Paris in July 2018

This is not an official button for Paris in July; I just happened to like this black and white photo of a woman sitting peacefully by the river. “What is it,” I ask myself, “that she is absorbed in reading on such a quiet day?”

For there is a wealth of literature from which she could choose. As for me, I am currently absorbed in Annie Ernaux’ The Years, which won the 2016 Strega European Prize and the 2018 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. (It is truly spectacular.)

And within my stacks we find treasures to be devoured such as these:

The Madeleine Project by Clara Beaudoux, about a young woman who moved into an apartment in Paris and discovered a storage room of belongings left by the previous owner, all of which Clara documented on Twitter;

nyrb classics such as Like Death by Guy de Maupassant, or Act of Passion by Georges Simenon;

Or, My Heart Hemmed In by Marie Ndaiye.

Each choice holds promise of beautiful writing, stories revealed, and a French atmosphere to absorb. I am eager for July.

And you? What are you reading for Paris in July?

37 thoughts on “Paris in July 2018”

  1. I missed the fact this was happening sorry so my reading is very UK based at the moment. I’m envying your trip to Paris even if it is via literature. Every book I read that is set in the city makes me realise how much of the city I have yet to explore..


    1. I wonder if we could ever fully explore Paris…I have been many, many times both as a child and an adult, and it never ceases to mesmerize me. I love the literature, the perfume, the architecture, the food. Reading about Paris can only give me a little taste, but sometimes that’s as good as a feast. I hope you can find some time for some French books this summer. Not that UK literature isn’t fabulous! The long list for the Booker should be out in July, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hooray! I’m glad you’re joining in on this event, too. I will either start with Judith Jones’ “My Life In Food” or Julia Childs’ “My Life in France.”

    Have a lovely week, Meredith. Do you know it’s Monday? Now that you’re retired, do you notice that it’s difficult to remember the day of the week? 🙂


    1. It’s really hard to keep track of the days now that I’m not writing them on the board every day! I swear I kept a schedule for myself as much as the children.

      The two books you’re thinking about starting sound wonderful. In fact, with your passion for walking, I wonder if you’ve read John Baxter’s The Most Beautiful Walk In the World? It is truly a lovely little book about walking throughout Paris.


      1. I have not read Baxter’s book, but I recognize the cover art from many years of shelving it in the travel essay section at B&N. It’s a lovely little book and one that I’m sure I’d have full of highlighting and Post-It flags, with hopes of actually taking those walks rather than just experiencing them from an armchair. Thank you for the recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not know of this author or book! Thanks for mentioning it; I’ll look at our library for a copy. Happy to be reading with you again, Audrey.


    1. I should have made the link to your challenge a bit more obvious; it’s a titch obscure even though it’s in the first paragraph. Glad to know you find some books of interest here, especially Madeleine which is full of photographs, and thank you for bringing Paris to our front doors via literature.


    1. Apparently The Years is “all the rage” now; it is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions (one of my favorite publishers) and Seven Stories Press here in the States which is how I got my copy. So, you may like that one. But I also find myself looking longingly at The Little Prince again, or Bonjour Tristesse.

      How wonderful that you’re going there this month! Wow, sit in the Luxembourg, and eat a jambon sandwich for me, please? xo


      1. Thanks so much! Of course I will, Bellezza! And I know publishers make a difference. One of my favorites is Gallic Books that is based in the UK and does French translations of some great books we otherwise would not see in the US.


  3. Hi Meredith, Annie Ernaux, I have several of her books in the original language. There seems to be certain writers in France who’s novels I do not like, words run into each other with little or no paragraphs, there is a sense of urgency which drives the narrative. After a few pages it gives me a feeling of anxiety.
    Perhaps the translation will be better, the English language doesn’t lend itself to this type of writing.


    1. You are so right, Sylvie, about the words all running together in a “stream of consciousness” way. At first this was a challenging style for me to read, but now I am able to accept it as the little sections of thought seem to resemble photographs on a page in an album; they all work together to form a cohesive whole. Yet, I can understand why you feel some anxiety reading it. This is the first book by Ernaux I have ever read.

