Dreaming of a writer’s life in Paris

I’ve got Paris on my mind.

About a month ago, I picked up a book called Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer. I was browsing in one of my favourite bookstores when I saw it. I had never heard of the book before, but the subtitle caught my eye: “A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.” The memoir is about one Canadian writer’s experience living and writing above the famous bookstore.

I’ve spent some time writing in Paris as well. All right—my experience was nothing like Mercer’s. I was in Paris for a brief time in 2007. For the second half of September, I wandered the city streets, visited landmarks and ate pastries. But, maybe because I went alone, I ended up writing a lot, too. I took a notebook with me everywhere I went. I wrote from the lookout of the Eiffel Tower. I wrote under a tree in Père Lachaise Cemetery. I wrote in quaint cafés and on benches that line the Seine.

I made a point of visiting Shakespeare and Company, too, and was entranced by the store’s beauty and by the amount of books surrounding me. But at that time, I was unaware there were writers living upstairs, typing and scribbling away as I shopped below.

before entering the shop in September 2007

Since finishing Time Was Soft There, I’ve read a few other books that are set in Paris. Sometimes it was because of a conscious effort (Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London). Other times, it was a coincidence (David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day). I just can’t seem to kick my Paris habit. At least not yet.

I don’t believe anyone has to go to Paris in order to write. And I know the idea is a cliché. But the romantic in me can’t help but dream about living and writing in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.


9 thoughts on “Dreaming of a writer’s life in Paris

  1. I know the feeling. I share a similar dream for London. Last summer, I spent three weeks in London, writing in various coffee shops and book stores. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to do it again. That being said, writing can happen anywhere if you’re open to your muse. 🙂

  2. Have you seen the movie midnight in Paris? Ever since I saw it, i have been obsessed with someday living and writing in paris… even for just a short time! Great movie, written by woody allen, highly recommended

  3. I think one of the things about going somewhere and writing (like how you went to Paris, NIcky or how C.B Wentworth went to London) is that often, we’re going for vacation or for work, but even if it is for work, we have more ‘free time’ than we normally do at home. If you’re away, there aren’t as many obligations, often time the work day itself isn’t as long as it normally would be.

    When I went down to San DIego last summer to visit my fiance as a surprise, ComicCon was happening and he was working the event, I didn’t have any kind of pass to get in and so I spent my days wandering around San Diego, sitting by the ocean in cafes and catching all the hubbub that was going on with ComicCon.
    I didn’t have to work, so I had lots of time, and I got a lot of writing done

    There definitely is something romantic about going to Paris, and London, or wherever ‘your’ city happens to be. It must be good for ones soul also!

  4. Nicky, I think I understand how you feel. The romance of Paris keeps calling to me. Perhaps you will return some day. I hope that I will.

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