Doug and I are really looking forward to our upcoming adventure to Europe this fall and to get in the mood, light some fires, prepare ourselves, we are trying to read books and see movies set in the different cities we’ll be visiting. We welcome your suggestions, as well as your favourite restaurants, neighbourhoods, cafes, and explorations to sample while we are there!
We’ve both been to Paris a few times and love walking around this magical city, exploring the Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre, the Pompidou, and the Jeu de Paume. I’ve sipped cafe creme in the Marais district (I say I because Doug doesn’t drink coffee!), we’ve munched baguettes with creamy goat cheese while we generally rush around to see as much as we can…
Here are three books and five movies (which exemplify and excite) about Paris:
- Paris Letters by fellow Canadian Janice MacLeod who packed up her life to embark on a journey to Paris where she fell in love not only with the city but also a butcher! Her story is inspiring, delightful, and funny, and was definitely a catalyst for pushing me to fulfill my dream of living in Paris, if only for a month!
- Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda. A girlfriend gifted it to me several years ago and I devoured it then and am re-reading it now…beautifully written, a true gem. It’s the story of a starving artist named Camille, her shy, aristocratic neighbour, his obnoxious but talented roommate, and his neglected grandmother. Gavalda weaves a delicious web about this curious, damaged quartet and I couldn’t put it down, then or now!
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (it also came out as a movie, quite good but the book is much better!). It is the engaging, funny, and quirky story of Renee, the intelligent yet reclusive concierge of an elegant apartment in the centre of Paris, twelve-year-old genius Paloma who lives upstairs and wants to end her life, and their relationship with a wealthy Japanese man who moves into the building.
- Amelie the incredible movie about a young woman in Paris, played by the gorgeous French actress Audrey Tatou, who masterfully yet innocently helps people, and along the way discovers love. I adore Amelie/Audrey…her delicacy, her positivity, and her inner beauty – and the soundtrack is amazing! Audrey Tatou also portrays Camille in the French movie Ensemble, c’est tout based on the book Hunting and Gathering, which I’m hoping will be on Netflix in Paris because I want to see that too!
- The Untouchables, the very touching (…) and funny story about a cranky quadriplegic aristocrat living in Paris, who hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver. Heartfelt, uplifting, and very well acted!
- Before Sunset with the beautiful talented Julie Delpy and the ever-charming Ethan Hawke who meet up nine years after ‘we’ first meet them one night in Vienna in Before Sunrise. The meandering conversational flow continues in Paris from whence it began and the love story also develops into part three of the trilogy – Before Midnight.
- Midnight in Paris, the time-travel romance staring Owen Wilson who plays a romantic suffering writer’s block. It’s a quirky tale that flips between present-day Paris, and the City of Lights in the 1920s.
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the action-packed latest Tom Cruise epic battle against evil, where apparently Tom does all his own stunts, and on an incredible motorcycle chase takes Paris by storm through its windy streets, cobblestone alleys, sidewalk cafes, and around l’Arc de Triomphe like you’ve never seen it! The cinematography is incredible and this from someone who doesn’t often watch such fast-paced action adventure thrillers!
So there you have it…eight ways to prep for Paris! We would love to hear about your favourite books and movies about this incredible City of Lights and also if you have any insights on fun, quirky, interesting things to see and do while we make our home there for a month!