“Paris” could be the first word of an epic poem.
For the visitor, it is a city that offers the qualities of a cultural texture, a life-frame, and social character external to one’s own, and the stimulation of that social distance has long been used as a creative well for thought, writing, and inspiration. For centuries the Parisian urbanscape has drawn writers, artists, and émigrés from many nations, and the place has helped forge some eminent aesthetic perspectives.
Paris has served as an escape not only from political danger, social conflict, and war, but also from provinciality and the cultural stagnancy from which many artists suffer in their places of origin … distance from home— a distance that is at once geographic, cultural, social, linguistic, and aesthetic— has engendered renovation, renewal, and a drive for experiential growth.
Maybe for these reasons, travel is frequently a central component of an author’s creative register.
– Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera and Vamsi K. Koneru,
Paris in American Literatures: On Distance as a Literary Resource