by Alice Kaplan
For 25 years Paris has been the place where I do research, write, gather materials for my courses, and renew my sense of the French language — and my joie de vivre. For some people Paris is a fashion show or a gourmet meal or a museum. For me and for my colleagues in French studies, it’s a library where we wander among the stacks, a fantasy captured by the French architect Dominique Perrault in his design for the new French National Library: four buildings in the shape of open books, towering over the River Seine.
The Paris I love is made of personal memories of the city and the Paris I’ve gleaned from a thousand books and films — reading and viewing memories that have sometimes doubled back and influenced where I have gone and whom I have met in the city.