Looking for a modern-day moveable feast.
February 19, 2012 9:51 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite books (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc) and films about contemporary life in Paris, Munich, and/or Zurich (or their environs)? (Translated into English, of course).

Later this year, we're headed on a trip to Europe--for Dr. Tully Monster, it will be a work trip; for me it will be a chance to wander around alone for a week at a time in Paris, Munich, and Zurich, respectively, and just absorb. I can't wait, needless to say. But I'd kind of like to get a feel for the cities as they are now.

I have read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which is probably a good example of the kind of book I'm talking about. As far as movies go...kind of drawing a blank here, but looking for films that are kind of slice-of-lifeish--maybe like Fellini's Amarcord? I've been to Paris once, but Munich and Zurich never.
posted by tully_monster to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London is sublime.
posted by bardic at 10:08 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

How recent is 'contemporary'? Is 1974 too old? Un Homme Qui Dort is fantastic. It's pretty much just a young man wondering the streets of Paris.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 10:49 PM on February 19, 2012

Paris, je t'aime (2006)
posted by The Discredited Ape at 10:52 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

David Sedaris's pieces on Paris are hysterical but probably fairly accurate.

I found Gopnik's Paris to the Moon to be really evocative.
posted by Mchelly at 4:17 AM on February 20, 2012

I liked Paris! Paris! [Irwin Shaw, illus by Searle] so much that I stayed in the same arrondissement that he describes in great detail but, published in 1977, it is not exactly contemporary.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:01 AM on February 20, 2012

It’s not contemporary either, but a good deal of Die Zweite Heimat aka Heimat 2: Chronicle of a Generation is set in Munich.
posted by misteraitch at 6:19 AM on February 20, 2012

Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda is a longish light novel (I guess it's a bit like Friends, with the twenty-something roommate characters) that features that slice-of-life feeling of being in Paris. There is also a movie. I read it right after Elegance of the Hedgehog and enjoyed both, though they have a different feel from one another.

A friend enjoyed Adam Gopnik's memoir, Paris to the Moon.

Richard Linklater's film Before Sunset features a lovely long stroll through Paris.
posted by kettleoffish at 8:28 PM on February 27, 2012

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