Summer Reads: The Paris Journal

The-Paris-Journal-cover-imageIt’s been raining a lot in Paris this summer. Many people might curse the rain, especially those who are just here for a short period of time because it does interfere with plans. I’m lucky that I am staying a few weeks so the rain doesn’t bother me much (yet!) – if I have something planned that simply won’t fly in the rain (like a market visit which is definitely very challenging in the heavy rain), I simply cross it off my list for the day and add it to another day. So I’ve been doing that a lot recently 😉

Tour Eiffel on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd you know, so many of the things on my list, well they will be there tomorrow. Or next week. Or even next year.

Eglise St Eustache on eatlivetravelwrite.comIt’s funny, you know. When I lived in Paris, I tended to have exactly that mindset. “I can see that anyday,” I’d say to myself…

Les Deux Magots on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut when I lived here, I guess life just got in the way. I barely visited the Louvre, I saved “playing tourist” for when people were visiting me. In retrospect, I really took a lot of what Paris had to offer for granted.

Wine bar in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comNow I don’t live here anymore, I try to make sure that I don’t take this beautiful city for granted. I know I am fortunate to be able to spend a good chunk of my summer here and nowadays I really try to make sure I take advantage of everything she has to offer.

La Grande Roue on eativetravelwrite.comSo I have this ongoing “Paris journal”. Not your typical journal where you note down things you’ve done, more like a “to do” list. That never ends. Not the “un-fun” kind of list with items like “pay bills, clean bathroom, buy cat food”. More like a collection of ideas, places to visit, things to see (and taste!).

Cave a vins in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comLike anywhere, Paris has SO much to offer that it would take me years to work through my ever-changing list. But I figure if I make sure that I just keep checking things off the list, making sure I DO seek out those places I read about somewhere and thought sounded interesting, it’s ok to leave a few things “until next time”.

Notre Dame Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comAs long as I keep making sure there will be a “next time”, I’m all set. And I’ll never have a shortage of things to do…

Paris cafe chairs on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe “ongoing journal” is a great way of making sure I don’t forget about something I’ve read about months earlier. It means that any day I can wake up in Paris and look through my list and find something I’ve “been meaning to do”.

Paris Metro sign on eatlivetravelwrite.comI do try to organise my “things to do” into what makes geographical sense though. And according to what’s open on what day. Even though I organise a great amount of my life digitally these days, for some things I still can’t get past the physical act of writing. And crossing things off lists 😉

Madeleine on eatlivetravelwrite.comHaving items NOT crossed off a list means I don’t forget about them either. My Paris time is organised into “pages” – each day has a whole page to itself where I note things I have to do, things I want to do and things I could do it time/ weather permits.  And more and more, I’m including a lot of blank space on those pages. For wandering….  At the end of every day, I transfer incomplete items to another day. So I don’t forget!  This summer I have been doing quite a bit of that… The rain has meant a few things I have wanted to do haven’t been possible. So, while it’s a little annoying, I know that as long as I have those places/ things to do on my radar, I won’t forget about them. Or take Paris for granted. Now or next time.

The rain has meant I have had a lot of time to read this summer. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say!

A book that’s very à propos of my trip is The Paris Journal, the brainchild of Evan and Nichole Robertson of Obvious State.  Nichole is a writer,  photographer and bestselling author of Paris in Color (Chronicle Books, 2012) – check out her books here, while Evan, whose work is cross disciplinary, studied writing, literature and classical theatre at Yale University and The Juilliard School.

The Paris Journal isn’t a guide book. It’s not like my Paris journal either. This excerpt should give you an idea…

Do you know what you would do with one day in Paris?

This anonymous solo traveler does. Accompanied only by her endless enthusiasm and vivid imagination, she surrenders to every whim and lets her love of the city – not a map – guide the way.  She extols the virtues of small ice cream portions, debates public makeout sessions with the King of France, tails a mysterious elderly lady into a church and scarfs cheese. But whether she’s racing a dinner boat or running from flower pimps, one thing is clear: Her heart belongs to Paris.  This exhilarating diary of a day in the City of Light combines 17 journal entries with over 140 color photos that bring the city, its people, and apparently its former kings to life.

