This post is for my friend, M, who is travelling to Paris and other European cities with her family soon. I stayed in Paris for three weeks a couple of years ago – to celebrate my 40th birthday, do a writing course, take some art classes and shop, of course – alone! It was magical.
I wrote my heart out around Paris with Darla Worden’s Left Bank Writers’ Retreat – six days of tracing Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps, writing in gardens, lunching at literary restaurants, looking at art. I am so glad I am still connected with the other fabulously creative American writers I met there.
I took a few art classes with Pauline Fraisse, who helped me to improve my sketching in Monet’s garden, Jardin des Plantes and cafes.
M, here are a few books you might find useful – a gorgeously photographed book, a chic style and shopping book and a thoughtful, well-researched non-fiction book on fascinating French women. I’ll be dropping them on your doorstep later today!
Paris, a guide to the city’s creative heart by Janelle McCulloch – this book is so beautiful that you could frame every one of its pages. It’s divided into two sections – the first is divided down further by arrondissement so it’s easy to know what to look out for if you’re in the 11th or 18th arrondissement. The second half has different sections for design, style and flavour. I found this book so helpful for directing me to paper stores, tea salons, perfume shops, etc. Miss 9 still has the tricolour (red, white and blue) hair ribbons I bought for her in an old, rambling store where apparently Jean-Paul Gaultier buys his ribbons. C’est bon!
Parisian chic, a style guide by Ines de la Fressange with Sophie Gachet – you just know you are going to receive wonderful fashion advice from someone called Ines de la Fressange! This book has more amateur-style photos and lots of bullet points. There are four sections – Dress like a Parisian with photos of Ines’ gorgeous-looking daughter, places to shop and tips to look like a Parisian fashionista. The second section is Belle of the ball with beauty and make-up tips. Third section is called Chez moi – lists of places to shop for homewares and the fourth section is Ines’ Paris with her favourite places for families, accommodation and restaurants. So if you would like to dress, shop and look nonchalantly Parisian, this book is for you. Ooh la la!
True pleasures, a memoir of women in Paris by Lucinda Holdforth – this book weaves Lucinda’s own story in with her visit to Paris and her research on many interesting women, such as Hortense Mancini, Colette and Josephine, Napoleon’s wife. It’s an interesting read, and brings past and present together seamlessly, along with highlighting all of Paris’ charms. C’est magnifique!
Any other Paris tips or books for my friend? Places to shop? Cafes and restaurants? Museums and gardens?