"There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it."

"There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. Paris was always worth it, and you received return for whatever you brought to it."

 

—Ernest Hemingway

 

In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris that left over 130 people dead, Parisians have found solace — not in guns, revenge or violence — but in literature. Since the attacks, Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” has been in high demand among Parisians seeking comfort in trying times. When 77-year-old Danielle was putting flowers at a memorial in Paris, she was asked by France’s BFM television to say a few words. She essentially told the public to keep bringing flowers to the memorials and to read Hemingway. After her words of advice, the #Parisestunefete, the French title of “A Moveable Feast,” started trending on almost every major social network site. The book's sales have risen 50 times higher than usual on Amazon.fr.

 

But what is it about this particular work of literature that has Parisians, as well as the rest of the world, so entranced?

 

The American author’s posthumous 1964 memoir consists of personal accounts, observations and stories from his time in the City Of Light. Hemingway provides specific addresses of cafes, bars, hotels, and apartments that he personally visited, many of which can still be found in Paris today. The American title is taken from the quote "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

 

Perhaps it is this sense of longevity that is so comforting to those trying to cope with the attacks. After all, natives to the city aren't oblivious. They know better than anybody the lasting effects that their beloved city has on travelers and tourists. They experience the same effects every day by simply existing as a part of the city. They know that the indominable French spirit will not be quelled by barbaric attacks or militant threats of any kind. Most importantly, they know that their brothers and sisters across the globe stand with them as they attempt to regroup and maintain the legacy of a city so deeply ingrained in culture and class. Hemingway's words are a kind reminder of that.

Hemingway’s memoir is an ode to the “joie de vivre.” This sentiment is what the people of Paris desire to return to after the brutal attacks. Parisians are hashtagging #tousaubistrot and #jesuisenterrasse, or “everyone to the bistro” and “I’m on the terrace,” in an attempt to encourage people to enjoy the city again.

 

Of living in Paris in his 20s, Hemingway famously writes in “A Moveable Feast,” ”We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

 

Even after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, sales of Voltaire’s “Traite sur la Tolerance,” or “Treatise on Tolerance,” increased. It may be a uniquely French way to heal, turning to literature and philosophy, but it seems as though continuing to live true to the French values of literature, art, and philosphy, are the only way for Paris to return to normalcy.

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