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From Here To Paris
In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
|From Here To Paris
by Cris Hammond
Publisher: Davenator Press
Release Date: November 30, 2013
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MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
Since Launching France Book Tours, I have met several authors who decided to leave everything in the US or England to settle in France. All these memoirs are usually excellent and really funny as well. From Here To Paris is no exception, though Cris and his wife Linda chose an original way of expat life for part of the year every year.
Laid off in his 50s, Cris struggled between fear and elation, with the idea either of “playing” or of trying to get more, because you never have enough. After some photo jig with a friend in San Francisco bay, he decided to finally take the plunge, downsize, buy a barge, and follow his dream: to go to Paris using the famous and gorgeous French canal system.
This memoir is the story of his adventures along the way, because”simplifying life can be complicated”, from finding a barge to learning how to drive it, how to keep an eye on slow French workers who could easily take 2 years to repaint it when a month should be enough, to learning the French language.
Who cares about the sex of a pastry at 7:30 in the morning? The French do.
It is very funny at times, but what made me really enjoy it is how inspirational it is to see someone leave the rat race, reinvent his life, choose to do what he loves, and follow the flow –like adapt to French life where everything closes at lunch time. Cris finally has taken time to live, to follow the inspiration and opportunities of the present moment, without any fixed destinations nor deadlines. In our crazy world, examples like these are really precious.
Sometimes your life falls apart just enough to allow you to put it back together in an entirely different way.
Cris is also an artist, he draws great cartoons and paints. His descriptions of Paris and Auxerre were really great, not mentioning my home city Dijon!
Contrary to just about every movie depiction of Paris, the true sounds of the city aren’t accordions playing La vie en rose. Rather the broad tree-lined boulevards and quaint side streets reverberate with whining scooters, thundering motorcycles, small hoking cars, tinkling bicycle bells, and bleating police claxons, all clog dancing over a background buzz of people talking a mile a minute.
Incidentally, I learned a lot on barges, on how commercial vessels were converted into private houseboats.
Even though I have seen many barges in France, particularly going through locks, I had not realized that everything is slowed down on a barge: where you could go in 30 mn by car may take you up to 5 days by boat!
The book contains also several gorgeous illustrations of scenes met along, by the author himself.
VERDICT: This summer, slow down and have fun with Cris Hammond’s very enjoyable memoir. With him, discover France in its beauty, its slower pace, and maybe find in his book ideas to reinvent your own life.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
This is the story of becoming suddenly unemployed, nearing 60 and being forced to face up to the fact that life is about to change drastically. It’s about discovering that your life can fall apart just enough to allow you to put it back together again in a whole new way.
This is the story of tossing the briefcase, cutting up the credit cards, selling the house and buying an 80 year old Dutch barge in France, then setting sail for Paris.
It’s a joyful and funny tale of stepping off the beaten path to live a dream that you’d thought you’d forgotten: Living on a barge in the middle of Paris. [Goodreads]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cris Hammond is a nationally known artist, cartoonist, and entrepreneur. His comic strip, Speed Walker, Private Eye, was seen daily in over 150 newspapers across the country, from The Miami Herald to The Seattle Sun Times, The San Diego Union, and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. His paintings of ships and the sea have appeared in galleries in Sausalito, San Francisco, Tiburon, and Carmel, California. He led special effects teams to Academy Awards for Special Effects in motion pictures including Star Trek IV, Innerspace, and The Abyss, among others. In 1994, facing penury, he left his artistic pursuits, bought a briefcase and a couple ties, and went out and got a real corporate job. Eight years and four more neckties later, he walked into his office one morning and was ambushed by the waiting Exit Interview Team, which informed him that he was, as of that moment, “out on his ear.”
After a suitable period of bi-polar careening between panic and reflection, he realized that he was too young to retire and too old to go looking for another corporate job. So, he sold the house, bought a barge in France and started painting again.
Now he and his wife, Linda, spend half the year in California living and working in their tiny art studio near San Francisco, and the other half doing the same thing on the barge in France. Piloting their 1925 Dutch barge Phaedra, they’ve meandered through more than 1200 kilometers of canals and rivers and negotiated more than 850 locks in their travels from the Rhone wine region, through Burgundy to Chablis and down the Seine into Paris.
Keep in touch with him:
Contact page | Goodreads
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