Parler Paris Après Midi

Meeting of September 8, 2015

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Author David Downey

Leaving London was as easy as entering it Tuesday morning -- from St. Pancras International, going through the turnstile with bar-coded tickets and customs that verify your passports going out of England and into France within steps of one another, I dropped my bag at home and headed to Parler Paris Après Midi where author David Downie was to speak about his latest book, "A Passion for Paris."

Downie is not a first-timer at Après Midi. He and his 13 books have been guests before and he always welcomes a large following. His newest book starts at the very beginning of his love affair with Paris when he was renting a 7th-floor walk-up "chambre de bonne" (servant's quarters) for 250 French francs (38 euros) in the early '80s. At Après Midi, he talked about those early days and his love-hate relationship with the French.

Downie writes about it in great depth in his new book "A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light." (adrianleeds.com/books/aboutparisfrance) It was the topic of his talk where he commanded a filled-to-the-brim room of admirers. He spoke at length about the roots of romanticism and the paradoxical French "joie de tristesse" (the romance of unhappiness).

One cannot help but agree with him on his insights about the French with whom many of us have a similar love-hate relationship -- wouldn't we want them to be more like the Londoners who are generally a happier lot even though they get no more sun (vitamin D) and take far fewer anti-depressants than Parisians?

No! If it weren't for the French and their passion for mental anguish, Paris wouldn't be Paris. One reason we are drawn to Paris and the reason we stay in Paris is PASSION.

In attendance were:

•    Alden Smith
•    Ann King
•    Anna Clark
•    Bernadette Bakom
•    Beverly Eagan
•    Brenda Prowse
•    Denise Grassart
•    Diana Stenk
•    Eileen Baker
•    Eugenia Wicker
•    Harriet Welty Rochefort
•    Hugh Nelson
•    Janet Connelly
•    Janice Tabet
•    Janice Wright
•    Larry Tuteur
•    Laurie Kendall
•    Lew Weinstein
•    Linda Arlene Schwartz
•    Lindy Jeremy
•    Lloyd Lacey
•    Louis St Lewis
•    Lya Dewaurin
•    Lydia Smith-Johnston
•    Marilou Pelletier
•    Marjorie Lacey
•    Maureen Miller
•    Medora Kaltenbach
•    Monika Oswald
•    Pat Lenny
•    Patricia Laplante Collins
•    Patricia Wilson
•    Patty Sadauskus
•    Pierre Bonin
•    Raenette De Cicco
•    Ralph Oswald
•    Rich Millet
•    Stephanie Wolkin
•    William Jordan

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