I love reading essays and short pieces about a topic or place I enjoy. If you do as well, "France, A Love Story" (subtitled "Women Write about the French Experience) might suit you well. Edited by Camille Cusamano, the book features 25 essays by women both unknown and known to me, including M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl and Alice B. Toklas.
The essays are set around the country. There are plenty of pieces set in Paris but you can also travel to Dordogne on an archaeology dig;, Gascony, in search of that most highly prized mushrooms, the cepes; and throughout areas of France torn by World War I (with Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein).
In an excerpt from "Comfort Me with Apples" by Ruth Reichl (reviewed here), the writer recalls a visit to Paris with her editor in which it's difficult to know which mattered more -- her fling with the editor or all the fabulous food to which he introduced her at some of Paris' grand restaurants.
|A to-die-for meal at Verjus. 2012|
M.F.K. Fisher recalls one of her first meals in France during her honeymoon and it is clear that both the food and the service influenced her career as one of America's premiere food writers.
There are stories of broken hearts, whirlwind romances and a quest to find the source of the Seine.
|Site of a picnic on the Seine, somewhere between Giverny and Normandy|
Or, you will spend time with a woman who spent one summer (and several after) learning how to build the classic mortar walls seen in so many French towns as she worked with a group of Masons on a chateau.
|Our picnic was in an area with this very old wall -- perhaps built the way as the one in the essay.|
And then, there are stories of women making that journey with their mothers as adults, including a rather delightful bit as a daughter accompanies her fashion writer mother to a Parisian show.
All in all, this book is a treat. Essays are always a fast read and I confess, I was sorry it was over.
This post is part of Paris in July at Tamara's Thyme for Tea. Check it out to find more posts related to Paris and France on topics from food to film, books to travel.
Sharing with: Paris In July