Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Paris in springtime, Shakespeare & Company....research is just so fun! ---Roxanne Rustand

My daughter and I went to Paris in May--my treat, but she had to do the planning, as I was busy with a book deadline and couldn't let myself concentrate on anything else.   I'm so thankful for her hard work

She made list after list, developed an Excel spreadsheet, and ultimately had our two weeks planned by the hour.

Of course, we didn't exactly adhere to The Plan, but it gave us a great structure so that we could make good use of every single day.  If I'd gone alone I would have wandered around missing everything that proved to be a great memory!

The photo of the Eiffel Tower was taken during our dinner cruise on the Seine.





As a writer, I was fascinated with the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, which is on the Left Bank very close to Notre Dame. The store began in 1919 in a  different location, was closed during the Nazi occupation and is now a booklovers dream--crowded, twisting aisles through towering bookshelves, little hide-aways with  easy chairs tucked here and there, charming signs posted in unexpected places, like "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise."  And, of course, there are the bookstore cats.



The most fascinating part of the store's history to me are the "Tumbleweeds," the writers who have come and gone through the decades. For generations, writers wandering into Paris have been welcomed to stay in the shop for free, sleeping in random cots throughout the store, if they would work in the store two hours a day, promise to read a book each day, and also promise to write for however long they stayed.

The other requirement is that they type a one-page biography, and now the store literally has thousand of these--many from illustrious writers of days gone by, such as  Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin--to name just a very few. And still, many avid writers both young and old who have yet to make their mark are welcomed to stay. What a fascinating tradition!  My big regret is that this store was on our itinerary and I enjoyed seeing it, but I had no idea of the depth of its history until my curiosity was spurred and I looked it up online after we got home.  I am completely frustrated this morning, by the way---I cannot find the photos I took of the bookstore!  I've looked, and looked....but finally had to get this blog posted.

So....here are the Eiffel tower,  some beautiful stained glass (I believe this is from Notre Dame, and just part of the gardens at Versailles. Our tour guide said that all of those trees you see in the garden are actually on little platforms with wheels, so they can be wheeled into a vast storage area (right under my feet, from where  I took the photo) for protection in the winter!

Our travels were fun, and I used them as research for a new novella, Christmas in Paris, which is part of the new Sweet Christmas Kisses  anthology, which is now available for pre-sale on Amazon for just 99 cents!

Best wishes to you all,
Roxanne Rustand





8 comments:

  1. That bookstore sounds amazing!! Just one more reason to add Paris to my bucket list!

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  2. I love Paris. So much great history.

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  3. Yes, I'm making a Paris bucket list too. I just finished reading The Paris Apartment. Good book but had to do more with painters than writers :)

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  4. Roxanne, Christmas in Paris sounds like a Hallmark movie!!! I love Paris! So much to see and do. Sounds as if you made the most of your two weeks. Great idea to let your daughter do the planning!

    I took French in high school and college, then studied German for the three years we lived there. Whenever we traveled to France, I invariably mixed my German with my French. The locals often looked at me askance, no doubt thinking "crazy American!"

    I didn't know about Tumbleweeds. Were there writers camping out in the store when you visited? How interesting and how marvelous that the tradition continues. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Wow, great pictures. Wish I had some research I needed to do in Paris. Sounds like you had a good trip.

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  6. Hi Roxanne,

    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. My cousin's daughter lived in France for a few years and she just loved it - especially Paris.

    That bookstore tradition sounds just incredible. I just love that tangible appreciation of writers and writing.

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