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Talking location with Lynne Shelby – Paris

9th November 2016

#TalkingLocationWith… Author Lynne Shelby who takes us to her Paris and shares her top tips for a visit to the city.

talking location

Strolling along the stone quays beside the Seine on a summer evening, I knew that this scene – the river almost too bright to look at, the silhouette of the Paris skyline, the lengthening shadows, couples sitting with their legs dangling over the water in the lingering warmth of the setting sun, the murmur of conversation, a passing cyclist – was one I wanted to capture in the pages of my WIP. I took a photo, wrote a few notes, and made a quick sketch – I’m a writer, not an artist, but drawing a scene means that I notice all sorts of details that hopefully will give my story a real sense of place when I’m back in my writing room typing on my laptop.


I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris, one of my favourite cities, several times, but when I was writing the Paris section of my debut novel, ‘French Kissing,’ I knew I had to visit it again. In the book, my English heroine, Anna, accompanies my French hero, Alexandre, to Paris, so that he can show her the city he adores. I wanted to see Paris through her eyes, and also to make certain that the route Alex takes her through the city could be followed by anyone exploring Paris for the first time.

talking location

Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

The most important item on Anna’s itinerary is a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. She and Alex take the metro from Montmartre, where he lives, to the Trocadero – the best place to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower, I think. They walk across the Pont d’léna (another good photo opportunity), and take the lift to the top of the tower – the view from the top being a must-see for any first-time visitor to Paris. From the Eiffel Tower they walk along the left bank of the Seine – and like many art-lovers, take a look at the masterpieces in the Museé d’Orsay (mine and Alex’s favourite Parisian art gallery) and the Museé Rodin. On their second day in Paris, Alex takes Anna on one of my favourite Parisian walks, starting at the Arc d’Triomph, walking along the broad, tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Élyseés to the Place de la Concorde, and then on to the Jardin des Tuileries (a lovely place to have lunch and relax after a morning’s sight-seeing) and the Louvre.


Jardin des Tuileries

To research ‘French Kissing’ I walked the same routes as my characters. It was some years since I’d last visited Paris, I and realised that I’d forgotten colour of the bouquinistes on the Left Bank (dark green), how loud is the roar of the traffic as it passes the Place de la Concorde, and also how amazing the Eiffel Tower looks when it glitters at night. I discovered that the cheapest way to get around on the Metro is still to buy a carnet of ten tickets at the station, and that you can avoid some of the queues at the most popular Parisian attractions by pre-booking on line. And it was only when I was walking around Montmartre, looking at all the typically Parisian apartments, that I knew this was the area of Paris where Alex had his home. Not everything I saw on my research trip made it into ‘French Kissing,’ but it was all there in the back of my mind, inspiring me as I wrote.


My heroine, Anna, decides that everything she’s heard about the City of Light, that it is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, is true – which is exactly what I think every time I visit Paris. I hope that the people who read ‘French Kissing’ agree.

Thank you so much to Lynne for sharing her insights of Paris. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and via her website and you can buy her book on this link

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