Hello my Travellati friends,
We are so looking forward to the fun we will have in the City of Lights this June! To get you in the mood, whether you are planning to join us in person or just in spirit, I’d like to suggest a few books and movies that you might enjoy delving into.
First up is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, the memoir he wrote late in his life about the Paris days of his youth. It’s a wonderfully evocative and poetic work. We’ll be visiting many of the places Hemingway mentions in this work, following in his footsteps through the Latin Quarter, Montparnasse, and the Right Bank.
As a counterpoint, you may also like to read Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in which Stein speaks in her companion Alice’s voice to describe their time together in Paris. She mentions Hemingway, as Hemingway mentions her in A Moveable Feast, with some disdain and animosity, since these memoirs were written after their close friendship had dissolved. This is one of Stein’s most readable works and is quite amusing.
A must-read is Hemingway’s first, and in some opinions, greatest novel: The Sun Also Rises. Set partly in Paris, it is a thinly veiled roman à clé of the people he knew there. It includes a trip to Pamplona, with a wonderful description of the Feast of San Fermin and the running of the bulls. Hemingway finished the draft of this novel in his favorite café in Paris, La Closerie Des Lilas, where we plan to meet Hemingway in person. We’ll also see The Café Select where Jake Barnes meets Lady Brett Ashley as well as the former Dingo Bar, where Hemingway first met F. Scott Fitzgerald and partied with Lady Duff Twysden, the model for Lady Brett (you can’t make a name like this up!). The publication of The Sun Also Rises ended many of Hemingway's friendships due to his acerbic depictions of his friends in this book.
Not to be missed is Woody Allen’s wonderful film, Midnight in Paris, and the inspiration for Travellati Tours. Woody Allen, move over! The plot is delightful, the acting superb, the costumes gorgeous, the settings all in Paris, many of which are recognizable and which we will visit. In Midnight in Paris, a screenwriter travels to Paris with his fiancée hoping to be inspired for the novel he is trying to write, when one evening at midnight…you have to see it to find out the rest.
A wonderful movie consisting of 16 alternately amusing and poignant vignettes set in Paris is Paris, je t’aime ("Paris, I love you"), with short pieces by various directors including Gus Van Sant and actors such as Steve Buscemi. My favorite is the last one, in which a woman postal worker from a small American town decides to go on the trip of a lifetime and visit Paris by herself.
Join us in the moveable feast that is Paris this June, staying up past midnight and perhaps even watching the sun rise on the longest day of the year.
For a sneak peak, please join us this Saturday, January 28, at The New York Times Travel Show "Meet the Experts" session, where I will be answering questions about Hemingway’s Paris and Bowie’s Berlin from 1:00-1:45. Contact me for discount tickets and we can plan to meet up in person!
If you've already made up your mind, reserve your room now for our Papa’s Paris Tour, set to start on June 17 from our lovely hotel in the heart of Paris’s ancient and romantic Latin Quarter, right across from Hemingway’s former apartment. We will take a leisurely week-long stroll back in time as we encounter Papa himself, Gertrude Stein, and the F. Scott Fitzgeralds. Perhaps you too will say, "Paris, je t'aime!"
As always, happy travels!