My life has become un Train a Grand Vitesse

January 30th, 2014 | Uncategorized

(I.e., a very fast train.) I’ve been doing nonstop interviews and booksignings all week in Paris and this morning I just took the train to Angoulême, the big European comics festival.

My hotel in Paris was at 21 Rue Jacob…that address sounded familiar to me but I couldn’t remember why until Christine, one of the owners of Violette & Co., the women’s bookstore, said that Natalie Barney lived at 20 Rue Jacob. Here’s her house! It used to have a plaque but now it doesn’t. Djuna Barnes apparently used to stay across the street at my hotel.


Also across the street from Natalie’s place is a shop that sells autographs and letters and stuff, and they have a letter from Natalie Barney in the window. I did not inquire about the price.


On Monday I met with a journalist to do an interview at Shakespeare and Co., where this chat blanc watched the proceedings with complete disinterest.


Here I am with Christine at Violette & Co.


A lot of people came to my talk there, and were very patient as my French editor and sheep dog Jean-Luc translated for me. Here is a little gaggle of rowdy French women who wanted me to pose with them for a picture.


I visited the Musée D’Orsay, but sadly missed both these exhibits.


Masculine, L’Homme Nu was over, and the Gustave Doré one was still being installed. See the clock at the top of the building? You can look out through it. That was pretty genial. Which I think is French for “awesome.”


Wednesday night I spoke at a bookstore called Les Arpenteurs where a très charmante young woman named Melanie facilitated a conversation with the audience. I met Béatrice Faveur there, who published this French translation of one of my Dykes books many years ago.

Here’s Jean-Luc surrounded by lesbians.

The woman with her arms crossed is Anne Cremieux, an academic who has written some stuff about my work. And she also made this cool movie with Gretchen Phillips in it that I posted here a long time ago.

Okay. I have one half of a brain cell left. Bon nuit!

18 Responses to “My life has become un Train a Grand Vitesse”

  1. Ruth in RI says:

    Bon unit to you, too!

  2. Dag! I was hoping to catch that before anyone saw it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would love to be there! Love Paris and love your work. It’s too much love!

    Bonne nuit, Ms. Bechdel.

    (Oui… “nuit”, c’est feminin).

    But even the spelling errors are endearing. 🙂

  4. Luciene says:

    I would love to be there! Love Paris and love your work. It’s too much love!

    Bonne nuit, Ms. Bechdel.

    (Oui… “nuit”, c’est feminin).

    But even the spelling errors are endearing. 🙂

  5. Peeka says:

    I’m swooning! It all sounds incredible!

  6. Spud Helmarsson says:

    ????????? ???? to you too!

  7. Spud Helmarsson says:

    Dang, I guess Cyrillic doesn’t work in comments…

  8. Alex K says:

    Bonne nuit — et bon voyage!

  9. Isabel Torres says:

    Alison , so…cuando vienes a España…? (when you come to
    Spain…? we’ re near now…

  10. Diamond says:

    C’est merveilleux! (Et la nuit est femininE n’est-ce pas?)
    If you get tired of the European book tour experience, I bet
    another Alison, the novelist A.L. Kennedy, could cover for you
    without rehearsal in a dim enough light. Here she is at Edinburgh

  11. NLC says:

    “…do an interview at Shakespeare and
    she mentions casually in passing. Good grief…
    Send Sylvia’s spirit our greeting américain.

  12. Andrew B says:

    When I studied French those many years ago, I was comically
    bad at keeping track of grammatical gender. These days I’m probably
    worse than random. With that on the table… Given Alison’s
    interests, my favorite gender slip in this post is “masculine”. I
    think the other examples people are coming up with were just cover
    to allow her to slip that one in.

  13. Eva says:

    Oh Andrew B, you are too clever by half! An expression I
    only rarely have a reason to use, so thank you for that! Also, who
    could resist a photo with the caption “…surrounded by lesbians”
    and then find that someone two heads taller than all of

  14. It’s true, the interview at Shakespeare and Company got me with its sheer gloriousness. Although the hotel at 20 Rue Jacob, next to Natalie Barney’s place, just across from Djuna Barnes’s old haunts, that’s pretty dang good, too.

  15. Tiina says:

    Geniale= great! There is a geniale New Yorker essay discussing this word by David Sedaris which you as a new francophile may enjoy

  16. […] Alison Bechdel posted My life has become un Train a Grand Vitesse and Leaving France. […]

  17. Beatrice says:

    Not very very important but… dare I,?
    it’s Suzette, not Christine, who explained everything about Nathalie Barney’s and Djuna Barnes’s historical spots. She knows everything about lesbian writers and was a Wittig editor in France. Pity I can’t post her photo !