OCTOBER 5TH – 12TH, 2013: PARIS, FRANCE
No period of time continues to capture the imagination as the belle époque of Paris in the early 20th century. In 2011, for example, there were three major exhibitions in San Francisco, featuring the art of Picasso, the art collection of the Stein family who were instrumental in purchasing and nurturing the avant-garde artists in Paris pre-WWI, and an exhibition of Gertrude Stein, her writing and memorabilia. (See their websites for videos, lectures, and photos www.deyoung.famsf.org, www.sfmoma.org, and www.thecjm.org)
We often view the self-indulgent hedonism and intellectual fervor of the expatriate artists & writers of this period through a romantic lens in which they seem larger than life. We know well the resounding effect on culture of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and of Ezra Pound’s hand in molding Modernism, but what of the many women who fled America to the Left Bank of Paris during this time? Women such as Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner, Djuna Barnes,and Sylvia Beach, along with many others, also became part of the vibrant and artistic community of expatriates whose literary contributions included major works of poetry, drama, prose, fiction and memoirs.
What was it like to be a woman in this literary Paris? We know that women set up bookshops, little magazines, publishing houses and artistic salons in which they marketed the products of literary Paris; and while some are better known to us than others, each woman who migrated to Paris had a particular influence on the cultural scene. It was Sylvia Beach, for example, who paid for and published the first issues of Joyce’s Ulysses and whose bookstore Shakespeare & Co. provided many a venue for American writers to connect with one another. Other women like Natalie Barney also made enormous contributions in helping to create a community of women who were committed to producing serious art and writing.
The expatriate men of literary Paris held various careers in addition to their writing: Hemingway was a journalist; others were bankers, teachers, & physicians. F. Scott Fitzgerald alone had made enough money from his writing to support himself and Zelda when they arrived in Paris. But why did the Americans come to Paris in the first place? “It was not what France gave you but what it did not take away from you that was important,” was the sentiment shared by most expatriates, even though none of them made Paris or France the subject of their writings except Stein. What all of the ex-pats valued, especially the women, was the cultural freedom to explore their own creativity and personal lifestyles.
PARIS JE T’AIME
If you have been captivated by the magic of this historical time in Paris, please consider joining me next June 8-16, 2013, for a literary tour called Literary Paris: Expatriates During the Belle Époque. Designed by Marjorie, it offers a delectable array of experiences, a true moveable feast of the senses, intellect and spirit! The first few days will be spent getting to see, taste, and feel the beauty and flavor of Paris, known as the City of Lights. Our tour will include: visits to cafes frequented by the writers & artists of that period; a visit to the famous Shakespeare & Co Bookstore with time to peruse this unique treasure & learn more of its history; museum passes to the world-famous Lourvre & Musee de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s magnificent Water Lilies paintings; visit to the outdoor book stalls along the River Seine; a day-tour of Paris by panoramic bus; a French lesson at at the Alliance Francaise; a one-day excursion to Chartres village & the breathtaking Chartres Cathedral with its stained glass windows & Black Madonna; and with time to reflect and write about all you see and experience. Of course, there will also be time to shop & explore on your own! As we go along we will explore through group discussions the life and habitats of the artists and writers who made the 1920s the century’s greatest decade and Paris their creative center and learn why Gertrude Stein dubbed the ex-pat writers “the Lost Generation.”
What better way to immerse oneself into the local culture than by speaking a bit of the native tongue? We’ll spend a morning at the famous French language school, Alliance Francaise, studying French, sure to make the remainder of your trip more enjoyable and fun as you practice speaking French at restaurants, museums and other places we visit. If you speak French but it’s been a while, you can brush up with a refresher course.
FRENCH CAFE LIFE ON THE LEFT BANK
An important part of the expatriates experience was the time they spent in local cafes, talking, laughing, sharing and creating the work that would bring fame to some and enjoyment to all. We will take a day for a walking tour hosted by a local guide, to visit a few of the cafe haunts of these literary giants: Cafe des Deus-Magots, Cafe Flore, Brasserie Lipp and Dingo Bar. We’ll visit the famous Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore, pass by Gertrude Stein’s apartment on rue de Flores and Colette’s residence nearby. And, not to be missed are the Paris outdoor book stalls run by les bouquinistres and located along the Seine.
WRITE, REFLECT, SHOP
There will be free time to walk, shop and discover special places on your own as our hotel is conveniently located on the Left Bank where so many expatriates lived. The beautiful Luxembourg garden near our hotel is a wonderful place to relax, write, people-watch and drink in the culture of Parisian life. Suggestions for places to see, explore & shop will be given. Altogether, this will be a memory-making, unforgettable, exquisite experience. Don’t miss it!
HOSTED BY MARJORIE ST.CLAIR
Marjorie is especially suited to serve as facilitator-guide for this trip, having lived in Paris for a number of years with her family during the late 70s & early 80s as well as several subsequent trips to visit. It was during her time as an expatriate herself that she became interested in the American writers and artists who had made Paris their home earlier in the twentieth century. Later, during PhD studies in Women’s History, her interest was re-ignited in the women writers and artists of this period and she began to share her knowledge through teaching classes on this subject. For years it has been her dream to share with others her love of Paris and the compelling literary & artistic history belonging to the unique group of American expatriates who converged there during the belle epoque. From these diverse threads, Marjorie has designed a trip that offers a delectable array of experiences sure to provide memories for a life time!
ITINERARY, REGISTRATION & COSTS:
For registration, a complete trip itinerary, and costs, please visit www.bodymindspiritjourneys.com who will host our tour to Paris. Once you sign up with your deposit, a complete reading list will be made available to you. This list will provide you with reading materials, web sites and other information of interest to give you a more complete background on the people and times that will enrich your experience during your literary tour of Paris.
Registration opens January, 2013