Friday, 23 January 2015

Paris: je t'aime

Who doesn't love Paris?

Those who have travelled to France, and in particular its capital, Paris, will tell you it's one of the most beautiful and romantic cities on Earth.

Those who have not been to France, dream of going. According to the website France Diplomatie, the country welcomes something like 83 million tourists each year.

I am fortunate to have visited France several times, but I will admit, and those who know me will attest, that I'm Italian at heart; my favourite travel destination is  Rome.

Meanwhile, Stuart has suggested that we ought to visit Paris soon as it's been a few years since our last trip - perhaps we can call in on our way to Rome, I say with a sneaky wink!

So this got me thinking. Paris is known for her magnificent palaces and museums; Versailles and the Louvre come immediately to mind, then there's L'arc di Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower - these are the obvious ones. There is so much more to Paris, and France, than I could possibly talk about here!

Of all the wonderful sites I have visited, there is one stand out place that I would love to take Stuart one day, and I'm sure many of you who have been there will agree. This is a sanctified place of haunting gothic beauty. I'm talking, of course, about Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

This is the last resting place of such talents as singer Edith Piaff, the French writer Honore de Balzac, Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, Polish composer Frederic Chopin, French writer Marcel Proust, that most wonderful literary wit Oscar Wilde, and way too many more to list here - including cult figure Jim Morrison.

Writers, composers, musicians, poets, artists of all genres are represented here, and why not? Paris's Left Bank - that is the southern, or left bank, of the River Seine, has long been associated with artists, poets and writers. 

And these days, it seems nothing much has changed.

I often trawl the internet looking for festivals and other kinds of writing events, and while doing so recently, I came across a most exciting looking competition - the Paris Book Festival.

Basically, this is a competition with a list of categories so extensive that there's a section for everyone, regardless of the genre in which you write.

The entry fee of U.S. $50 is very reasonable and the best bit - you can pop over to Paris in the springtime when the winners will be announced.

Ah, Paris in the springtime!

I studied French for four years and was becoming quite proficient at one stage, but that was so long ago that these days I'm more likely to embarrass myself than make polite conversation! It's funny though, that when I'm speaking Italian, the odd French word sneaks in. The two languages have enough similarities and share so many words that I get mixed up - I'm easily confused!

There you go! As if you needed another reason to visit the City of Lights! Especially if you're a writer. You have until April 25th to get your entry in, so what are you waiting for?

Until next week - bonne ècriture (I think that's French for happy writing, but I could be wrong!)

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