Readers travel!

Notes on the Writing Life

For traveling readers:

A wealth of travel options are available for readers of Mistress of the Sun, which takes place in many of the most beautiful castles of the Loire Valley and Ile de France. (For details, see the map on the Mistress of the Sun page.)

For readers of the Josephine B. Trilogy, Malmaison has been beautifully restored. It's a day-trip from Paris. From Malmaison, one can walk to the church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul in the village of Rueil-Malmaison, to see Josephine's and Hortense's tombs. The Fondation Napoléon has set out an excellent travel itinerary for visiting Malmaison and other spots of interest in the area.

In Paris, Sandra Gulland recommends a visit to the Carmes Convent, where Josephine and her first husband were kept prisoner during the Terror. "When I was there, a guided tour was offered that took us deep into the crypts where skulls are on display in glass cases. In the reception area above, one could see the blood stains on the walls from the days of the Terror.”

A visit to Plombieres-les-Bains, the spa Josephine frequented, is a delightful experience. "It's still very much a simple mountain village, as it was in Josephine's day. The food was excellent, the rates more than reasonable, and, of course, the many and varied spa treatments were a delight.” For more on this, read Sandra Gulland's article, "Mud Baths and Dusty Coffins: in Search of Josephine B.

In Martinique, Josephine's homestead La Pagerie has been restored for tourists. In Trois-Islets, the church Josephine attended, the Eglise Notre-Dame-d-la-DĂ©livrance, is on the central square.

The perfect tour guides

On tour in the U.S. in June, 2008, a woman told me that she was looking forward to going to Paris with her daughter. They had read the Trilogy and would be tracing Josephine's route. What did I suggest? I recommended that she read Walks through Napoleon & Josephine's Paris by Diana Reid Haig. This is a gorgeous book.

Another good guide I recommend to Trilogy tourists (of whom there are a number!) is You Go Girl Paris. The authors list many Josephine B. sites to see.