>Kick off Passport to France!

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Paris je t’aime.
Hello Lovers! Are you ready to get another stamp in those passports? I sure am, and this time we are going to one of the most inspirational places in the world…FRANCE! To add to the whole tourist experience please enjoy this song (because “La Vie En Rose” really adds ambiance to this segment).
Ahhhhh….France. Did you know that it is ranked first in tourist destinations…ahead of Italy and even Spain. Perhaps it is due in part to the numerous renowned art museums, the beautiful architecture or the landscapes of the French country. All are excellent reasons to visit France but I believe it has more to do with it’s history and the artists, poets, and writers that have left a lasting legacy of  the country and it’s native Frenchmen (or women for that matter).

Le Pont Japonais a Giverny Poster Print by Claude Monet, 36x24Artist’s like Claude Monet, the founder of the French Impressionist movement, give credence to the inspiration of his time and surroundings. Monet was both the most typical and the most individual painter associated with the Impressionist movement. His long life and extraordinary work were dedicated to a pictorial exploration of the sensations which reality, and in particular landscape, offer the human eye. Monet’s poplars, grain stacks, Rouen Cathedral, and waterlily paintings — among the most beloved works of the Impressionist period — were created long before the currents of the contemporary avant-garde and had an inestimable influence on the development of modern art. For an excellent book on this artist I encourage you to pick up a book by Karin Sagner titled Claude Monet – 1840-1926: a Feast for The Eyes. This book traces the life’s work of one of art history’s most beloved painters.
Marcel Proust: A Life (Penguin Lives)Prefer something more literary? How about the impact writers like Marcel Proust have had on fiction with books like the mammoth “Remembrance of Things Past”? Even here at Paperback Dolls we pay homage to monsieur Proust in some of the interviews we conduct with authors. We refer to them as “The Paperback Proust” but they were made famous by the questionnaire Marcel Proust would give himself and his responses to the questions posed. Deemed the “greatest novelist of the 20th century” by English writer Graham Greene, Proust’s work is still on several required reading lists. But, like many French artists, I find his life as intriguing as his body of work and one of the best books about the man behind the writer is by Edmund White titled “Marcel Proust: A Life
The Phantom of the OperaAnd of course, I can’t forget about Gaston Leroux and “Phantom of The Opera”. Originally published as a serial story, when it was finally released as a novel it sold very poorly. In fact, it went out of print several times during the twentieth century. It regained popularity with the stage and film adaptations, (I will refrain from belting out Andrew Lloyd Webber) but the story is nonetheless captivating to me. Music, theatre, love, death, murder, a deformed man who turns as monstrous on the inside as he is on the outside by jealousy and a desperate need for love, only to be transformed by the end of the tale by the kiss of the one he loves all taking place in a Paris Opera house…what’s not to love and obsess over?  
Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life
Enough obsessing over the Phantom, I have one more favorite book to share with you today about another famous French-woman…Coco Chanel. None can deny her singular influence on fashion and her life was even more fascinating. The story of Chanel begins with an abandoned child, as lost as a girl in a dark fairy tale. Unveiling remarkable new details about Gabrielle Chanel’s early years in a convent orphanage, and her flight into unconventional adulthood, Justine Picardie explores what lies beneath the glossy surface of a mythic fashion icon.


Throwing new light on her passionate and turbulent relationships, this beautifully constructed portrait gives a fresh and penetrating look at how Coco Chanel made herself into her own most powerful creation. An authoritative account, based on personal observations and interviews with Chanel’s last surviving friends, employees, and relatives, it also unravels her coded language and symbols, and traces the influence of her formative years on her legendary style. Justine Picardie really went the distance in her research and has captured the essence of the woman behind the name Chanel.

So there you have it lovers….just a few of the reasons I love France. Stay tuned for more amazing authors, articles and even French recipes that will better serve as guide on our literary tour this week.

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