I thought I’d send you an electronic postcard with news from Paris because you can never fit enough writing on the paper version!
It’s been over 30 degrees every day since we got to Europe almost two weeks ago. In Paris, yesterday, it was 37 degrees. This is not the Paris I know, where you seek refuge in the canopy of bistros and always wear a scarf!
But I’m not complaining. Everything is different over here, not just the weather. Locking up my apartment in frosty Melbourne cold, it was really hard to picture what this trip would be like. I already know that I never leave enough time to account for the brain-fry that is jet-lag, but I met a nice understanding lady at Le Pain Quotidien in Hampstead, London, who somehow noticed I’m from Australia and pitied my face.
“Have you found yourself crying at odd hours of the day?”
Why, yes, kind stranger, I have. How did you know?
You don’t realize how far away Australia is from the rest of the world until it takes you a day to get there, then almost a week to recover from the shock that you’ve crossed the time-space continuum and the sun is in the opposite direction in the sky.
After nightmares that my book wasn’t actually being published (and that I’d deluded myself for two years), I was sitting in the hotel lobby at Hotel Sevres Saint Germain on Wednesday morning when the poste arrived with a package. The receptionist gleefully called me over (I’d been pestering her for days about it) and I burst into tears (again). It’s so beautiful.
I feel like Eloise of the picture-books staying in this hotel, all happy and child-like and passing over our key with a “a tout alors!” whenever we exit the building. It’s very luxurious staying in a hotel in Paris, having your bed made and your towels changed and your coffee re-filled but especially having someone hand you your mail and wish you good morning in French every day.
Since my book’s physical ‘birth’ I’ve been carrying her all across Paris, taking her out for lunch at the Tuileries (above), to visit Notre Dame and the bridges of Paris, and today we travel down South to Saint Clair, Le Lavandou. And, of course, I’ve showed the French family which made me cry all over again.
On Wednesday, despite sweltering heat I visited Paris bookshops Libraire Galignairi, WH Smith on the Rue De Rivoli, and Shakespeare and Co as I’d promised, with bookmarks and bookplates.
As I passed the lady at Shakespeare + Co my prized first copy, she said sweetly:
“She is straight from the oven!”
Next week we’ll return for one of Shakespeare + Co’s lovely Thursday evening readings for our last night in Paris, before the long journey back to Melbourne.
It’s been amazing to be back in France again. I love the symmetry and the beauty on street-corners everywhere. I also love having French TV on in the background, (and learning new French words like “assassin” from the newspapers. And if you’ve never read your horoscope in French, you must try.) The French language is so dramatique…For pisces, apparently this week was all about a ‘voyage of le cour’…
A tout alors!
PS Publication date for A Letter From Paris in Australia is 3 September, and in the United Kingdom (including Paris English-language bookstores and, of course, Amazon), 13 September. You can pre-order her here.