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Boyd Lemon

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Eat.Walk.Write: An American Senior's Year of Adventure in Paris & Tuscany
by Boyd Lemon   

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Books by Boyd Lemon
· Games
· Diversity: A Road Trip Across the USA
· Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages
· Unexpected Love and Other Stories
· A Dangerous Game
                >> View all



Publisher:  Create Space ISBN-10:  146801143X Type: 


Copyright:  December 31, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781468011432

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At the age of 70 the author retired and set out to fulfill a life long dream of living in another country. He planned to live in the world's most beautiful city, Paris, for two years, but returned home to California after a year in Paris and Tuscany. He takes you on his journey, experiencing the joys and challenges of living in those two storied parts of the world.

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Boyd Lemon-Writer

At the age of 70 the author retired and set out to fulfill a life long dream of living in another country. He planned to live in the world's most beautiful city, Paris, for two years, but returned home to California after a year in Paris and Tuscany. He takes you on his journey, experiencing the joys and challenges of living in those two storied parts of the world.

If you have ever dreamed of living or spending an extended period abroad, you should read this book, a vivid and humorous description of the author's joys and challenges living in Paris and Tuscany. If you have lived or are living in Paris, it will seem quite familiar.


Chapter One: Settling in Paris
Chapter Two: A Weekend in Rural Southwest France
Chapter Three: Enough of Alliance
Chapter Four: The Adventures of
Everyday Life In Paris
Chapter Five: Joy and Frustration
Chapter Six: A Place of My Own
Chapter Seven: The French Love of Conversation
Chapter Eight: Jolly Old England and
Daring Old Amsterdam
Chapter Nine: Taking Stock
Chapter Ten: Soaking Up More of Paris.
Chapter Eleven: The South of France
Chapter Twelve: Back in Paris Shucking Oysters and Eating
Texas Chili
Chapter Thirteen: A Wet Walk and a Dry One
Chapter Fourteen: The Island of Groix
Chapter Fifteen: The Call of Northern
Spain and Portugal
Chapter Sixteen: A White Christmas
In Paris
Chapter Seventeen: The New Year, 2011
Chapter Eighteen: About Food in France
and America
Chapter Nineteen: More Paris Walks
and Meals
Chapter Twenty: Farewell Paris
Chapter Twenty-One: Final Thoughts
About Paris
Chapter Twenty-Two: Northern
In 2007 I reduced my law practice to a few hours a week, and after a lifetime in
southern California, moved to Boston to experience life on the east coast. I loved Boston,
its art, music and history, and not needing a car. But I had always yearned to experience
living in another country. I considered Mexico and Italy, both of which I had thoroughly
enjoyed when I visited briefly, but it was Paris that was calling me. I had visited twice,
and Paris was so magical, so civilized, so foreign.
I had re-invented myself as a writer, having written more than a dozen short
stories and several essays, and I had almost finished a memoir about my journey to
understand my role in the destruction of my three marriages. If Boston is a writers’ town,
Paris is the quintessential.
So, in spring of 2010 I completed my legal work, totally retired and prepared to
move to Paris. I decided rather arbitrarily that two years would be the ideal amount of
time to soak up French culture. After selling, giving away or storing all of my stuff that
wouldn’t fit into a large backpack, a medium suitcase and a computer bag, I obtained my
Long Stay Visa from the French Consulate and took off for Paris.
As a writer, it was second nature to keep a journal while I was in Paris. I also
started two blogs, one on travel and another on divorce recovery.
As so often happens when one undertakes an adventure, I was in for a lot of
surprises, and writing about them enhanced the joys and softened the challenges. I stayed
for a about a year and spent the last month in northern Tuscany. In spring 2011 I
returned to California.
The most popular posts on my travel blog were excerpts from my journal, so I
decided to revise it to make it more readable and publish it. As I read and edited my
journal, I relived many wonderful experiences, including the art, culture and history of
the civilization that spawned America’s. But the themes that kept reoccurring seemed to
be eating, walking and writing. I am thrilled to share my adventures.

