summer, I suggest some of the following books where people explore Paris from every angle.
If you love history..
- The Seven Ages of Paris, Alistair Horne. Did you know you can trace the entire history of France throught the various ages and stages of Paris? Yes, yes you can. And you should. This one is pretty dense, but I love Paris’ crazy history. It is equal parts thriller, history, and spicy epic.
- Is Paris Burning? Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. You guys, every bridge and monument in Paris was wired with explosives to be destroyed during WWII. It was only because of a general who just couldn’t bring himself to destroy it that we still get to enjoy Paris today. Read the full story in this book, and have the nervous sweats the whole time because of what could have been.
- Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik. Essays and stories about Paris that range from poetic, to hilarious, to emotional. Gopnik’s love of Paris is so intense that you can’t help but get swept up. Also, his analysis of the World Cup is and why Americans hate soccer is perfect. All of the quotes in this post are from him and I got to the point where I was dog-earing so many pages that reading the book was difficult.
- Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow. This one was given to me by an ex-pat who has been in Paris for a long time. She told me to read it because the authors just get what makes the French French and I couldn’t agree more. It is more of a socio-psychological approach with lots of research and analysis, but so, so good.
- Almost French, Sarah Turnbull. It is almost endearing to read a memoir of someone who hated Paris as first. For those of us who have made any sort of misstep in trying to navigate Parisian culture (and if you haven’t, you’re lying or naïve), the story of this rougher transition is perfect.
- My Life in France, Julie Child. Yes, this is a memoir about much more than just living in Paris. But at its core, her story is one of how being in Paris changed her life, and inspired her to dream bold dreams.
I went through all my old pictures from various times in Paris to select some images for this post and it just made me more excited about all the beauty awaiting me on the other side of the pond. If you are interested in seeing a lot of Paris pictures over the next month, feel free to follow along on Instagram @hannahkatherinew. I promise I won’t be offended when you un-follow me in August when I am back to sharing pictures of my brunch.Any other good Paris memoirs that I need to add to my ever-growing list?