What would you do if your romantic weekend away in Paris with your boyfriend turned out to be two days alone in a completely strange city? Jojo Moyes invites us to join Nell on her first and most unexpected trip to Paris. A sweet and adventurous romance. Pack your bags and “Salut” Paris!
Nell Simmons is a twenty-six-year-old British girl who had never been to Paris before. Her boyfriend Pete, on the other hand, had traveled the world, and couldn’t believe Nell had never had a weekend out of town with a boyfriend. When Nell decides to buy them 2 tickets to Paris, she thought they would have the most amazingly romantic getaway ever, but that’s not at all what happens.
The book starts with Nell standing in an England train station, waiting for Pete to catch the Eurostar train to Paris. She had to miss her annual Girls’ Trip to Brighton to take this “voyage à deux”. When Nell receives a message from Pete saying we will not make the train, she gets shocked and doesn’t know whether to climb the train or not. The young woman, who is not really the adventurous type, decides to hop on the train, hoping her boyfriend will be able to catch the next one and meet her in Paris.
Already at the hotel, after a long and expensive taxi drive from the train station, Nell finds out the hotel has made a mistake and double-booked her room. As the place is fully booked and she cannot speak any French to look for another hotel to stay, Nell agrees to spend this one night with a complete stranger, a not-so-friendly American woman. Later that night, Pete texts his girlfriend saying that he will not be able to join her in Paris and telling her to enjoy the city.
Nell loses the ground and panics. She had just been left alone in the French capital. After a lot of thinking, she decides to wait for the next day, when she would be able to ask the receptionist to call Eurostar and change her ticket back to England. She only had to survive that one night. Nell hits the front desk and asks for a place nearby where she could have something to eat. The receptionist, a classic French woman, directs Nell to “Café des Bastides”.
On another side of the story, Fabien is a young French man aspiring to become a writer but currently working on a side job as a waiter. He was sipping coffee outside on his rooftop, reviewing his recently handwritten 332 pages manuscript when he accidentally kicks his mug, the exact one holding the stack of paper from the wind. Fabien then sees his beloved book flying into the dark streets of Paris. Desperate, he hits the streets around his building but only manages to find 183 pages.
Back to Nell’s narrative, the morning after her disastrous night in Paris, which includes spilling red wine onto the waiter’s apron and shoes at the Café, the lonely girl finds out the American woman had already left. At the hotel’s reception, Nell gives up on rescheduling her train ticket back home after discovering she would have to buy a new ticket and it would cost her way too much money. Back in room 42, Nell finds two tickets for an exhibition, booked for later that day. They belonged to the American woman, but as she was already gone, Nell decides to check the exhibit out.
Fabien, frustrated with the loss of his manuscript, walks around Paris and comes across an interesting Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo exhibition, something he had heard about from his ex-girlfriend, Sandrine. He stands in the long line, thinking Sandrine would never believe this was something he would do. Then, a girl walks by him in a rush. It is Nell. From far, she sees him, the waiter she spilled wine over.
The rest is history. A 100% worth reading history. Just like all other Jojo Moyes’ books. Enjoy this Parisian ride alongside Nell!
Published by HOLR Magazine.