I receive a steady stream of books throughout the year about Paris from publishers asking me to read and review their books. I don’t have a lot of time to read books except when I go on vacation but when I go on vacation I also take my mind on vacation and like to read escapist stories or things that take me to other worlds besides Paris. So most of the time I skim through the books about Paris and write a summary rather than a review.
One of the few books I recently read from cover to cover (no skimming) was The Only Street in Paris- Life on the rue Des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino. I was looking forward to reading it because much like Elaine, the rue des Martyrs is also one of my favorite streets in Paris and it’s the highlight of my SOPI/South Pigalle- 9th arrondissement tour.
Elaine Sciolino moved to Paris in 2002 when she was assigned the position of bureau chief for the New York Times. First living on the rue du Bac in the haute bourgeois Saint Germain raising her two daughters with her husband Andy, she always had the desire to live on the rue des Martyrs, since discovering it when she first moved here. Rue des Martyrs, was her antidote to the snobby St. Germain and over commercialized and touristy Marais, with its reputation as one of the great food shop streets and a more down to earth and authentic Parisian neighborhood. Wanting to downsize her living space when her daughters went off to college in the U.S. in 2010, Elaine found here dream apartment on rue Notre Dame de Lorette, just a few steps from her beloved rue des Martyrs.
A combination of a true passion for her new neighborhood, the respect and genuine caring about her neighbors and local shopkeepers, and a good reporter’s persistent curiosity in uncovering a great story, the book from page one is delightful and highly entertaining.
A major part of the book is the stories about the shop owners: the troubled fish shop that eventually closed which the neighborhood was up in arms about, the touching chapter about the aging octogenarian showman Michou and his past glory as the greatest and oldest ongoing drag show in Paris, the quirky shop that restores old barometers, getting past an insecurity from college by bravely befriending the owners of a bookshop with a sign saying “Non Intellectuals Not Welcome”, and a lovely story about a Tunisian antiques dealer who gives her his Hermes scarf right from his neck and invites her to his Passover seder, and a funny madcap caper about retrieving an enormous neon sign from the junkyard cherished by a shopkeeper who was forced to close his shop.
There’s also a lot of rich history about the street from the fascinating to the mundane including Francois Truffaut and how scenes from his iconic film The 400 Blows was shot there, where Renoir and Degas painted circus acrobats, Emile Zola writing about a lesbian dinner club set on the street in his novel Nana, and where the first strip tease invented.
It’s also about her personal journey, from never being able to fully fit in on the rue du Bac no matter how “French” she became to being comfortable as an outsider who was proud of her Sicilian American working class roots and was fully embraced for it in her new neighborhood.
Click here to order The Only Street in Paris- Life on the rue Des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino.
Elaine will be speaking at the American Library of Paris, 10 Rue du Général Camou, 75007 this Wednesday, December 16 at 7:30PM.
It’s holiday time and I know you are going over your gift list as I write this.
Now more than ever we need to cherish and preserve the great beauty of Paris, so what better way to do that then by sending an Eye Prefer Paris Postcard Subscription.
I am offering, the perfect gift— a special 3-month subscription of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards for December only for $30 plus shipping.
Click here to order a 3-month subscription.
I am also offering a sale on a 12-month subscription, which includes an extra month free, a total of 13 months for the price of $110, instead of $120, plus shipping.
Click here to order a 12-month subscription
Six Month Subscriptions are available for $60 plus shipping.
Click here to order a 6-month subscription
I will hand write a personal note for you if you send me name of the person you are gifting and the message you want me to write.
I look forward to your visit to my Eye Prefer Paris Postcards Etsy shop.
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.