• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Why Don’t We Go Somewhere Only We Know

Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be? Tonight, friends, it begins with American’s sweetheart Vivian Swift on the occasion of the publication of her second book, Le Road Trip. If you have ever ripped open a warm baguette, sniffed the cork  of a bottle of French wine, or tooled around Paris at dawn or midnight and fallen in love with the doors and cobblestones, and if while doing any of those things you desired a brilliant guide, or friend, or sublime  observer, then raise a glass to Vivian and, better yet, click through and purchase a copy and save the planet.

Any memories or dreams of France you’d like to share with Ms. Swift welcome.

43 Responses

  1. We left Paris Disneyland at 11pm with our daughter, then two and her nanny. Arrived back in Paris hyped, hungry and in desperate need of a drink. The cafe across from our apartment near the Bastille was happy to oblige, and did not even blink at a two year old cherub sipping warm milk with us at midnight.

    To our surprise and delight another family with another two year old daughter then strolled in. “Hooray,” said the American dad. “I’m not the worst parent in Paris.” The girls had the exact same birthday. They played in the dark street, while we sipped wine. Then we went our separate ways.

  2. The Francofile in me will buy more than one copy, many copies, as gifts. All the best to all of you.

  3. This will make a great gift set with Finding Me in France. The gift will be for me.

    Dijon, Summer 1987. His name was Abdel. If there was ever a time in my life I could return to, that would be it.

  4. Not Paris. Aix-en-Provence. Tartine. Smell of Lavendar on the breeze. Volvic mineral water. Nougat. Gitanes.

  5. and runny unpasteurised cheese.

  6. I flew over France once, does that count.
    I like frank’s 3 S’s
    Success, sales and satifaction.
    Oh…mona me.
    I have no idea what that means, or even if it means anything but it sounds so french.

    • I didn’t capitalize french because I’m stupid, (okay I am), I’m protesting. Don’t ask me what I’m protesting against because right now I’m not sure. Isn’t it kind of fashionable to be against the french these days, oh wait, that was sooo… last year, we’re against each other now, the haves and the I don’t have a damn not.

  7. Vivian! Congratulations. I will purchase several of these this year–perfect gift, don’t you know.

    Parisian memory: a week at the end of October. 2007, I think. A dessert crepe at La Coupole that I will never forget. Paper-thin slices of mango, kiwi, banana, drizzled with chocolate sauce. A fantastically rude waiter right out of central casting.

    No martinis though, Vivian!

  8. Hooray, Vivian! Can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Looking forward to the inspiration to travel, specifically to France. I’ve been feeling a call to Normandy for several years now. Maybe your new book will be the inspiration I need to make it happen.

    On my first trip to Europe with my grad-student boyfriend in January 2000, I lost all my favorite clothes when I left my suitcase on the train from Esslingen to Stuttgart, Germany. We missed our connection to Paris. I had to buy underwear and sweaters in Stuttgart. I hate to shop in the USA, I hated shopping in Germany even more. I never did buy any pants. We made it to Paris eventually, where I wore the same pair of Levi 501 button fly jeans for 4 days. January in Paris is cold, rainy dismal and empty. Perfect for tourist-free enjoyment of art, architecture, people-watching, wine, cheese, crepes at midnight and marriage proposals on the spur of the moment. It happened in a small family run hotel where the pillow was just a roll of cotton and the “en suite” bathroom could be accessed behind an accordion fold door if you made space to get there by putting all your luggage up on the bed. I was about 10 seconds away from asking him to marry me when he stole my idea and I said yes.

    Congratulations, Vivian. Congratulations, Betsy.

  9. l’Africain at Angelina then browsing the tables at W. H.Smith. Your books looks beautiful Vivian. Congratulations!

  10. I love that Betsy’s cover image has the ARC mark.

    I was in Paris for a day or two, but was so heavily and miserably pregnant that all I could do was waddle from one bathroom to the next and hang my head in shame at my un-chic American maternity wear. I probably ate a croissant, and I believe I made the mistake of choosing my own apples at the fruit stand. The rest of the trip is all a yellowish blur at this point.

