Literary France: A Novel Holiday

While France is rightly eulogized as a destination for food and wine, it is often overlooked for the significant impact it has had upon the literary landscape of the world and as such is the perfect place for the bibliophiles among us.

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Expatriate Paris

And we’re not just referring to French literature either, a favourable exchange rate throughout the 1920’s made it a haven for those wealthy Americans who found themselves disillusioned and shell-shocked in the wake of WWI. F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein – Paris was the platform that spawned the Lost Generation. Hemingway’s scathing A Moveable Feast is a loosely veiled memoir of his time in Paris whilst Fitzgerald’s remarkable Tender is the Night is based upon his and Zelda’s experiences on the French Riviera, where he wrote The Great Gatsby.

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Love, Death and Chocolate

While dying in a shabby hotel room on the Leftbank of the River Seine, Oscar Wilde was reputed to have spoken one of his final witticisms “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go” and is now buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Speaking of death, in what is widely lauded as one of the greatest modern war novels, (Birdsong) the English writer Sebastian Faulks depicts the brutal and beautiful landscapes of WWI France, the Somme, Ypres and Amiens, in a moving tale of romance and pain. Even Joan Harris’ evocative Chocolat  is set in a picturesque French village, a visit to the subsequent film location is a beloved favourite on the European Waterways Burgundy itinerary.

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And all of the above is to say nothing of the extraordinary history of the French native writers, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Jean Paul Sartre, Molière and Simone de Beauvoir to name but a few.

For those who love to lose themselves in a book, France is a fairytale that will inspire, intrigue and have you telling stories for years to come. And where better to enjoy a good book then aboard a luxury barge cruise through the cities, towns and countryside that have engendered some of the greatest novels known to man.

 

 

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