An Actual Paris Morning
Respirer Paris, cela conserve l’âme.
(Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul)
– Victor Hugo
The name of this company, Paris Morning Publications, was suggested to me by a good friend who has a deep appreciation for how much Paris means to me. By revealing that, you may assume I have visited this luminous city over and over throughout my life, that I have developed an intricate knowledge of each arrondissement, with a favorite café on each corner, and a patisserie where I’m known for my preference of choosing madeleines over macarons, and croissants over everything else.
Not true (except for the croissants confession). My first visit was in May 2018, and my second in July 2019. As I write this, I’m still thinking about the fact that, not long ago, I was sitting in the shade of the hot Paris sun, at the Place des Vosges in Marais, reading and writing. From where I was seated, I could look above a bank of leafy trees and see Victor Hugo’s apartment building. An older woman came and joined me at the end of the bench, a light sweater resting on her shoulders, and began working her way through a crossword puzzle.
There is much to love about Paris – the museums, the hidden courtyards, the shops, and yes, those cafes – but I made an amazing discovery last year. Les Jardins des Tuileries, with its glorious fountains, bright white smooth gravel pathways, verdant trees and elegant gardens, feel like home to me. Sitting on the ubiquitous green metal chairs of Les Jardins, each with its own number tattooed on the back of the seat, I feel at peace. I feel at home.
This amazes me because, as I mentioned, regrettably I have no long history with Paris – unless you count years of study in high school and college, all of which transpired in the Midwest. And honestly, if we’re talking about history…. well, those hours spent doing French homework took place many years ago.
The last day that I spent in Paris, I visited Tuileries in the relative cool of the morning, rather than in the substantial heat of the afternoon. (During my visit, the temperature hit 100 degrees four days in a row.) I sat in the shade, watching the giant white ferris wheel on the edge of the massive park, slowly stretch to life. I watched the gardeners, traveling among the well-groomed flower beds, calling out to each other in French, focused on their tasks. At one point, I popped in my headphones to listen to Mendelssohn, Springsteen and Sade, not necessarily in that order.
I thought about what a Paris morning means there, and what a Paris morning means here for this boutique publishing company, which has had an exciting few months in the wake of the release of Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE by Klecko and the fantastic reception that has been given to this compelling book of poetry. And there is much more to come.
Breathe in Paris, wherever you might be. It does preserve the soul.