    I will buy the book and pretend I know all about Paris. Congratulations, Vivian!

  11. Congratulations, Vivian! If it’s half as good as the first, it will be awesome.

  12. Congratulations, Vivian.

    My only memory of France is changing planes at Orly Airport when I was five.

    My dream of France is to go there again someday and get out of the airport.

  13. I was fifteen and my parents saved forever so we could visit my sister in Stuttgart. We then proceeded to Paris to join a tour bus of geriatric matrons. The bus reeked of powdery rose water perfume. There was no one my age, my parents were the next closest and they were a solid two decades younger than their new forty besties.
    We went out to eat as a group. I tried to meld into my chair (I was very shy) and disappear. My parents were the life of the party and handily had me as fodder for their conversation.
    Then came Accordian man. I saw the look in my father’s eye and mouthed across the table, “No. Please, just no.” as the french man went right to him and the two of them proceeded to guffaw while glancing at me over many empty bottles of wine. The next I knew I had a large, sweaty french man avec accordian sitting on my lap as the table laughed and made us pose for pictures, thousands by the number of flashes that went off.
    Odd to think how many photo albums have that picture of that sweet, quiet girl, none of them knowing that I was trying to remember how to say “Get the fuck off of me” in French. Merde.

    Bonne chance, Vivian! May you sell many copies and never have a french accordian player straddle you.

  14. My wife and I sat in a little bakery behind the hotel, three blocks from the tower. We ate sandwiches and drank red wine. The small tables were shoved into a corner, clearing a path to the counter. We sat with our elbows in for an hour as people came one after the other and yelled, “Baguette!”

  15. congrats vivian!

  16. Even if I didn’t know who Vivian is, I would be drawn to a cover with such delightful paintings of my favorite things — shoes, pastries, wine, coffee, not to mention Paris. Congrats, Vivian, and thank you for simplifying my Christmas shopping this year. My favorite Paris museum – the home of the Unicorn tapestries. Or maybe the Orangerie? Or , oh, forget it. Impossible.

  17. I look forward to reading this beautiful book and congratulations Vivian.

    I once hired a car and drove it around the countryside, stopping for cathedrals popping up from towns, sleeping in the car, and once lay down in a bikini in a field full of cows.

  18. Vive la Vivian! She is the high priestess of the travel book. Felicitations ma cherie! I live in France and I still can’t wait to get this book in my hands. It’s on its way to me right now. My best memory in France is a recent one. I went to the world’s most spectacular Easter party last Sunday. You can see it here—http://www.findingmeinfrance.com/2012/04/11/easter-feaster/

  19. Chapeau Vivian! Will buy a copy, bien sur.

    A friend from university lived in Marseille for years and I spent a month with her and her son camping in Provence – hard to choose a favourite memory – probably visiting vineyards in Chateau Neuf du Pape. We also spent quite a bit of time a la recherche d’ Eric – the boy’s stuffed rabbit toy that he kept leaving everywhere…

  20. You would like the photographs of Atget… or perhaps you will see the world and Paris differently, as I have since coming to know his work. I’ve heard there’s a show at MoMA but I don’t get out much anymore…..

  21. I just clicked on the “brilliant guide, etc” link bove – what a book trailer! Fantastique!

  22. I love this cover.

  23. Off to buy a copy. I lived in Paris three separate times…too much to tell. But I remember my brother, visiting from college, almost brought to tears by some rosemary-roasted potatoes at a run-of-the-mill bistro. Or how the parking lot attendant, outraged that our apartment had fallen through and we had to park there for two weeks while sorting it out, charged us for only two nights. Us against The System, always the way it goes…

  24. I once drove a rented Fiat really fast on the highway btwn. Sarlot & Paris. I was the only chick who could drive a stick. It was crazy fun!

