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Bernie's Paris: Travel Stories With Love Paperback – September 13, 2016
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From Kirkus Reviews
Spalla (Catch Your Breath, 2014) offers a travel memoir and a love story about two Americans in Paris.
In 2003, at the age of 57, the twice-divorced author says that she had “given up on finding anything close to lasting love”—that is, until she met a man named Bernie Verdier in Huntsville, Alabama. He was born in Paris but had served in the U.S. Army for 22 years before embarking on a second, 20-year career as a program manager for defense contractors. The French-speaking, Corvette-driving Verdier and the author hit it off well enough to decide to travel to Paris together. “That was almost twelve years ago,” says Spalla, “and my life has not been the same since then.” She takes readers on a number of intimate journeys to France, providing observations (the smell of Paris is “a combination of bread baking, car exhaust fumes, a bit of sewer gas, potatoes frying, cigarette smoke, and musty sea water”), tips (“try the American Cathedral of Paris” for an English-language church service, she says), and personal stories, such as one in which she apprehended a pickpocket. Overall, the book makes for a pleasant mélange of material that’s lighthearted but earnest. The Alabaman author’s personality inevitably shines through; a self-proclaimed “Southern belle,” she provides honest accounts of occasional timidity (“I didn’t venture out much on my own,” she admits of her first apartment stay in Paris) as well as practical advice (“don’t drink very much unless you have a cooperative bladder!” she says of attending the Tour de France). Overall, readers will likely find her story to be both useful and inspiring.
An insightful, easy-to-read guide to an illustrious European city.
'Bernie's Paris': Alabama author's tales from the City of Love Shelly Haskins, The Huntsville Times
In 1975, Linda Spalla was " divorced, jobless and homeless." The proud former pastor's wife had only her car, her then 3-year-old son, some potted plants, and, thankfully, a friend in Huntsville who offered her a place to stay. She found a job as a secretary at WHNT-TV, and over a 25-year career, worked her way up to become the station's general manager. She retired in 2000. By the time she met Bernie 12 years ago, she had survived two divorces, single parenting and a hectic but successful career. Those who know her saw the polished and prim veneer, but, in her own words, she was "pretty much a mess emotionally." So when Bernie, a native Frenchman and retired Huntsville engineer, asked her to go to Paris with him after just a couple of months of dating, she was taken aback. She reluctantly agreed, and that trip turned into a yearly routine -- two months each summer in Paris, in a rented apartment, slowly soaking in all the world's most romantic city has to offer. She kept a meticulous blog of experiences and pictures. Those blog posts, slowly crafted over three years, became "Bernie's Paris: Travel Stories With Love."
"Bernie's Paris" is part autobiography, part love story and part travelogue. After 12 consecutive years of long Paris stays, Spalla has plenty of tips: what to see, where to eat, experiences to seek out. But it's not just about the travel tips. The theme of the book is, "It's never too late to find a significant relationship, and Paris is the perfect venue" Spalla said.
Annie Lee Phillips Welcome to the newest addition to the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Goodreads group - the Local Authors Guide.
We warmly welcome our first featured author Linda Spalla, whose newest book, Bernie's Paris: Travel Stories with Love , was released in September. Part memoir and part insider travel guide to the Paris beyond the Eiffel Tower (but that is included too!) Bernie's Paris encompasses eleven years' worth of Bernard Verdier's (Bernie) and Linda's annual Paris sojourns. Linda and Bernie will show you the joy of leisurely strolls, daily life, hidden streets to explore, the best places to linger for brunch or an aperitif, and even how to survive "le voyage de l'enfer (the worst trip ever)!
Linda is from Huntsville and no stranger to the literary world. The former president and general manager of Huntsville's CBS affiliate, she has also written Catch Your Breath: Tender Meditations for Caregivers , and Leading Ladies: 30 Tips for Dynamic Female Leaders.
Having visited Paris twice myself, reading Bernie's Paris made me feel as if I was there again, and lit the fire to go back. Linda's warm and engaging style as she tells us about her life with Bernie and their adventures along with lots of practical travel advice, what-not-to miss lists, and anecdotes of an American in Paris make this the perfect travelogue and companion.
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And it was a great read. A wonderful story about two people who found each other and started taking yearly trips to Paris. Bernie, who is French introduced Linda to his Paris, and it did not take long for Linda to love Paris as well. The book is full of great stories, also has plenty of suggestions for museums, restaurants, places to stay. I loved the fact that Linda also offers the link to some websites.
While reading the book, I lived thru many moments with Linda and Bernie. I go to Paris several times a year, and found quite a few places in this book to add to my to-do-list for my next trip to Paris. Now I just need to find someone like Bernie………
You will savor every moment!