Wandering Saint-Germain

Somewhere in Saint-Germain

Saint-Germain gallery window

Art Supply shop window

Rue de Seine, Saint-Germain

Somewhere in Saint-Germain

There’s a quote by the author Richard Holmes that I read in “Paris Was Ours,” an anthology of essays by expat creatives who move to Paris that Jamal got me for Christmas one year, that made me laugh when I first saw it:

Writers of course are always slightly ashamed at not being at their desks, especially in Paris, where they might be out – having a good time, mon dieu.

Richard Holmes

But now, having been here almost three weeks (THREE. YOU GUYS.) I can safely say it’s one of the most accurate things I’ve ever read. I’m always ashamed when I’m not at my desk or scribbling away in my notebook. Stopping for tea at Ladurée? GUILT. Browsing a store on Boulevard Haussmann? GUILT. Staring at the Eiffel Tower for half an hour? OH, THE SHAME.

So to combat this feeling, I’ve been going on what I like to call “book research walks.” A fancy way of justifying all the flâneur-ing I’m doing is to visit sites important to my novel, that way I can hardly be called out for not being productive. It’s book research! I’m gathering ideas. Why, I had to go to Saint-Germain (and visit City Pharma, the two story discount pharmacy mecca of French beauty products, ahem) at 8:30am! That’s where the gallery my characters work is located, bien sûr! The upside to this is that there was virtually no one else out that early, given that the area in Saint-Germain around Rue de Seine and Rue Bonaparte are where a large collection of art galleries and supply shops are, and they don’t open until later in the morning. I like having streets (or what feels like full neighborhoods) all to myself.

Other Paris Details of Note: I finally got to hang out and eat the most amazing carrot cake with Süsk & Banoo, and I can assure you, they are out-of-this-world delightful company to be around. So funny, so nice, so cool. To be honest I was a bit star-struck upon meeting them, and I’m sure I geeked out more than a few times. And speaking of blog friends, Annie is coming to visit today and staying for a few days. Oh, blogging. You wonderful friendship builder.

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May 21, 2014 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 19

19 comments

  • The third photo can’t be seen.

    • Hmm, did you try refreshing? All of them seem to load on different devices for me, even when I log out. And someone below mentioned they could see that third photo in specific (it’s a bird from an art supply shop :) xo

  • Yay for blogging friends! And that’s the thing about growing up – you now have the time and the means but ohhhh the guilt. It’s staggering at times

    • I’m glad it’s not just me!! The guiltttt sometimes could knock me over. xo

      • It was definitely what prevented me from traveling the year I worked at the start up… and now I wish I had. Sigh…

  • no guilt. you have to get out and take those walks as your characters and go their routes and watch how people in the pharma work and what they do and how they do it. those are the nuances, nuances make books.

    so many bloggers in paris! i want to be one too! xoxo ps i love seeing your pictures on your blog. paris is indeed so pretty.

    • “Nuances make books.” I could kiss you on both cheeks! You always know the exact right thing to say, don’t you? I like to look at it that way. Though I’m up to 57k words so far, even without writing anything since Wednesday morning! Not bad, pas mal ;) xo

  • Il ne faut pas se sentir coupable ! Paris il faut le vivre et c’est maintenant! Pourquoi t’amènes pas un petit carnet avec toi et comme ça tu peux écrire partout! Tu peut t’assoir tranquillement à Ladurée, manger ton cinquième? macaron et noté dans ton petit carnet!
    Profite Erin! T’auras largement le temps de t’assoir at your desk in Philadelphia ! A Paris “ton bureau”, c’est la rue ! xo

    • Oh, Eva, je veux ecrire “Paris est mon bureau” et le raccrocher dans mon appart! C’est incroyable, ça. C’est tellement vrai, et tu es trés intelligente et futée. Hehe, mon cinquième macaron. Bien sûr! Tu me connais bien :) Je porte un petit carnet avec moi et jusqu’ici j’ai ecrit dans parc Monceau, sur le bus, au resto, etc etc. J’essaie! Merci pour etre vous :) xo

  • No guilt Erin! You are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing in Paris- taking it all in and getting inspired. No shame in that! (Amazing pics- as always- by the way)

    • Thank you so much, doll!! I think I have to get rid of the idea that writing can only take place indoors, at a desk. xoxo

  • Don’t feel guilty! Besides, I’ve enjoyed living vicariously through you! Paris is probably the most guilt-ridden city for the fact that you are either vacationing or living in Heaven on Earth.

    Picture #3: Put a bird on it!

    • Did not think it was going to show up that large. Sorry!

    • Hahaha, I actually wrote about that a while back: http://www.ilikewantneed.com/2012/02/put-a-bird-on-it/ And the trend seems to have gone international now! ;) xo

      • Ha-ha! I agree with your post. Although, I do watch the show and love it, only because I grew up right outside of Portland. Also, birds make everything better and, yes, there is a lot of bird watching in PNW.

  • I think you’re being too hard on yourself. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again and again: those in between moments, when you aren’t actually writing, are some of the most important of all. You’re getting a lot done on those rambling walks, so trust. And wouldn’t you hate to go home and think, “I didn’t see enough of Paris while I was there? I wish I’d gotten out more?”

    • Ha, yeah, I suppose if I had to pick between “seeing Paris” and “devoting every spare minute to writing” I’d pick the former, with the contingent that I was writing AND seeing Paris :) I know I’m hard on myself, and you’d think it would have subsided here. Maybe I was being optimistic, haha. xoxo

  • beautiful pics. all of your posts make me smile these days :)

    • I’m glad I’m making you miss Paris! :) xo