I’m Hannah Meltzer, a journalist and writer from London, who’s been living in Paris for the last five years.
When I was at school, I had a French pen friend named Eloise. We wrote each other two-line notes that consisted mostly of illustrations—stars drawn in shiny gold gel pens, stick-figures depicting our friends, things like that.
When we finally met on a school trip to Picardy, our ability to communicate was minimal, but I do recall being delighted at the dolphin-themed alarm clock she gave me. Rightly so: it must have been from a top-drawer novelty-alarm-clock shop because almost 25 years later, it lives on, in perfect working order, on a bookshelf at my mother’s house.
My love for France started that day, and, like the clock, it has kept ticking. I learned French and now live and work in Paris, where I write articles for newspapers and magazines and write and produce content for non-newspapers and magazines.
What is Pen Friend?
This letter is for:
Anyone who loves, dreams of or has any kind of strong feelings about Paris and French culture;
and/or anyone likes the idea of having a pen friend.
These missives will provide you with updates, cultural insights, anecdotes and recommendations for Paris—exhibitions, interesting people, beautiful places, that kind of thing.
And/but I also want to go a bit deeper than macarons and the Eiffel Tower. I hope to avoid clichés, or unpack them, and to help explain the societal, structural, dare I say it, philosophical, reasons why French culture is how it is.
We’re still going to keep things fun, so while I want to go deeper than Emily in Paris, we’ll go less deep than, say, Michel Foucault. Expect somewhere in between those two.
To continue tradition, I will also illustrate my letters with my own drawings.
I would be honoured if you agreed to be my pen friend. Sign-up to receive a letter every Sunday straight to your inbox.