Could I be addicted to Paris? "The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris" by David McCullough

As many of you already know, I'm on vacation in the United States until July 17, but what I'm just starting to realize is that I may be addicted to Paris. Comparing my symptoms against a list of symptoms for addictions on the internet, I found the following:
  • Weight loss or weight gain.  Yes, I've gained weight!  Although it could be due to all of the pancakes doused in syrup and bacon that I ate at my hotel in Boston and not having to walk up 5 flights of stairs like I do to get to my apartment in Paris.
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of the day or night. Yes, I'm sleeping at different times, although that could be due to my body trying to adjust to the time difference between the USA and Paris.
  • Changes in energy - unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic.  Another yes! I felt unexpectedly tired after visiting the factory outlet mall on Sunday, but maybe that's because I've never been much of a marathon shopper. All of the sales on July 4th weekend, however, gave me the added boost of energy to make it to just one more store...
Another sign of my addiction is that I've been unsuccessful in resisting the temptations of a book about Paris that I bought in Boston. I had intended to save The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough for when I was back at home, but it was as if a siren song was emanating from the suitcase where I thought that the book was safely stored out of my reach. During a moment of weakness, I told myself that I would read just a little bit of it last night. What could that hurt? And before I knew it, I was feverishly flipping through the pages and savoring the pictures of the Palais Royale Garden, the Louvre, and the Sorbonne. If you're suffering from similar symptoms, I strongly suggest that you get a copy of McCullough's book. His stories about the American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, and architects who moved to Paris between 1830 and 1900 are proving to be the perfect placebo for Paris.


  1. Interesting that he stops in 1900, just before the glamourous Americans arrive. Or am I wrong, were those in the 19th century glamourous too?

  2. Since I just started reading the book, what captured my attention is that McCullough focuses on the less well-known stories of the American artists, writers, doctors, politicians and architects who went to Paris because it was "at the center of things" at that time. Oliver Wendell Holmes went there because it was the medical capital of the world and artists like Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent went to Paris to learn from the French masters. Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were also there during that period. One of the things that I'm enjoying the most is realizing that some of their experiences would be valid today, which provides more evidence of the timelessness of Paris. However, reading the descriptions of the sea voyage from the USA to Paris makes me very thankful that we flew Air France to Boston.

  3. Noticed the book cover at the bottom of your blog page - I just happen to have this book on CD. Haven't finished it yet. Like you say - Cassatt, Sargent, Henry James, to love this period!


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