Missing travel? I think many of us are. But don’t worry – today’s French Friday missive has you covered, thanks to the lovely Janice MacLeod of Paris Letters (you can read my review here) and A Paris Year (you can read my review here) whose latest book, Dear Paris, The Paris Letters Collection will whisk you away to the City of Light from the comfort of your living room.
From the publisher:
Be transported to the banks of the Seine, a corner boulangerie, or beneath the Eiffel Tower with these beautifully illustrated vignettes of life in the City of Light. What began as a way to fund travel became ten years of a letter subscription service delivering thousands of painted letters to subscribers who delight in fun mail!
Eat, Pray, Love meets Claude Monet in this epistolary ode to Paris. What started as a whim in a Latin Quarter café blossomed into Janice MacLeod’s yearslong endeavor to document and celebrate life in Paris, sending monthly snippets of her paintings and writings to the mailboxes of ardent followers around the world. Now, Dear Paris collects the entirety of the Paris Letters project: 140 illustrated messages discussing everything from macarons to Montmartre.
For readers familiar with the city, Dear Paris is a rendezvous with their own memories, like the first time they walked along the Champs-Élysées or the best pain au chocolat they’ve ever tasted. But it’s about more than just a Paris frozen in nostalgia; the book paints the city as it is today, through elections, protests, and the World Cup—and through the people who call it home. Wistful, charming, surprising, and unfailingly optimistic, Dear Paris is a vicarious visit to one of the most iconic and beloved places in the world.
That’s right, Dear Paris is a “best of” the letters Janice composed and illustrated for nearly a decade and sent to her subscribers – a whimsical way to fund her life in Paris after she had saved up enough money to leave behind her old life for what was to be a couple of years in Paris. Just a few days into her stay in Paris, Janice meets Christophe, the cute butcher down the street—who doesn’t speak English. Through a combination of sign language and franglais, they embark on a whirlwind Paris romance. She soon realizes that she can never return to the world of twelve-hour workdays and greasy corporate lingo. But her dwindling savings force her to find a way to fund her dreams again. Now Janice needs figure out a way to make her happily-ever-after in Paris last forever.
Enter her beautiful hand-painted letters and a “letter subscription” and subscribers all over the world who received monthly letters from Paris for years and voilà – Janice had the life she dared to dream about. Paris Letters and the subsequent A Paris Year (Janice’s journal of a year in Paris, collected from many years of living there) are truly delightful reads and will transport you there through both her words and images/ photographs. Now, with Dear Paris, we have what Janice calls a “best of album or at least a “most of” album” of letters she sent from 2014 right through to 2020 (though she lives in Ontario, Canada now, they do spend part of their time in Paris each year). If you were not lucky (or smart) enough to subscribe and receive these letters, here they are.
Live vicariously in Janice’s Paris – it really is like being there! As someone who lived for years in Paris pre-Internet who actually DID write letters home, these remind me of my own observations a little bit (though mine were nowhere near as beautiful as Janice’s!). If you’ve ever been to Paris, or dreamed of visiting, this book will whisk you there from the very first page. Read it in one sitting or enjoy bite-sized snippets over the course of a few days.
Beautiful images and a sweet “happily ever after” story set in Paris? Yes please. Right now we all need a little bit of that. Thank you, Janice for sharing your Paris life with us all!
Buy “A Paris Year” for yourself!
You can find Dear Paris: The Paris Letters Collection on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store geographically closest to you). Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links for The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!
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