I could easily see myself picking up and moving to Paris, as long as my husband and three cats came with me, writes author Eliza Watson…

Eliza's Author PicMy cats are already onboard. One of the more interesting books on my shelves is titled, French for Cats. I think it’s their way of dropping me a subtle hint. I fell in love with Paris while studying at the Sorbonne for a semester in college and I’ve since visited there several times. Sure, I love Paris for many of the cliched reasons: the incredible architecture, the art museums, the mouthwatering pain au chocolat, and the wine. However, there are also several not-so-common reasons why I fell in love with Paris.

I’m obsessed with Paris’ cemeteries. Every time someone asks me what to do when visiting Paris, I immediately send them to the cemeteries. These are some of Paris’ best art museums — filled with intriguing statues and sculptures — and not nearly as busy. During my semester at the Sorbonne, I spent many quiet afternoons studying at the Montmartre cemetery with my furry friends — hundreds of cats reside in Paris’ cemeteries. However, I have found the cemeteries to be a bit too quiet at times. During my last visit to Paris I was conducting research for a young adult ghost story (coming out this October) and I freaked myself out. Early one morning, it was just me and the garbage collectors in the cemetery. I was walking down a remote path when I swore I heard someone following me but nobody was there. This went on for several minutes. It inspired the opening scene of my young adult book. I can picture myself penning many books in the solitude of Paris’ cemeteries.

I love Paris’ open air markets and I don’t even cook! Every time I visit a market I try something new, such as an unusual looking piece of fruit or a unique cheese. I can spend an hour selecting the perfect picnic lunch and watching the lively interactions between shoppers and vendors. This brings up another thing I love about Paris; it’s a great people-watching city. Being a writer, people watching is one of my favorite pastimes. I have discovered many characters while riding the metro or walking around Paris. Every walk sparks an idea for a character, setting, or scene. It’s a city that inspires creativity, which is why I’ve set two books there.

The French are huge animal lovers, same as me. Even if you can’t speak the language, the French will immediately warm up to you if you pay attention to Fido or Fifi. One morning I was walking through the Champ de Mars, a large park at the Eiffel Tower, and I encountered a sweet elderly woman with a poodle — yes some French do own poodles — and I asked her in broken French, if I could take her dog’s picture. She smiled wide, nodding. An older man’s dog trotted up and got quite, ah, frisky with her dog. We all exchanged shocked glances, and the woman gasped, Ooh-la-la. After she shooed away the dog, I asked the gentleman if I could take his picture with his dog and he insisted on taking mine with the Eiffel Tower in the background. He had never seen a digital camera and stared in awe at the picture displayed on the back. Few words were exchanged in my ten-minute encounter with my new friends, but it was one of my most memorable moments in Paris.

Unlike great writers, such as Hemingway and Hugo, I don’t plan to pen my novels in the bustling Parisian cafes and bars. No, I envision myself in a quiet Paris cemetery, bouncing ideas off the local cats, enjoying a picnic lunch with a glass of wine before settling in on a bench to write my latest novel.

I would like to thank Chicklit Club for helping me celebrate the release of my book, Kissing My Old Life Au Revoir. One commenter will win an autographed print copy of Kissing My Old Life Au Revoir. To enter to win, please leave a comment or question about my post. Thank you for stopping by!

Final Print Cover July 2013Event planner Samantha Hunter is prepared for a few challenges when escorting a group of good ole boy beer distributors to Paris, the city of haute cuisine and fine wines. However, she doesn’t foresee being passed up for a promotion because she is too professional and doesn’t knock back beers with her clients. Her focus soon switches from landing the well-deserved promotion to finding her free-spirited sister, who lives in Paris and has disappeared, leaving behind family secrets to be uncovered. A sexy puppeteer helps Samantha search for clues to her sister’s whereabouts and teaches her to embrace her inner child. And a funeral-crashing psychic demonstrates the importance of living life to the fullest. It takes Samantha’s life spiraling out of control for her to finally get a life.

Eliza’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. The journey from fourth-grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it. When Eliza isn’t travelling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Wisconsin working on her next novel. She enjoys bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley, Frankie, and Sammy.


4 comments on “Bonjour to Paris”

  1. Eliza – I believe the culture of any location is what really gives us the emotional connection that creates in us the desire to return. And, as you point out, the true cultural experience often comes from the most interesting of experiences! I love the visual you offer of you sitting in a cemetery writing, taking a few moments here and there to chat with the local cats!

  2. Oh, I love Paris, too! The cemeteries are amazing! Poor Abelard and Heloise got moved about a lot before they finally wound up back together in Pere Lachere. I think they finally kicked Jim Morrison out of there — too many tourists and too much destruction.

    Good luck on your book!

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