      Are you reading anything for Paris in July?


  4. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on the non-Maigret Simenon – I’ve just finished a Maigret for Paris in July.

    Love your photos too 🙂


    1. I have only read one book by Georges Simenon before, and while I liked it, I wasn’t as astounded by it as so many readers are/have been. I’ll be curious how I react to this one, as well. 😉

      Thanks for enjoying the photographs.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I have always heard such wonderful things about him in the blog-o-sphere, but he is rather new to me as well. I’ve only read one book of his, so it isn’t at all fair to say I know, or admire, his work. We’ll have to discover him together.


  5. I know what I’d do with a trip to Paris:

    1. Sainte Chapelle- from the inside this time
    2. St. Denis -since I’m in town
    3. Serge Lutens, Guerlain and other assorted perfumeries
    4 the bookstalls – just because. You never know what you might find

    Nothing else seems that important. But I might find something.

    As for books, I think I’ll finish my comparison of The Doctor’s Wife and Madame Bovary then (hopefully) locate my copy of the Illiad. Just for fun.


    1. Let me go with you! I have loved St. Chappelle’s windows from the inside, but I have not entered Guerlain (although I wear Chantes d’Arome, Mitsouko, and L’Heure Bleu) because I was too intimidated at the time…foolish, I know. And the bookstands! Oh, I would love to peruse them for hours and hours. What good ideas you have, Abby.


    1. I have come to appreciate stream of consciousness writing, it’s almost like looking through a photo album, and I am surprised how similar Ernaux’s experiences are to mine. Or, her thoughts anyway. I think you will really enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the photo for Paris in July. I wonder what she is reading? An interesting choice of books for the month. The Madeleine Projects sounds fascinating, must look out for that book. What a treat to find such a treasure. Simenon is Paris himself! I have only recently read one of his Maigret novels and really liked it. Still valid and good after all these years.


  7. Ooooh, this sounds delicious…. but… 😦 I’m afaid I’m going to be in Port William, U.S.A., with Wendell Berry’s characters. But I will make a note of all these titles. I would love to do a France-related reading project on my own someday, and I would include M.F.K. Fisher’s books written about her years there, though they are not fiction; they are delicious, too, in other ways, sometimes culinary.


  8. I have never read Wendell Berry; he sounds like a delightful “tour guide” from what I quickly read about him on a search. I hope you have a marvelous time together ;), and even find some time for Fischer.


  9. If it’s the book I’m thinking of then I don’t think Act of Passion will be your cup of tea. I’ve read so many Simenon’s it’s hard to keep them straight. I’d forgotten all about Paris in July, but I do have a small stack of Maigret novels in my tbr bookcase…… 🙂


  10. I just started “Remembrances of Things Paris,” a collection of essays about (mostly) Paris from Gourmet, edited by Ruth Reichl. And I’ll be writing about French cookbooks and “The Red Notebook” by Antoine Laurain. And more Maigrets. Is the one you mentioned by Simenon a Maigret too? It doesn’t seem familiar.


    1. I remember Ruth Reichl’s writing, didn’t she write Tender at The Bone? (Or something like that!) I love how you’re focusing on food, which is a brilliant aspect of Parisian/French life to read about. How I long for the crusty baguettes with Brie and jambon and unsalted butter, the coffees which no one (not even the Italians!) can duplicate, and an omelette.

      I do not believe this particular Simenon novel is one of the Maigret novels; I’ll let you know what it’s about, but I better get busy reading since July is almost half over by now!


  11. Beautifully written..unfortunately , I am not reading anything on Paris as of now but hey I was in Paris with my family very recently and We just loved the vibes there.. I would like to share my whole Paris experience here and by the time you gonna end reading this write up, you will be in even deeper love with Paris,I guarantee ! 🙂
    #MinimumText #MaximumPhotographs #JustGoogle : #InsideOutwithRahulYuvi


  12. So far all the books I’ve read for Paris in July are pure fluff. I read; Paris, My Sweet, Paris, Baby and Entre Nous. Everyone else is featuring intellectual books and mine are mindless fluff. Oops. Oh well, I guess someone has to be over here in the shallow end of the pool!


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