100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Travelers’ Tales, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Told in a series of stylish, original essays, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is for the serious Francophile, for the woman dreaming of a trip to Paris, and for those who love crisp stories well-told. Like all great travel writing, this volume goes beyond the guidebook and offers insight not only about where to go but why to go there. Combining advice, memoir and meditations on the glories of traveling through France, this book is the must-have in your carry-on when flying to Paris.
Award-winning writer Marcia DeSanctis draws on years of travels and living in France to lead you through vineyards, architectural treasures, fabled gardens and contemplative hikes from Biarritz to Deauville, Antibes to the French Alps. These 100 entries capture art, history, food, fresh air and style and along the way, she tells the stories of fascinating women who changed the country’s destiny. Ride a white horse in the Camargue, find Paris’ hidden museums, try thalassotherapy in St. Malo, and buy raspberries at Nice’s Cour Saleya market. From sexy to literary, spiritual to simply gorgeous, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is an indispensable companion for the smart and curious traveler to France.
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Published by Travelers Tales
on 9th September, 2014
It isn’t everyday you have the pleasure of reading a travelogue writ in the style of a personal diary to the level where one woman’s peripheral intuitiveness lends a hand towards giving the reader a thread of insight that most travelogues do not typically yield. The format of this travelogue is one of the best I have come across due to the nature of how the list of 100 Places is formatted to be revealed. I am going to highlight my Top 5 sections as I want to give a sampling of the joy I experienced whilst reading this non-fiction account of Ms. DeSanctis’s travels within France.
She left such a strong impression on my heart as to eclipse the idea I haven’t yet travelled there myself by placing my mind inside her own shoes as she relates her own story as to create the feeling I was transported there whilst seeing everything she saw herself. To me that is the best part of reading travel fiction and travel non-fiction narratives; they allow us to employ the nature of what excites us as adventurers without necessarily needing to leave our home.
For most of us, travel in today’s world is cost prohibitive and/or we have to become more selective in our choices per year as to where we can afford to traverse. By picking up this guide of the 100 Places of whom gave the author an alarming connective tie to the countrymen and women of France, it will ignite a passion inside your own heart to either walk in her own footsteps or dare to sort out the parts of France that speak to your own spirit of taking an expeditionary route through this remarkably historic country.
Within the Introduction to this travelogue, we start to see the inklings of how DeSanctis first became enamored with France and not surprisingly there is a foodie connection to her passionate joy! I, for one, can fully understand how food can be a gateway into a country as for me it was India of which lent not only a curiosity of spirit for their culture and art (I maintain a healthy penchant for Bollywood films) but it was through the expressive nature of their spices and foods which translated directly into a passion for the people of the country. I can fully respect how a piece of bread (in the author’s case it was a croissant) can quite literally excite your senses for more exploration! (on my behalf it was naan!)
As she bespoke a curated passion for watching Audrey Hepburn movies (alongside Cary Grant) set in France, I smiled most readily because I completely concurred with her sentiments! Hepburn not only translated her characters as though she embodied their souls, but she had the formidable presence on screen to translate the setting and the scope of where the story was set. She redefined how to present a character and how to effectively endear to give a homage to where the character either lived or interacted. She is one of a kind in this regard, except to say I felt the same whilst watching Ingrid Bergman who was just ahead of her on the screen.
(The only difference between us, as I am a bit younger than the author, my “Sabrina” was not Ms. Hepburn but rather Julia Ormond — we blissfully walked away with the same appreciation for living a life where you do not allow your insecurities to interfere with your innermost dreams and desires.)
The way in which DeSanctis presents the allure of being in France is an insightful recollection of how we can lead full lives but have bits of who we are a bit absent as well. The country not only has a way of evoking a proper sense of history but an evocation of femininity and a re-definition of a well-lived life by not only having our senses fully exposed to the liveliness of a French life but to bring out anything that might have previously inhibitiously held us behind.
I found this element of an intangible difference in how life is lived within the film version of “The 100 Foot Journey” based on the novel I have not yet had the pleasure to read but of which exemplifies the same pursuit of not merely existing season to season but passionately living through sensory experience rooted in a connection to community, art, culture, and the interconnectedness of humanity. To intuitively thrive in the everyday hours whilst surrounding yourself in the places which enrich your mind, heart, and soul.
| Section One: #3 Homage to La Môme |
Music has always been a central focal point in my life as it has captured a piece of my own soul in such a way as to alleviate me out of stress or to cultivate an emotional response to a piece of instrumentation, vocalisation, symphony or score for motion picture in such a way as to transcend the moment in which the piece is heard. Music has a cadence of passion knitted into the chords, the harmonies, and the in-between moments that is especially unique to the artist who conceives the idea of what translates into an audio narrative of a story unspoken through words. Even when words are attached to the musical composition itself — they tell only half of the story which evolves through the instruments who accompany the voice.
[ it should be known I was listening to Programme #664 Dark Wisdom via Hearts of Space (hos.com) whilst composing this blog post — where string instruments evoked the gutting emotions of humanity. ]
Whilst reading her passages of appreciation on behalf of Edith Piaf, I started to conjure inside my own mind how beautifully dynamic this woman would have been on stage; how creatively evoking her voice would have spilt straight through my heart and soul whilst I would be seated in audience of her performance; and what a gift it would have been to witness her vocality first-hand. There have been a few times in my young life where I have been in the presence of a true performer of unexplained talent and grace, whose very voice was an instrument who could create music on a level that is not even able to be related in recollection through words; as most sensations of music are felt rather than spoken. Our thoughts and our impressions on music are on a completely different level of understanding than spoken dialogue (hence why music is being used to reach autistic children who otherwise cannot communicate).
Finding out there is a residential museum celebrating the life of the legendary and iconic singer made my heart sing with curiosity! I love finding tucked away museums which are housed in unexpected places, that take you on an internal journey back to the time and era the person lived. I always fancied visiting museums and other historic sites where only half the story of the person is known in the exhibits and the other half simply has to be felt by the person who visits the site with an open mind. Read More