It’s a truly unique look at Paris through a real enthusiast’s eyes. It covers just a tiny part of Paris (the Ile St Louis and the Ile de la Cité) – though it’s just “Book One” – we can hope there will be more volumes featuring different parts of the city – and it really showcases that you don’t necessarily have to “do” anything to experience a city.  And it might just give you ideas for your next trip. To write down in your Paris journal… Both the photographs and the words are evocative – putting you in the shoes of this anonymous traveler and making a strong case for “wandering” being THE way to experience Paris.

Buy The Paris Journal on Amazon or Amazon Canada (Kindle edition only).


The Paris Journal – a worldwide giveaway!

Thanks to the generous folks at Obvious StateI have one copy of “The Paris Journal” to give away to anyone, anywhere in the world.

How to enter:

There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).

1. Leave  a comment on this post telling me what you would do if you only had one day in Paris.
2. Tweet the following message: Love #Paris? Enter to win @obviousstate’s “The Paris Journal” on @eatlivtravwrite (worldwide!) Details:  then come back to leave a second comment letting me know you did.

Eligibility and contest rules:

– Open to anyone, anywhere.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winner will be chosen randomly (using from all qualified entries on Sunday July 20th 2014 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email Monday July 21st 2014.


Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “The Paris Journal” for review purposes.  I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.


Please note: The product links from Amazon and are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a tiny percentage of the sale price.


Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer.  While I will be eventually blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me will be by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.

Paris in JulyI’m submitting this post to Paris in July over at Thyme for Tea.

44 thoughts on “Summer Reads: The Paris Journal”

  1. You are so right to take full advantage of your time in Paris. Living here, it is indeed easy to “forget” about all of the lovely places and become absorbed in daily life. When writing my first novel, I spent a lot of time observing and really seeing the city… and now I try to continue to do that!

  2. When I woke up in the morning, I would head down to the local boulangerie and have my American coffee with a lovely almond croissant. As I watched all the chic people walk by, I would plan my day. If the weather cooperated, it would be fantastic to walk down by the Seine and hop on a I hour river cruise. Hop off in the St.Germain district and peruse the many amazing boutiques. Later, take the metro to the Montmarte district for a cool ethnic vibe and head up to the Sacre Cour Cathedreal. Enjoy the amazing view from the top and grab an espresso from another coffee shop before heading back down.
    Before the day comes to a close, I would take the the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and watch the sun go down on one of the most fantastic cities in the world!

  3. I know exactly what you mean about taking for granted the city you live in. I feel that way about Montreal sometimes. I don’t come close to exploring all it has to offer! Sometimes, the simple act of looking up at the buildings surprises and amazes me because it’s something we don’t do often!

    If I had a day in Paris… well I’d go on an éclair tour and seek out the best of the city. Everybody hunts for the best macaron, but I want cool, refreshing éclairs. Actually, last time I was in Paris, in 2003, I ate éclairs all over the city. It was awesome 🙂

  4. I would have to do a few iconic things for photos: sit at a cafe with a view of the Eiffel Tower, eat a macaron, drink a cup of their terrible coffee, and buy a scarf from a charming little shop. After that, I’d probably wander up and down the Champs Elysees all down just marveling that I finally made it to Paris. (It’s number one on my bucket list right now!)

  5. Find a charming street cafe, order a glass of wine, ‘people watch’ and strike up conversations using my best high school French.

  6. one day??? oh man. id like to wander more off the beaten path, avoid the main sites and instead scope out cafes in different neighborhoods 🙂

  7. I would wake up, walk a few blocks and enjoy a petite dejeuner in a local pattisserie, watching people while I enjoy the fresh squeezed orange juice. Then I would wander in any direction, just absorbing the sights and sounds around me. After many hours I would stop at a cafe with an outside table for an espresso and more people watching. Further wandering would have me come upon some gorgeous historical building that I can explore; perhaps a look through a local shop and purchase a scarf or small memento of my day. More wandering, a delightful french meal a la menu, then return to my tiny room to reflect on how fortunate I was to spend a day in such a beautiful city.

  8. I will have breakfast in a local Bistro with a croissant, Brie and cafe au lait. Then in will walk towards a Museum, maybe the Louvre, afterwards walk towards the Palais Royale, visit Place des Voges, then walk towards Île St Louis to try the Berthillon ice cream. I would probably spend the afternoon visiting the Chapelle Royale which I haven’t seen. Then maybe just enjoy the sights along the Seine River. I will be in Paris this coming October so this book will be helpful to me.

