We’ll Always Have Paris

imagesIt is still difficult to comprehend what happened in Paris last weekend. Tonight as I write this there are reports of terrorist threats on cities as diverse as Brussels and Atlanta. Inside a crowded downtown Manhattan cafe, we hear a police siren and fire truck pass and all of us raise our heads and look to the window. Tomorrow I will go to work near Times Square and I can’t help imagining what if…

It’s easy to fall prey to the most crippling fear when the bad guys seem to be maniacally spinning a desktop globe of the world and stopping it randomly, their only strategy of attack apparently pointing to a colored landmass with a dirty fingernail. But we just can’t allow ourselves to get mired down in the headlines…

…unless the headline is this one:

Hemingway’s Paris Memoir Flies Off Shelves in Show of Defiance

A Moveable Feast, or Paris est une Fête in French, first published in 1964, Hemingway’s gorgeous account of life in Paris during the 1920s, is undergoing a resurgence in popularity across France. Amazon.fr orders have increased 50-fold. Copies have been laid alongside the flowers honoring the deceased. Social media movements such as #jesuisenterasse or #everyonettothebistrot call Parisians to continue to get out and live the life that their unique city offers. Everything the book celebrates, and Paris represents, is here in these words of Hemingway’s:

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

Vive la France! I’m with you! Thanks for showing us how it’s done.
Nothing makes the heart sing like the resilience of the human spirit. By maintaining the comforting rituals we enjoy, immersing ourselves in the minutiae of daily life, we will conquer the worst of it.karl-lagerfeld-it-felt-like-there-was-a-black-veil-over-the-city-body-image-1447693364
This LOVE created by Louis Vuitton in the wake of the attacks might arouse the cynicism of those blinkered types who decry it as corporate logoing of a tragedy.
Not me.
Get out and shop, it says. Treat yourself to something nice, something you’ll love forever.
In fact, grab a copy of Hemingway’s fifty-year-old love letter to Paris, put on your most scandalous frock or loudest britches, don a hat, put the Chihuahua in your purse, and set off promenading to the nearest boîte. No, the ostrich boa isn’t too much.
I almost moved to the city once but life took me to a neighboring fashion capital instead. But it has always represented my two passions, fashion and literature, and with the two simple gestures mentioned above, Paris has assured me that it will be ok. Better than ok, it will be a feast.

My novel Silk for the Feed Dogs, centering on a group of creative young expats mingling in Milan, is available here


  1. Cool logo, though I doubt I’ll be filling my wardrobe with his clothing (I have a Louis Vuitton tie that cost more than the suit and long wool coat I wear it with. Combined.) I may have to reread the Hemingway book. Did you ever live in Paris on your journey through the fashion world? I know Kat ended the book there…

    • Then I suggest you wear that tie with aplomb! (As I’m sure you do :-)) It’s a great time for a reread. It’s actually the only Hemingway that I enjoy. This book is up there with my favorites yet otherwise his writing holds no appeal for me at all. I got a job offer in Paris but for whatever reason never took it, heading to Milan instead…

  2. Great commentary and I didn’t know about either the book or the logo! Thank you for broadening my horizons!!

  3. A wedded huntress, I love it! Congratulations!
    I’m off now to put a cold flannel on me forehead and block out all thought of those unopened emails…gulp…

  4. A lovely tribute. Kudos for your spirit and hats off to the courage of all those who are outside on the ‘térrasses.’

  5. Well said Jackie!! I bought the book only recently and it immediately transported me to the city I love. I have shed many tears over the past week and am still trying to comprehend how we broke our world so badly but my defiance is in tact and I will go about my cultural pursuits as always….in honour of those who no longer can. And today I’m sporting pom-poms…. Xx

  6. I will also remain strong in the honour of those who no longer can because bullies will never win xxxxxx

  7. Pingback: Jackie Mallon about the aftermath of the Paris attacks and “A Moveable Feast” | Betimes Books

  8. 🙂 I’ve heard about the book quite a few times in the last few days, but never read it. I guess it’s a “must” now.
    And the logo is quite cool (and you know how much I like vintage LV), although I had no idea it was created by the LV people.
    I always learn from you… xo 🙂

  9. Sandra E Brown

    Come to Paris and spend your money on the food, clothes and of course Christmas trinkets. It is still lovely here. Those cowardly terrorists can’t stop Christmas.

  10. I wish I could leave for Paris right now. So many memories, so much time spent there (including at Bataclan) and so much I would like to show my support. May Paris stay Paris forever.

  11. Jackie, like the Huntress, I didn’t know about the book either. Thanks for bringing it into my radar, a most timely read (much as I prefer London to Paris)!

  12. I saw there was a run on A Moveable Feast, but since I had never read it … I think the logo is lovely. Poets write poems to express their feelings, musicians music, etc. So for Vuitton, it is a logo, it is his art. And I love your writing on this horror as well. The last thing the terrorists want us to feel is hope.

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