My 7 Fave Books About Paris

America is my country

and

Paris is my hometown.

Gertrude Stein

“I don’t like reading!” must be the only chorus my two younger teens agree on. They usually bicker like cat and dog yet form a united front on the topic of books, stubbornly glueing their noses to the computer. If it’s any consolation for a mother, at least, their older brother in college actually values the occasional recommendation, discussing his insights and revelations when we talk on the phone. He says this may simply be a function of age and how the book resonates with his current life journey. I say one out of three kids is not a bad average, yes?

In honor of this blog’s favorite French fan’s birthday, here are  stories set in Paris you’ll want to chill with on or off the beach this summer:

The Flaneur by Edmund White. Because meandering strolls with no particular destination is so very Parisian, observing the everyday theater on the city streets.

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Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (2001): What would it be like to raise children in Paris? An American writer shares his adventures starting a new career and family abroad.

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Almost French by Sarah Turnbull.  An Australian’s memoir of her giant leap, moving to Paris and marrying into a different culture.

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The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain.  Would you marry a struggling writer much younger than you? Could you be friendly with your husband’s mistress? A story told from the point of view of Hemingway’s first wife.

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My Life in France by Julia Child.  How did the student become the master? Julia tells of her move to Paris with her husband before she figured out what she wanted to do when she grows up.

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. A bookseller helps heal wounded hearts by prescribing the perfect story for them to read, eventually mending his own.

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Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. shares her 20 style secrets learned while living in Paris.

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Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what’s on your summer reading list.  Stay cool and tres chic!

xoxox

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Sharon Birke

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201 697 1947

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A Kiss for Rodin

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Like the great sculpture Auguste Rodin, dance and movement inspire me.   Throughout his career, Rodin produced several interpretations full of sensuality or eroticism, seeking to express emotion through muscular movement and saying, “The sculptor must learn to reproduce the surface, which means all that vibrates on the surface: soul, love, passion, life.”   

The passionate love of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta portrayed in Dante’s Divine Comedy was the theme behind Rodin’s The Kiss, a blend of eroticism and idealism in the form of two lovers emerging from the highlights and shadows.  Because he adored nature, Rodin turned to women as his main subject of observation. Depending on the young women who posed for him, he chose postures likely to give her body the most expression.  I love that Rodin’s approach to sculpting women was a tribute to bodies, not just submissive to men but as full partners in ardor.  My photography pays homage to his quote:

 I do not create.  I see.  

And it is because I see that I am capable of making.

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My favorite piece in the Musee Rodin in Paris is this small but eloquent La Valse (The Waltz) by Camille Claudel, Rodin’s much younger student, muse and then mistress.  When he left her, she destroyed many of her works and eventually died alone in a psychiatric hospital.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share one good reason why a (talented) woman should lose her head over a man?  Sigh!

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email Me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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 xoxox

Scene on the Seine

It’s good to do uncomfortable things.

It’s weight training for life.

Ann Lamott

Mark III (my camera) and I are off on another European honeymoon, photographing who and what make us happy.  Friends who have never traveled or dined solo ask, “How do you do it?”  I say it’s my fun version of silent meditation, time to play voyeur–like watching reality TV without the TV, listening in on conversations in a variety of languages I don’t understand.  It’s about curiosity and freedom in solitude.  Even if you don’t travel for work, every mom should leave their adorable cutiepies home at least once a year and give herself the gift to go wherever she wants, wake and sleep when she feels like it, and pay attention to her own pleasures.

First stop, Paris!

With all the walking up and down countless staircases in buildings and metros, gym membership is unnecessary here despite the baguettes, croissants, and frites. Getting lost is the perfect excuse to ask for directions and practice speaking French–I’m just amazed that some locals don’t understand their own language?! 😉  Today I felt like I won the megamillion lottery finding someone off the street who spoke English and knew the train transfers to get me to a little known destination for which I had mapquested the wrong address.

And you know what’s so great about  traveling when it’s still chilly?   Your toes are too numb to feel how much they hurt from all the walking!

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

What I love to do in this town:

Tear up (or snore) listening to live classical music at the glorious Sainte Chapelle

8 Boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris
01 53 40 60 80

Paris Saint Chapelle by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Drool over well heeled desserts…

French high heels in chocolate by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

…and chic Pariseinnes!

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Dine fancy like

the Cristal Room at the Baccarat Museum

11,Place des Etats Unis

(Ok, this one’s not that close to the Seine)

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Gape at the architecture

Notre Dame at night by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Stroll through the Tuileries and walk for miles and miles

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Catch some Louvre

or my favorite is it’s petite neighbor, the Musee des Arts Decoratifs

107 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
01 44 55 57 50

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Do a little dance at

Le Caveau de la Huchette for swing dancing with the locals and a live jazz band–it’s a cave of a wine cellar below street level.

5 rue de la Huchette

Barrio Latino for salsa (not next door to the Seine)

46 Rue du Faubourg St. Antoine

Paris Salsa Barrio Latino by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Travel back in time and read some at Shakespeare & Co. while someone may serenade you on the old piano.

37 Rue de la Bucherie 75005 Paris
01 43 25 40 93

Paris Shakespeare & Co. bookstore by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glimpse my future European mansion

Paris Hotel de Sully by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Stay away from the Eiffel–

except when it glitters at night

and toast it with fresh squeezed orange juice and Salad Chaillot at Cafe du Trocadero.

8 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre 75116 Paris
01 44 05 37 00

The Trocadero is where you get the best view of the Eiffel.

Paris Sightseeing by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Without the Eiffel, wonder what else might be Paris’ icon?

Paris Vespa by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Stalk a mystery Frenchman 😉

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And pose for a self-portrait

(You know I mean my reflection on the glass window, yes?)

Paris Travel by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

An early Happy April Fool’s and a bientot!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what thrills you in the City of Light.

xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

PowerfulGoddess@me.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Romance and Fools

Life Is Too Short–So Kiss Slowly,
Laugh Insanely, Love Truly,
And Live With Passion.

Andy Vogt

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

If there is truth in Oscar Wilde’s line that men want to be a woman’s first love while women want to be a man’s last romance, where does this leave a woman who discovers she isn’t?  I laughed and cried through If I Were You, a film starring Marcia Gay Harding as a long married woman who serendipitously saves the life and career of her husband’s mistress.  They agree to do what the other says (including pretending that she, too, is having an affair) and they end up starring in a Shakespearean production with Marcia as King Lear and the mistress as the  King’s Fool.

Lear’s Fool is a blend of wit, shrewd innocence, wicked glee, truthful humor and devotion.  It represents our freedom to challenge assumptions we hold dear about justice, the nature of humanity, and the rules of society.  Lear blames everyone and everything for his sorrow (except himself, of course) until he is caught in the middle of a storm stripped and alone.  “Is man no more than this?,” he asks over and over, “Who am I?” then for the first time, places his Fool’s comfort before his own.  Losing everything we hold dear and losing our wits clear the fog of petty pretenses, false virtue, ambition and indifference to what truly matters.

Click on “Leave a Comment” above left to share how you romance your own Fool.

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Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

 xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

PowerfulGoddess@me.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Paris Romance Portraits by Sharon Birke www.PowerfulGoddess.com

xoxox

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