  9. I like the sound of your Paris Journal, filled with possibilities! Robertson’s The Paris Journal sounds pretty cool, too. Loved your photos!

    If I had only one day in Paris, and it weren’t raining, I’d walk along the Seine, stop at Shakespeare & Co, and have a really great lunch at a cafe.

  10. Loved reading this, Mardi. Like you, I am now determined to take advantage of every minute when I am in a town, city, or somewhere that needs exploring. Thanks for posting this. Love the pictures and to know about this book. Sorry about the rain. Didn’t know that…..

  11. Fabulous post. I dont need a copy of Nicholes fabulous book, but I love thinking about what I would do with a day in Paris. I would walk, ride, eat, shop, and sit. I just love observing people – soa long lunch with rose and salad would do me fine as long as I had people to watch and pen & diary in hand. Mardi, your post is lovely and your passion for making the most of a visit to Paris is enviable. Thanks for joing Paris in July this year and sharing your inspirations.

  12. With eyes closed, I would stab my finger at a Paris Metro map and buy a ticket to that station. On alighting, I would wander the streets aimlessly, taking in the sights and sounds of the magical city. Stopping, wherever and whenever my heart fancied to taste and admire the many fancy delights at cafes, boulangeries and boutiques.

    Of course, I would have already visited the fromagerie and my backpack would be filled with a gazillion different cheeses 🙂

    (Maybe I should have used a bit of geographical sense on my foray on the Toronto Subway and RT to buy Kernels and Great Canadian Bagels – even if it did take around four hours I recall thoroughly enjoying the spoils at the end of the day!!!!)

  13. Great post, thank you. For one day I would probably just walk around Paris, letting the atmosphere and historic sites get the better of me. Sit in a café or small bar with a coffee or a glass of wine, take a deep breath and enjoy the lovely surroundings!

  14. I would love to win that!! If I only had a day…hmmmm. revisit the spot where my husband proposed. =) And this time, pick a flower from there and take it with me as a keepsake.

  15. I really think you should award this book to me because I’m your father.
    Oh, OK then… I know you can’t.
    Get one for your mother when she’s with you over Christmas.

  16. One day in Paris…I would try to eat as many desserts and visit as many restaurants. Visit all the attractions and in the evening take a lovely walk with my husband and children. I would then cry that I could only spend one day there. lol It’s a dream to go and I pray one day I can visit. Your book looks so beautiful and I hope to win it because it will be as close to Paris as I could ever get. Thank you.

  17. I’d spend my day at Rodin and Orsay, and end it by visiting Chaillot National Theatre, heard it has wonderful view of Eiffel tower.

  18. First I’d visit Montmartre, then Pere Lachaise, and then I’ll spend the evening trying French cuisine!…

  19. I would sit at an outdoor cafe with my cafe creme and enjoy a Croque Monsieur.
    That’s living the good life.

  20. I’m not sure what I would do if I only had one day in Paris. It’s not easy to think about it. Even if I just walk around the city and see people, I think that one day isn’t enough for me to discover Paris.

    Or maybe I have an answer for the question after reading “The Paris Journal”.

    Thank you 🙂

    And this is my tweet :

  21. if i have one day in paris, i’d spend it strolling around the Eiffel tower then take a lot of photograps and meet awesome people

  22. If I only had a day in Paris, I will visit all historical places in Paris. Take photos of the best architecture and landscape and stare at the beautiful work of art “Eiffel Tower” and definitely have a sip of the best brewed coffee in town 🙂 What a day! Would love to win 🙂

  23. For one day only I would start with croissants from Poilane, then walk the 6th- hitting Luxembourg and St Germain. I would do a late morning snack at the Laduree on that side (no calories counted today) and then cross over the bridge with the locks. I would walk my way west on Rue Rivoli, stopping to buy scarves at the street vendors and hitting the sights. I would meander until my feet hurt (no Louvre- just outside adventures) through the Tuileries and then- gasp- hit Angelina for the hot cocoa 🙂 Next would be taking a bus up to Sacre Couer and staying Montmartre until dinner time..then hoping the shops were still open on the Rue Montorgueil. A late dinner at Le Sergent Recruteur and then my bed would be calling……..

  24. I would grab my camera and wander taking beautiful photos of the street scenes wherever I was, soaking up the atmosphere . Finish up with an evening at the Opera Garnier watching the ballet and drinking champagne.


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