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.
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.