Paris: Biography of a City

In this intelligently-written and supremely entertaining new history, Colin Jones sets out to give a sense of the city of Paris as it has been lived in and experienced, from one period to the next. The focal point of generation upon generation of admirers and detractors, a source of attraction or repulsion, even for those who have never been there, this town has witnessed more extraordinary events than any other. No spot on earth has been more walked around, written about, discussed, painted and photographed. With an eye for revealing, startling and (sometimes) horrible details, Colin Jones takes the reader from Roman Paris to the present, recreating the ups and downs of this capital and its inhabitants, in an entertaining historical perspective. Attentive at once to the urban environment and to the experiences of those who have lived within it, at different stages of its evolution, “Paris: Biography of a City” will be hugely enjoyed by habitual “Paris dream”  obsessives, by first-time visitors, and by those who know its landmarks only by repute.



Montmartre, Forever toujours…

Paris legendary village on the hilltop is revisited through a juxtapositon of contemporary photographs and postcards produced a century ago, at a time when it was home to such Bohemian artists as Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and Degas. Historian Pierre Passot, a life-long resident of the Butte, makes Montmartre’s streets come alive with tales from its poetic past.  by Pierre Passot with photos by Jean Villain (Edition Artena) BR

Confessions of a French baker

First praised in Peter Mayle’s best-selling book A Year in Provence, Chez Auzet bakery became a must-see destination for food tourists visiting the village of Cavaillon in the south of France. In Confessions of a French baker, his tenth book, Peter Mayle joins forces with Gerard Auzet, Chez Auzet’s award winning boulanger and allows readers an inside look into the world of bread making.  Part-memoir part recipe book, Mayle weaves the Auzet family’s history and savoir-faire with recipes for classics such as the baguette, boule or bâtard as well as flavored breads (olive, thyme, saffron and even bouillabaisse). Confessions of French baker is more a step-by-step guide filled with Auzet’s tips and industry secrets than the scandalous tell-all promised by the title but it is Mayle’s talent as a raconteur of Provence life that makes it such an enjoyable read. The last chapter on pairing breads with wine is a fun extra. by Peter Mayle and G. Auzet (TimeWarner) Reviewed by Alice Quillet

The Parisian Jazz Chronicles:

In his Beat-like jaunt through the Parisian and European jazz scene, Mike Zwerin is not unlike Jack Kerouac, Mezz Mezzrow, or Hunter S. Thompson – writers to whom, for different reasons, he owes some allegiance. What makes him special is his devotion to the troubled musicians he idolizes, and a passion for music that is blessedly contagious. Many jazz fans will be familiar with Zwerin’s witty, irreverent and undeniably hip music reviews and articles published in the International Herald Tribune that have entertained us for decades. Based in Paris, or, rather, “stuck” there, as he likes to say, Mike Zwerin who’s been a music critic for the Trib since 1979, also had a distinguished career as a trombonist. When he was just 18 years old, he was invited by Miles Davis to play alongside Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and Max Roach in the band that was immortalized as “The Birth of the Cool.” “The Parisian Jazz Chronicles” constitute an engaging personal account of the jazz scene in Paris in the 1980s and 1990s. Zwerin writes lovingly but unsparingly about figures he knew and interviewed – such as Dexter Gordon, Freddy Heineken, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Chet Baker, Wayne Shorter, and Melvin Van Peebles. Against this background, he speaks of further allegiances (split between journalism and music, America and France…), while recounting his own life peopled by personal battles (a solitary struggle for sobriety, a failing marriage, and fatherhood…). 


In Praise of Joy

This is a collection of essays dedicated to Paris’ most written about expat. Over the past 25 years, Jim Haynes has become famous for his Sunday night dinners, a modern-day take on the “salon” concept where artists, writers and intellectuals mingle over a plate of hot food and a glass of wine. Culture has always been central to Haynes’ life and since leaving the United States in the 1950s, he has, among other things, started the Traverse Theatre, participated in creating the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, launched several magazines and been awarded the Whitbread prize. These essays, written by friends and colleagues, capture perfectly his way of life and involvement in the arts as well as his love of people and gift for friendship. In addition to the essays, the book also includes a selection of personal photographs, drawings and letters documenting Haynes unusual existence.  Reviewed by Alice Quillet

Sarah Turnbull “Almost French”

Navigating  the highs and lows of Parisian life. Sarah Turnbull Despite having failed French in her first year at university, Sarah Turnbull moved to this country from Sydney in the mid-’90s after falling in love with a “very French Frenchman.” Her new book, “Almost French,” recounts the charming, true story of a young Australian’s odyssey, “navigating” the highs and lows of Parisian life.

Continue reading “Sarah Turnbull “Almost French””

Sandra Kwock-Silve discusses “Crossings”

 Art, May 1989
While most of France is preparing for the big summer events that will fete  the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, some  85 Hawaiians have traveled halfway around the world to celebrate  the opening of Crossings France-Hawaii.  Art works by 45 contemporary island artists are the focus of the Crossings ’89 exhibit that begins May 22nd at the Mona Bismarck Foundation. Continue reading “Sandra Kwock-Silve discusses “Crossings””