With just under one month before “The New Paris” lands on bookshelves or arrives in your mailboxes, I thought I’d share a bit about what motivated me to write the book in the first place.
Unlike many authors, I haven’t been harboring a publishing ambition since childhood nor did I ever think that writing a book would be a realistic step in my career trajectory. In fact, if it weren’t for a conversation with my friend Nichole, astute in all creative matters and one of my longtime mentors, this book may not have even been an object to hold in your hands at all. It may have remained a nugget of an idea or come together in another way at a different time.
I have always followed books and stories written about Paris with studied interest. I have a short list of favorites that I enjoy for their wit, their edifying qualities or their humor, but a longer list of titles that I don’t feel add any value to my experience or for travelers who have been to Paris time and again. I felt frustrated that few books were depicting what everyday life was like in Paris. What the streets looked like, what the city’s successes and failures have been, where it was heading as a capital.
What Nichole did was direct my attention to what was right under my nose and encourage me to run with it. When I took a step back and considered the work I was doing editorially– the people I was profiling, the restaurants I was reviewing, the flourishing spaces and neighborhoods I was capturing–I identified a number of themes uniting the stories:
- Parisians, young and old, bidding adieu to the career-for-life ambition to pursue passion projects (a surge of reconversions, as career shifts are called, which are notable in part because they have been long discouraged by the old guard and rare).
- Young talent infusing elements from their foreign training and/or foreign inspiration into their line of work (often in food).
- A city-wide prise de conscience (awakening) about how we’re living and consuming as a society and trying to instill change by producing goods that adhere to a less is more, buy less but buy better ethos
- A shift in perception when it comes to innovation, seen not as a threat to the past but as a necessary force to ensuring global relevance.
The book, then, captures this spirit and the changes that I have observed over the last decade. Tying it all together are profiles of Parisians, Q&As with some of the leaders in each movement, and a whole lot of context to tell you what has shifted, how, and why it’s important for the city.
I look at this spirited movement in six chapters through the lens of: food & dining, specialty coffee, libations, sweets, crafts & shopping, and places & spaces. I like to think of it as an extension of the writing I’ve been doing for 6 years, allowing me to put the disparate pieces together in a cultural study-meets-guide to understanding Paris today. And I’m thrilled with the final product and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it.
Want a little preview? Read an excerpt from the cocktail chapter on the New York Times!
Have you pre-ordered the book? Be sure to enter your contact details HERE to receive a custom, illustrated map after the book ships! Haven’t pre-ordered? See a selection of retailers HERE to purchase your copy and take advantage of the special offer.
*Top photo by Charissa Fay for “The New Paris”