Chapter Four
The Adventures of Every Day Life in
One Saturday about 8:00 I got on the Metro and headed for Montmartre. I had
been there in 2007 and remembered it for its music. When I looked around after getting
off the Metro and climbing what seemed like a thousand steps, people swarmed the
streets that looked like a hip Disney World. Unlike my neighborhood in the Fifteenth,
where people always seemed to be going somewhere—to work, home, to visit a friend,
out to eat, to the grocery store, the boulangerie or somewhere––in Montmartre, whether
walking briskly or strolling, they just looked around, like they were trying to find
something or somebody.
The first two cafes I spotted had no empty outdoor tables. Within a few yards I
heard a dozen languages spoken. I found a café with an empty table, ordered a small
pichet of white wine and began people watching.
The first thing I noticed was that there seemed to be few American tourists. Most
were European. I wondered if it was the effect of the American recession. A young
couple sat on the ground a few feet away, resting, speaking Spanish. Two bottles of
wine sat between them. Couples walked by, wives or girl friends pointing at things. I
don’t know what. There seemed to be nothing around except cafes and across the way a
park with huge trees that covered the entire park, the type of park you see in European
cities and on the east coast of the United States, but not in southern California. I
remembered walking on this street, Rue des Abbesses in 2007. It felt different not being
a tourist—more relaxing—no need to be in a hurry to see anything. I have two years to
see whatever I want, I thought. It was a relief to not be studying French in my
apartment, though I had my notebook out and glanced at my French vocabulary from
time to time.
A man walked by in light brown leather pants, a darker brown leather vest, a
beige hat with a brim not quite as wide as a cowboy hat, a dress shirt and a red bow tie.
He walked by several times, the last time carrying a baguette. He must live here, I
thought. I wondered what it’s like in winter when there aren’t as many tourists. I would
find out. The tables were pushed together as close as possible, touching. Had I
understood more than English, I could have heard everything the couples around me
were saying. Most of the people were couples. I saw few people alone. I guess Paris is
a couples sort of place—the city of love, or is it light? It’s a good thing cigarette smoke
doesn’t bother me. A dozen people within 20 feet were smoking. A lot of Africans
walked by, some in native costume. I didn’t know if they lived in Paris or were tourists.
It’s sad that the French don’t treat their African residents any better than we do, maybe
I saw a lot of people pointing to some steps nearby that descended to another
street. When I finished and paid for my wine, I walked down the steps and followed a
street to the right. There was Pigalle. I had heard Pigalle in recent years—maybe not so
recent—had turned into a place to watch and perhaps get sex, and I noticed pictures and
ads for lap dancers and nude shows and the like. I walked a couple of blocks. It all
looked the same. As I waited for a signal light, a young man approached me and, in
English, asked me to come to his bar down the way and have a drink. He said there were
pretty girls there. Why not, I thought, so I followed him.
He took me inside, standing close to me, but not quite touching me. He pointed to
a booth with black curtains that could be closed. I sat down. He said the drink would be
ten euro. Just then an attractive brunette, nicely dressed in black, about 35, I guessed, sat
down next to me and started talking in English. I don’t remember what she said. I do
remember her putting her hand on my thigh. That finally jarred me to the realization that
the place was a brothel. I thanked her and got up. The man who had escorted me came
rushing over along with another woman, with a very short skirt and low cut blouse.
They both urged me to stay, saying they would provide me with another woman. I told
them no, that I had decided to leave and rushed out, clutching my bag to my body. They
followed me to the door, urging me to stay, but didn’t physically restrain me. I sighed
when I got out the door.
I walked back to Montmartre and heard music coming from a bar. I went in and
sat down. It looked like a hip American bar from the ‘90’s. Looking around at the male
couples, I concluded it was a gay bar, but nobody was paying any attention to me, except
the female bartender, who asked me in English what I wanted to drink. I ordered a
Margarita. Soon after, a young man sitting at a table with an older woman announced in
French that it was his mother’s birthday and in her honor he was going to buy
everybody—about 8 people––a drink. The bartender told me in English, but I had
understood what he said. I didn’t want another drink, but didn’t feel like I could refuse.
I sat at the bar, nursing my drinks and listening to the band playing a little French
music, but mostly American music from the ‘70’s.
At 10:00 I was hungry and asked the bartender to recommend a good seafood
restaurant. The place she recommended was crowded, but they accommodated one
person. It was noisy and smoke filled—I had an outside table. I ordered a salad, escargot
and mussels, and they were delicious, but expensive. I couldn’t afford it often, but I felt
like I had been out to the part of Paris where the artists used to hang out, even if it was
now mostly a tourist destination. I appreciated the history.

Professional Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!, March 24, 2012
By Elysabeth N. Faslund - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior's Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany (Kindle Edition)
If you were to travel to Paris, plan to make a home there, or simply live for awhile...this book MUST be what you read, savor!
Apart from the problems encountered with banks, pay-per-minute cell phones, and the French classroom, etc., among countless others, this book is the essential "French Reality" told as only Boyd Lemon can. It's the high quality of the endearing storyline which will have you speechless from the beginning!

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