The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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July 2, 2010

Paris in July: Je me souviens de Paris

When I was in Paris, about 11 years ago, I bought a beauitful book called Je me souviens de Paris, with text by Denis Tillinac and illustrations by Andre Renoux. I never really read the book (I may have dipped into it a little, here and there) but I fell in love with Andre Renoux's paintings. Their beautiful colors and carefully-sketched details appeal to me, but there's also something about them that combines realism (recognizable scenes and places) with a style of painting (buildings, sun on stone, dimly lit restaurant interiors, charming storefronts) that to me really evokes this beautiful city. (If you are interested, you can see a gallery of his paintings here.) Looking at this book was a lovely way to start my my sojourn in Paris in July.

I would like to read this book someday, but if I did this now, a dictionary in one hand and a citron presse in the other, I'll still be working my way through it next July. So I think I'll look on it as art appreciation instead...but maybe I'll try to read the first chapter (or some of it) en francais. Pourquoi pas?

{Digression:  I find this fascinating. I studied French in high school and in college, and took a few adult ed courses in my thirties, but I've never been fluent and it's been decades since I've regularly tried to read or speak French. If I were trying to say this to you in French, I would struggle for every word, not to mention verb tense. So I'm always amazed that I can still pick up a book or a magazine written in French and understand at least the gist, if not all the details of what's written there. A teacher once told me that this is because reading and speaking use very different parts of the brain. But as I said, I find it very interesting, this unequal comprehension.}


Amy DeTrempe said...

Love the prints and the use of color.

Electra said...

I loved the gallery-thank you for the link!

Brenda said...

This is a very funny thing. I too took French in high school and college, and had to read No Exit by Sarte in French. While I struggled through it with dictionary in hand, and only received a C in the class, I was still able to "read" most of it at the time, but if she had read it aloud to us, I would have not understood it.

Strange and fascinating...the brain!

Tamara said...

I only started learning french in my 30's, and I've been studying part time for 6 years now. I love the challenge - but it's definitely a challenge. At first I found my brain would prefer to recall the german words I learnt doing 4 years of german at high school. But now I love to watch french movies and I can pick out about 70%, french internet radio is much faster and harder to hear.
Thanks heaps for the link also - great images of France.

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