    Congratulations, Vivian! I hope this book brings you some crazy fun, too!

  25. It’d be nice to go to a reading! I’ll have to check Vivian’s site and see if any are announced. Hope I haven’t missed anything.

  26. Congratulations Vivian. Here’s to many more adventures!

  27. Congratulations, Vivian! I haven’t been back to France in almost 20 years but I remember walking the streets and feeling right at home. One evening a friend and I stayed up through the night and strolled around Notre Dame. I also remember hiding from the police. The two might be connected but, sadly, I can’t recall why. I wish I had known the power of the written word back then. I’d have a wealth of stories to share today.

  28. That’s it. I am renewing my passport. I haven’t been to France in longer than Macdougalstreetbaby and it is time. I even have a place to stay. Maybe. This time, no see-through bathingsuits, though.

  29. I camped with my whole family (four kids, husband) from the port of Calais to the Mediterranean. At Amiens we had a sllight flu and had to use the restroom which was a hole in the floor. In Paris we washed up at the Hotel Intercontinental, walked around in the Tuileries where I nearly had a romance with a stranger but my kids were in tow. Camped at Ciotat in Provence. Best way I know to see France–camping. Then we proceeded to Firenze and Roma. Camped on one of the seven hills. Great trip. 6 months of camping all over Europe. Kids learned to speak several languages. I visited my mother’s home village in Ireland. Finished a novel about that and it comes out in the fall from Levellers Press. Got that much out of camping in Ireland.

    Nadine Gallo

  30. Ooh la la, the book sounds wonderful. After living in Paris for a year, I finally got to meet my first French knight. Am I the only one who didn’t know that a knight in French is called a chevalier? I thought it was only Maurice.
    As usual, I love reading your blog and just signed on to follow.

  31. Can’t wait to see it, Vivian! Congratulations!

    France. I love the interpretation of traffic signs. How “do not do this,” is really “we prefer you don’t, but since it’s you…” Such positive people. I usually get a warm reception because everyone thinks I’m French. I will not fly through Paris since having a gun pulled on me for leaving my IPad charger in my carryon. I’m probably on a list…

  32. My favorite memory of Paris is from my first trip in 1981 and the first time I’d used a passport. I was extremely jet-lagged but too excited to sleep once I checked into my hotel, so I walked along the Seine congratulating myself by repeating “I’m really in fucking Paris! ME of all people!”

  33. Just bought the book via Amazon (today of all days!). Vivian, I’ve been waiting for this book since I read the excerpt. My memories? Church ruins in Auvergne, the Pont du Gard, heat and light in Arles, a street market in Paris.

  34. Really happy for you, Vivian. I’m even happier for all the readers in the future who will get to see Paris through your eyes.

    I haven’t been there in almost thirty years, and only briefly, but it was a revelation for me, like coming home. Does the reality of today’s Paris still live up to its mystique? Or does the enchantment live solely in the mind of the beholder? My story is trivial but sad, and would take too much space here (not that that ever stopped me before, but I’m not in the mood right now). I look forward to reading your book and remembering what little of that dream world I was privileged to inhabit.

  35. Congratulations Vivian. I’m really looking forward to reading your book!

    I have not been to Paris, but I have been to the south of France and it was magical. My husband, our 2 daughters (4 and 7) and my parents all went for my parents’ 40th anniversary. We ended up spending a perfect day in the village of Villefranche Sur Mer – swimming at the beach, eating banana gelato and sipping wine. My parents had such a wonderful day, we bought them a painting of Villefranche as a surprise.

    When we got home, my father found some of my late grandfather’s papers from WWII. It turns out he had been stationed in Villefranche for some time during the war. We never knew. And that made the trip even more magical.

  36. I have never been to France. i speak un peu.

    This has nothing to do wit that, but I wrote a book and I’m going through all of Ms. Lerner’s posts and drumming up support for it. I created a Kickstarter account for it.

    Check it out and help if you want.

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