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Monday, March 28, 2011

My Hemingway Years (4)

Exploring Paris

Walking the streets of Paris, France, some of the same streets Hemingway had walked, was exciting and humbling. I had never seen anything like it before--the overwhelming presence of the past. It was as if the past were alive. The narrow streets banked by brick walls of buildings built hundreds of years before, the huge cathedrals, the sense of being in another world, were always present. The outdoor cafes, the bistros, the restaurants, the smell of baking bread, was nothing like I, a boy from Jacksonville, Florida, had ever experienced.

Here, in Paris, was the habitue of some of the greatest artists, scientists, theologians, philosophers, writers, and poets of all time, many of whom had walked some of these same streets that I was walking. They were all around me: Hemingway, Zola, Voltaire, Picasso, Modigilani, Sartre, Camus, and many others. Their presence soaked into me. I became a part of them, or they became a part of me. As the days went by and I began to know my way around the Latin Quarter, St-Germain-des-Pres, and Invalides, it was no longer Hemingway's Paris. It had become my Paris, my home, my habitue--a place I never wanted to leave.

7 comments:

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh so much fun! Are these beautiful pictures ones you took on this trip?

Richard said...

Thank you for the compliment, Tanya. All photos are mine.

Jolene Perry said...

Maybe I already said this, but I'm writing a book right now that takes place in Paris, and I'm DYING to go back. Been twice and loved the city.

Richard said...

I'm wondering how much time you've spent in Paris, and to what degree does the setting play into your story. Is the story very long? How close are you to finishing it? I suppose the answers might be in your blog, but I'll ask anyway. Hope you see this and respond.

Ivy Hawthorn said...

I scrolled down to see the rest of pictures as well. Very beautiful! I've been to Paris once, it was sooo charming.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

As much as you love Paris, have you returned since then? Ever have the urge to write a story based there?

Richard said...

I've never been back. Never been back to Europe at all. So my knowledge of Europe is about forty years behind the times. I'd love to go back someday, but I'm not sure I ever will. Yes, I'd like to write a book based in Paris--I've been keen to write something about the expressionists or their time period. Not sure I ever will; I've got five or ten novels already written to finish before tackling that subject matter.