I was excited to find out that my MFA program at Ashland University had a residency option spent in Paris, France, so my husband and I started collecting information about going. Since I was pretty new to the program I wasn't sure how the residency would work with my schedule of work I was doing with my memoir and delayed getting signed up until too late so my husband and I decided to go to Paris anyway and then take in the residency program in Ashland that I better understood.
For understanding contemporary French history, I chose Charles Sowerwine's "France Since 1870: Culture, Politics, Society". Many times we run into election activity, news briefs about current events, protests, etc. during our visits so it is helpful to have an idea about who the recent and current leaders of a country are.
For essay's, I chose Roland Barthes' "Mythologies" because I often like to view the mythology of the countries that I visit since the gods, goddesses etc. are often portrayed in the artwork, architecture in the historical artifacts one visits. I also chose Multi-Ethnic France by Alec G. Hargreaves
For short fiction, I chose:
Great French Tales of Fantasy by Stanley Applebaum
Great French Short Stories of the Twentieth Century ed by Jennifer Wagner
For poetry, I chose:
The Penguin Book of French Poetry from 1820-1950 by William Rees
The Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry by Mary Ann Caws
My husband did most of the travel planning, using the Michelin Green and Red Guides to France and The Michelin green guide to Paris as well as the Frommer's Easy Guide to Paris, along with two detailed maps of Paris and the Paris Metro. I only read selections from the Michelin Green Guide to Paris that we took along with us on the trip for easy reference.
Classictic.com for Paris was especially helpful since it provided us the means to buy tickets to the ballet, opera, and to a choir at the Notre Dame cathedral before we left. We planned to see "The Magic Flute" and "Paquita".
One other part of our trip focused on finding ways to see Paris accompanied by a disabled person with little recent travel experience.