Monday, December 31, 2012

Dreaming of France -- Le Road Trip

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
I'm not sure why this book sat on my shelf for so long before I finally picked it up to read it. It was a quick fun read with lots of illustrations and love for France.
The author, Vivian Swift, compares travelling to falling in love. She retells the story of her 2005 honeymoon with her husband James, along with relating the travels to previous trips she took starting in the 1970s.
Swift must be drawing and journaling constantly as she travels, sharing her insights and quirky illustrations.

I loved her insights on fashion for tourists and the French,  and the simplest drawings of gates outside buildings or pastries or sunsets.
Here's a photo I took of one of the pages. You can see that Swift illustrated and romanticized the different windows that she saw in French buildings. For instance, she said the top left window could be "poet's garret, maid's room, foreign studentin in the attic." I like the one in the second row from the top on the right, which she dubs "Novelist's atelier." No doubt I'll be staring out of a window like that as I write one day.

My other favorite part of the book was her trip to Normandy and her decription of Gustave Flaubert's desperation to leave the provinces. It sounded so much like my own teenage boys.
"My youth steeped me in an opiate of bordeom sufficient for the remainder of my days," Swift quoted Flaubert about why he wrote Madame Bovary.
And another quote from Flaubert in a letter to his friend. "I loathe it, I despise it. Oh, Attila, when wilt thou return, kind humanitarian, with 400,000 horsemen, to set fire to this land of trouser straps and suspenders." Obviously, Swift has inspired me to read Flaubert.
Swift started her journey in Paris then travelled to Normandy, Brittany, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Chartres and back to Paris.
I enjoyed travelling through France with Swift and her new husband. You should consider taking Le Road Trip too.


Linda said...

I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds really good. Another one for my list.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Another one for my list too Paulita .. I have added a new blog post, hope I have linked back , Happy New Year x

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

oops Paulita, seemed to have done it twice ... :-)

Paulita said...

Yes, this is a fun, quick read. Thanks, Linda and Anne!

Esme said...

This looks fun-I will check it out-you are the second person who mention Samuel Lake

PS my mum is in the hospital permanently however thank you for your kind words.

Virginia said...

I loved Le Road Trip. It was a fun read and her illustrations are a delight!

I"m in with the meme this week. Thanks for reminding me.

Sim Carter said...

The illustrations are really charming. J'adore!

barb said...

Happy New Year! I arrive via Anne in Oxfordshire's blog.
It is wonderful to see all this enthusiasm for France!
I have called France home since 20+ years( I am US born.

Enjoy the meme, fellow Francophiles!

Louise said...

I have this one on my TBR already, but I'm more keen now. And I hope you do get to reading Flaubert. The French classics are amazing, so different to what was being written in English. I've only read a bit, but he's extraordinary, and always more fascinating each time you hear anything more about him. I've blogged a bit about Flaubert in the past, you can find them him in my labels. Sadly I didn't blog Madame Bovary when I read it.

France Motorways said...

You've put together a fantastic post here! If any of your readers are regular visitors, or are planning a longer journey through France, they might be interested in the Liber-T tag from Sanef Tolling. The tag enables UK motorists to use the automatic telepeage lanes, which have previously been reserved for French residents. Find out more here:

Best wishes, Alex

A Quick Visit to Paris

I love traveling to Paris. It always fills me with joy — all the beauty and the history!  Lights on the water The sky was much darker than s...