“I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles. I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles….” Like with the iconic Cole Porter song, Australian Paris-based writer John Baxter loves Paris. Proof is that since moving here in 1989 he has written several books about the city including “We’ll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light,” “Immoveable feast : a Paris Christmas,” “The Most Beautiful Walk in the World : a Pedestrian in Paris” and “Five Nights in Paris: After Dark in the City of Light.”
Baxter’s latest book “A Year in Paris. Season-by-season in the City of Light” is a sumptuous portrait of Paris through the seasons, highlighting the unique tastes, sights, and changing personality of the city in spring, summer, fall, and winter. He will be on hand to sign and discuss the book March 12, 7PM at Shakespeare and Co (37, rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris).
When France revolted in 1789, one of the first ways they chose to correct the excesses of the monarchy was to rename the months of the year. Selected by poet and playwright Philippe-Francois-Nazaire Fabre, these new names reflected what took place at that season in the natural world; Fructidor was the month of fruit, Floréal that of flowers, while the winter wind (vent) dominated Ventôse. Though the names didn’t stick, these seasonal rhythms of the year continue to define Parisians, as well as travelers to the city.
Devoting a section of the book to each of Fabre’s months, Baxter draws upon Paris’s literary, cultural and artistic past to paint an affecting portrait of the city. Touching upon the various ghosts of Paris past, from Hemingway and Zelda Fitzgerald, to Claude Debussy to MFK Fisher to Francois Mitterrand, Baxter evokes, as only he can, the rhythms of the seasons in the City of Light, and the sense of wonder they can arouse.