Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
From my review:
So what are teen relationships really like? Hint: they lack communication and have lots of drama. The couple in this book fights a lot which I found kind of funny and adorable. The thing that kept me from completely loving this book was I felt like there was a little too much drama. It gave me mild anxiety while reading it.
I couldn’t get enough of the cast of characters. Anna’s father is a an author who is more or less Nicholas Sparks but with the personality of Gilderoy Lockhart – complete with fake white smile, purple shirt, and hair that blows dramatically in the wind…. [Read more]
Victor Noir’s Grave (at Pere-Lachiase Cemetary)
“Victor Noir. He was a journalist shot by Pierre Bonaparte,” St. Clair says, as if that explains anything. […] “The statue on his grave is supposed to help . . . fertility.”
“His wang is rubbed shiny,” Josh elaborates. “For luck.”
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg. 132)
NO. No way.
Seriously? HOW DID I MISS THIS WHEN I WAS IN PARIS? I was using the wrong guide book. Learn from my mistakes. See Paris the Stephanie Perkins way. Then see what Rick Steves has to say about The City of Light.
Oh. My. Gosh. It gets better. :) I looked up the Pere-Lachaise cemetery on Wiki and here’s what it said about Victor Noir:
“Victor Noir – journalist killed by Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte in a dispute over a duel with Paschal Grousset. The tomb, designed by Jules Dalou, is notable for the realistic portrayal of the dead Noir.”
Are you sure? Are you SURE, Wiki, that that’s ALL his grave is known for???? Lol.
St. Clair glances at me from the corner of his eyes and smiles. “A pantheon means it’s a place for tombs – of famous people, people important to the nation.”
“Is that all?” I’m sort of disappointed. It looks like it should’ve at least crowned a few kings or something.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 168)
Eh. Not too sad I missed this when I went to Paris. Anna was right. Kind of disappointing. Cool building though.
Luxembourg Gardens and the Grand Bassin
Le Jardin du Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Gardens, is busy today, but it’s a pleasant crowd. […] Etienne and I are sprawled before the Grand Bassin, an octagonal pool popular for sailing toy boats.
– Stepanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 307-308)
I saw the toy boats in the Grand Bassin when I went to Paris and it was something out of a freaking fairy tale.
The trees there are meticulously trimmed. They are square. They are really tall, really square, and it makes me feel like I’m not so perfectionist after all. When I went, I didn’t take any pictures because it was so peaceful. It’s the kind of place that you want to sit for hours and do absolutely nothing.
Shakespeare and Company
My heart!!! It breaks that I didn’t go here either!! Shakespeare and Company will stamp the books for you that you buy there. How cool is that?! I was SO close to here, too! There are tons of book sellers on the bank next to Notre Dame. We even looked at some of the carts. All I needed to do is turn around!! Ah the angst!
It starts drizzling, so we pop into a bookshop across from Notre-Dame. The yellow-and-green sign reads SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY.
Inside, we’re struck by chaos. A horde of customers crowds the desk, and everywhere I turn there are books, books, and more books. But it’s not like a chain, where everything is neatly organized on shelves and tables and end caps. Here books totter in wobbly stacks, fall from the seats of chairs, and spill from sagging shelves.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 183-184)
The Christmas gift I bought her, a tiny package wrapped in red-and-white-striped paper, has been shoved into the bottom of my suitcase. It’s a model of Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 244)
I look down, and I’m surprised to find myself standing in the middle of a small stone circle. In the center, directly between my feet, is a coppery-bronze octagon with a star. Words are engraved in the stone around it: POINT ZERO DES ROUTES DE FRANCE.
“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France.’ In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “It’s the beginning of everything. […] Welcome to Paris, Anna. […] Now make a wish.”
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 84-85)
SWOON. What an adorable moment! Here’s point zero. Now imagine a cute boy and make a wish :)
Saint Etienne du Mont
We’re standing in front of an absolute beast of a cathedral. Four thick columns hold up a Gothic facade of imposing statues and rose windows and intricate carvings. A skinny bell tower stretches all the way into the inky blackness of the night sky. “What is it?” I whisper. “Is it famous? Should I know it?”
“It’s my church.”
“You go here?” I’m surprised. He doesn’t seem like the church-going type.
“No.” He nods to a stone placard, indicating I read it.
“Saint Etienne du Mont. Hey! Saint Etienne.”
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 78)
Maybe it’s not a famous chapel, but it’s an amazing one.
Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde
“I still want to ride one of those Ferris wheels they set up along the Champs-Elysées. Or that big one at the Place de la Concorde with all the pretty lights.”
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 199)
CUTE! I didn’t know they had Ferris wheels here.
We stroll across the marble in awed silence, except for when he points out someone important like Joan of Arc or Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. According to him, Saint Genevieve saved the city from famine. I think she was a real person, but I’m too shy to ask.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 169)
So of course I had to know – is she a real person? Yep. But she lived in the 400s so it’s hard to separate her real life from her canonized Catholic biography.
My car’s named after my favorite director, Sofia Coppola. Sofia creates these atmospheric impressionistic films with this quiet but impeccable style. She’s also one of only two American women to have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar, for Lost in Translation.
She should have won.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 219)
Sofia is also an actress. I looked her up mostly to see what other films she’s done. She did Marie Antoinette as well. I agree with Anna’s description of her films – impressionistic and atmospheric.
I shrug. “I just like . . . expressing my opinion. That possibility of turning someone on to something really great. And, I dunno, I used to talk with this big critic in Atlanta – he lived in my theater’s neighborhood, so he used to go there for screenings – and he one bragged about how there hadn’t been a respectable female film critic since Pauline Kael, because women are too soft. That we’ll give any dumb movie four stars. I want to prove that’s not true.”
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 270-271)
I had never heard of Pauline Kael and I’m so glad I looked her up. She’s a fascinating person. She was a movie critic for over 20 years and changed the way that major movie critics reviewed movies – including Roger Ebert. She was very opinionated but her opinions were usual different than the other critics. She often brought movies to people’s attention that had been overlooked and she didn’t often bash movies that others hated.
– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 272)
I was curious about what movies would be in this marathon. As far as I can tell it would probably look like this:
- Human Nature
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Be Kind Rewind
- The Green Hornet
Want a longer to-read list? Here are some books mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss.