Hemingway Midnight in Paris and a taste of History

Writing about Paris throws up too many ideas and most of them are very personal and I wonder does anyone want to read such personal memoirs. Which brings me to Hemingway and the Woody Allen film ‘Midnight in Paris’ which is basically a Paris travel advertisement ( and no less enjoyable for that) based on Hemingway’s book ‘A Moveable Feast’. We watched the film again for about the fiftieth time over Christmas. Hemingway’s book is a memoir of his time in Paris in the 1920’s with his first wife Hadley and their young son. It features the many extraordinary characters that came in and out of his life during that time. He wrote it shortly before he took his own life and is so intensely personal even to the degree that he finishes by making clear that he threw away the best things he ever had, his wife and son and the life they had together – Paris was the best of times, he searched for more but ultimately he never found it. I cannot write as well as he did and express such sentiments but it encourages me that writing in a personal manner is exciting, absorbing and very readable and I will try my best to make it so. I cannot recreate the times I have had in Paris exactly, only last year we lost the best of friends, someone who when her name is mentioned the word Paris will inevitably be in the same sentence.

undefinedI hope to convey just what these people meant to us and how Paris bound all the best of memories together but it is a slower process. As I said Paris is throwing up too many ideas and I think it will produce two books rather than one. Just adding my love of its history to the book is giving me a challenge to fit it all in. I have a passion for the time of the occupation, perhaps because I know that I would have been personally caught up in all its horror had I been living in Paris back then. I find it fascinating and hope to convey that a consideration of those events should not be overlooked by the visitor. No, Paris unlike Provence cannot be based around wonderful long lunches, it needs more effort for a visitor to get full value from a visit. I am loving the writing and will finish (eventually) but despite Hemingway dwarfing me as a writer I do possess something he relinquished – I can write of Paris without any regrets.

Published by Neal Atherton

My passion is writing about travel and particularly French travel. I have traveled extensively in France and wine and food has always featured on my travels and now in my books. My friends always await our return from France with the latest new finds from the vineyards and I was more than happy to keep sampling. I am from Lancashire in the north of England but have now relocated to Somerset (nearer to France) and able to enjoy devoting my time to writing and new discoveries. France came late to me as a destination, in fact so conservative was my travel upbringing that it was a long time before I even ventured to Cornwall. I have more than made up for the slow start and have enjoyed helping many others with their travel plans to France and especially to Paris and Provence. I have written a series of four books on France - Three are now on Amazon:THE FIRST TIME WE SAW PARIS about our first steps in French Travel, THYME FOR PROVENCE our discovery of that glorious region and the people and places we met and discovered, A DREAM OF PARIS a personal memoir of our times in Paris with friends. France has been fun, we have been burgled on our very first arrival, we discovered the best cafe that changed our travel lives on the very next day, we learnt about French wine, we escaped from the most horrendous gite, we found the best of gites, B & B's and people, we laughed and cried with dear friends in Paris, I was hosed down by a crazy owner to cool me down in Provence, our breakfast in a remote village was served by the French army, we stepped totally out of our comfort zone and discovered the best of French culture. The experiences are varied and many and please come with me as I retell the stories and my footsteps are there to follow. I am also writing about ancestry and genealogy and my first book about our incredible family story themed around war and the military is now on Amazon - A BULLET FOR LIFE. I love the English game of cricket, golf, soccer, photography, walking and cooking. Oh, and travel of course.

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