Take a walk on the wild side of Belle Epoque Paris with this biography of Emile-Louise Delabigne, known as countess Valtesse de la Bigne (1848-1910). who was a legendary French courtesan and demi-modaine. Her lovers included countless painters, writers and politicians, while her affairs with women caused a scandal in turn-of-the-century Paris. She was painted by Édouard Manet and inspired Émile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel “Nana.” Continue reading “The Mistress of Paris”
The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is world famous for its connection with artists, writers and intellectuals… and now shopping. For many years this part of Paris has been a stronghold of the “sans culottes,” a refuge to artists and a place for bohemians. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. The writer Oscar Wilde spent his last days in the quarter, at the small, run-down hotel called the Hotel d’Alsace at 13 rue des Beaux‑Arts. The legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts—attended by such artists as Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat—is here. And the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres is where students battled the police in May 1968. Continue reading “John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres”
Bart Plantenga describes his new book “Paris Scratch” as “not quite poems, not quite journal entries… meta-factual snapshots of everyday Paris life. With 365 entries or “snaps” this book is like a year of postcards sent from the bohemian Paris of twenty-five years ago. Indeed back in the day (1990 to be exact) Plantenga wrote some amazing stories for the print version of Parisvoice par exemple Continue reading “Paris Scratch”
Much of Paris’ romantic patina comes from tales told by writers who have lived here. Balzac in Passy, Proust in the Monceau plain, Colette in the Palais-Royal, Hemingway in Montparnasse, Sartre and Beauvoir in Saint-Germain-des-Prés… A new bilingual book “Paris by it’s Writers,” written by Francoise Besse (published by Parisgramme) describes the lives of twenty Paris legendary authors and how the city is woven into their novels. Continue reading “Paris by it’s Writers”
Meet Craig Carlson (October 27, 10am) the man behind the Paris American diner “Breakfast In America” at Shakespeare and Co. (October 27, 10am) when he talks about his new memoir “Pancakes in Paris.” The book is the story of Craig tackling what seemed like the impossible, from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for “exotic” American ingredients… and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast In America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious as the classic breakfast that tops its menu. Continue reading “Pancakes in Paris”
“A Guide to Mystical France, ” is a magical mystery tour of the sacred sites of France from prehistoric cave paintings to majestic Gothic cathedrals to the secrets of the Knights Templar. This well-researched thoughtful book, written by British-born writer-photographer Nick Inman (who now lives in southwest France) is for people who have probably already seen the Mona Lisa and Eiffel Tower and want to have a deeper, more meaningful experience of France. Continue reading “Mystical France”
A new bilingual book “Paris Impressionniste” illustrated with 100 paintings brings together some of the images of this mythical city many of us carry in our head, such as Camille Pisarro’s “Le Pont Royal” or Caillebotte’s “Rue de Paris, temps de pluie,” or Edouard Manet’s legendary “un bar aux Folies Bergere” When Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca we’ll always have Paris. he wasn’t talking about the Paris of surly bureaucrats, strikes and traffic jams, but the Paris of Manet’s lovers in “Chez le pere Lathuille”… the romantic Paris.
Monet painted smoke clouding the Gare Saint-Lazare, Renoir captured the Pont Neuf’s reflections in the Seine, Pissarro portrayed Avenue de l’Opéra from his hotel room, Manet immortalized waitresses in a café at Pigalle… Between its river and its tall skies, the French capital lacked neither nature nor textures for artists intent on capturing the magic of light in an urban setting. Plus the city with its street life, workers, cafes and entertainment was an extremely happening fin de siecle place to paint. Continue reading “Paris Impressions”
Discovering Paris’ streets and neighborhoods is one of the pleasures of living here. A new book by veteran expat Elaine Sciolino is a delightful and beguiling look at life on a Rue de Martyrs, located in Paris’ charming 9th arrondissement. Continue reading “The only Street in Paris…”
Many guides tout themselves as “insiders” but this one with the best addresses in Paris is the real thing. “Paris C’est Chic” is produced by the “Do It In Paris” website team and published as a printed guide by Parigramme, which specializes in all things Parisian. Organized by neighborhoods with a focus on femme fashion, shopping, fooding and cool cafés, this is guide useful for Parisians themselves. Continue reading “Paris C’est Chic”
Strolling Paris’ boulevards and streets is part of the city’s mythology. The French word for stroller “flaneur” is colored with literary associations suggesting a man of leisure, urban explorer and connoisseur of the street… a philosophy and way of life.
Indeed one of the pleasures of living in Paris is strolling its streets and discovering hidden treasures. What makes Paris one of the most beautiful cities of the world are the city’s remarkable building facades. Now a new illustrated guide (in French) “Paris 100 Facades Remarquables” by Claude Mignot is a stroller’s guide to discovering some of the city’s most amazing architecture. Continue reading “Remarkable Parisian Facades”
Any guidebook can tell you what to see and do in Paris during the day: museums and monuments, cathedrals and croissants—the checklist of Parisian clichés is enough to keep any tourist busy until closing time. But what about when darkness falls on the City of Light? Continue reading “John Baxter’s Nights in Paris”