I can't stay away.
I couldn't manage to get myself to Paris this year like I did last year. Not par avion, anyway.
I did squeeze in a quick trip to Paris this week via my favorite mode of transportation, le livre, the book.
I read David McCullough's The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris yesterday and then immediately picked up the fabulous children's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret today.
In The Greater Journey, McCullough relates the stories of Americans who benefited by spending time in Paris. You probably know about Ernest Hemingway and M.F.K. Fischer and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Benjamin Franklin, but do you know the stories of étrangers John Singer Sargeant and Mary Cassatt and Henry Longfellow and Robert Louis Stevenson and James Fenimore Cooper and Augustus Saint-Gaudens? McCullough tells tales of the American writers, artists, doctors, and others qui est venu à Paris between 1830 and 1900, revealing how ideas were shared and enlarged and improved by spending time in this amazing city. It was eerie and phénoménal, reading about Americans who walked, a hundred and fifty years ago, the same streets I did last summer, who stood where I stood, in Jardin du Luxembourg, at Saint-Sulpice, at the Arc de Triomphe, at Montmartre, at the Louvre. I was fascinated to see that these people wrote of how being in Paris changed them; I felt the same way when I returned home last summer. Paris m'a transformé.
And then I stepped into 1931 Paris via The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Author/illustrator Brian Selznick created an enormous 534-page picture book, the story of a boy left orphaned by the death of his parents and his uncle who must keep the clocks going in a train station in Paris. The boy, Hugo Cabret, works in his spare time to finish a project his father began, a mechanical man. It is when Hugo meets a toyshop owner and his ward that Hugo begins to finally complete the mechanical man and discovers what the mysteries behind what the mechanical man can do. This story has it all. Magic. Movies. Trains. Clocks. And, of course, Paris.
I can't seem to get Paris out of my head.