In which our well-traveled Editorial Director, Mallory, assuages her perennial wanderlust with literature. In this, her second installment, she returns to her beloved France.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the idea of France. My favorite writers are French. My style icons are Parisian. I could eat a baguette and cheese for breakfast, lunch, or dinner every day and never get tired of it. I like Serge Gainsbourg better than I like Bob Dylan (I know, sue me). Given the above, it should come as no surprise that I was a French major in college.
As a student, I was enraptured with stories of bohemians in Paris: the flâneurs, the poets, the painters, the photographers, the socialites, the expatriates, the novelists, the muses, the musicians… Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Picasso, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, Breton… the list goes on. I loved them because they embodied everything that my small-town Southern American upbringing didn’t: freedom, creativity, autonomy, community, idealism, excitement.
By the time I finally had the opportunity to visit France myself, it felt like hallowed ground to me. And even though Paris is not the center of the artistic universe anymore, it will always be one of my guiding stars.
As such, I will always love stories about la vie française, and especially about Americans living that life. Whenever I feel nostalgic for my time in France, or even just for my time discovering France through the books I fell in love with as a student, I turn to some of these titles, both classic and contemporary, fiction and nonfiction.
Photo credit: Rob Potvin via unsplash.com