I have written and thrown out several posts for today, turning over in my mind what more could be said on the subject of the recent abominations that took place on Friday 13th in the City of Lights. An evening of darkness that has touched the world, preceded and followed by murderous atrocities in Beirut, Kenya and Mali, not to mention the lockdown of Brussels.
France Magazine is a monthly journal I have been writing a column for for close to six years. It is the bestselling and probably most comprehensive, English-language guide to all things French. It also offers excellent and well-researched articles on almost every rocky outcrop or blade of grass growing in this diverse country. As a tribute, Carolyn Boyd, the editor, has decided to dedicate the upcoming January issue to all who lost their lives or were injured in Paris during and after the atrocities of that evening of 13 November.
From a rich pool of writers and illustrators, Carolyn invited brief contributions on the subject of To Paris With Love. I was keen to be included and began to think about Paris and how it has penetrated and coloured my work. I have lived here in France, sharing my time between the capital and the south, for thirty years, a greater span of life than I spent in either of my mother countries, Ireland and England. One of the hardest calls for me is when France and Ireland play one another at football or rugby – not that these are sports I follow ardently – but who do I shout for on such occasions?
Most inhabitants of a metropolis have …