- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393353400
- ISBN-13: 978-0393353402
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs Paperback – November 1, 2016
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“Anyone who loves Paris’s remaining quirky ‘villages’ will revel in Sciolino’s meticulously reported accounts. . . .Sciolino doesn’t lack for inspiration; she has Paris at her feet.” (New York Times)
“The narrative takes the form of a ramble through shops, courtyards, cabarets, and time. . . . Sciolino’s sharply observed account serves as a testament to the persistence of old Paris―the city of light, of literature, of life itself.” (The New Yorker)
“Sciolino is a keen and tireless observer of this ancient little market street. . . . She has written her love letter with such ingenuous passion it’s hard not to cheer up.” (Washington Post)
“A sublime stroll. . . . The magic of the street is not only its scope―it’s about half a mile―but also its history.” (Wall Street Journal)
“The former Paris bureau chief of the New York Times shares her love for her adopted working-class neighborhood in this delicious and detailed look at the rue des Martyrs. Her knack for making friends and her reporter’s instincts keep this tour fascinating.” (BBC)
“Countless authors have used a city as their muse. . . . A blend of memoir and research, as Sciolino mixes her personal memories of expat life with the stories of artists and luminaries who walked rue des Martyrs before her.” (New Republic)
“Something interesting for everyone: If you like food, architecture, history, art or simply human stories, you will not be disappointed.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“Sciolino is a storyteller at heart. She loves to listen to and share other people’s stories. . . . This is a lovely and intimate look at a magical corner of Paris.” (Chicago Tribune)
About the Author
Elaine Sciolino is a writer for the New York Times and a former New York Times Paris bureau chief, based in France since 2002. She is the author of La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran, and The Outlaw State: Saddam Hussein’s Quest for Power and the Gulf Crisis. In 2010, she was decorated as a chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her "special contribution" to the friendship between France and the United States. She has worked for Newsweek in New York, Chicago, Paris, and Rome. She held a number of posts at the New York Times, including United Nations' bureau chief, Central Intelligence Agency correspondent, and chief diplomatic correspondent.
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Top Customer Reviews
If recent reporting from Paris has produced despair, this book is a perfect antidote. To be sure, at the upper end of the Rue des Martyrs, where the Sacre Coeur Basilica is located, we indeed encounter a neighborhood that has lost its soul to floods of tourists. Further, in the "banlieu" suburbs away from the city center, many emigres live in disadvantaged circumstances that leave them poorly integrated into French society. But not so at the lower, traditional end of the street on which Sciolino concentrates, for here a strong sense of mutual support and respect binds together an admirably diverse cast of characters. And if you mistakenly believe that the French are reserved individuals, just read the amusing chapter on how to rid one's apartment of an errant mouse. Every neighbor and local merchant appealed to rushes to offer advice, none of it consistent but nearly all involving very specific types of cheese. All told, Sciolino's adventures are a wonderful advertisement for both getting to know the byways and residents of Paris and investing in French-language studies.
Elaine Sciolino's book, The Only Street in Paris, has a lot going for it -- Sciolino was the Paris Bureau Chief for The New York Times, she's lived in Paris for over a decade, she and her American husband have raised two American daughters in Paris. She also wrote a fascinating book about French society called La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life.
In The Only Street in Paris, Sciolino limits herself to writing about a single street in the 9th arrondissement. After living in a different Paris neighborhood, Sciolino and her husband downsized and relocated after their daughters left for university. Sciolino knew exactly where she wanted to live -- the Rue des Martyrs, in Pigalle near Montmartre.
Sciolino explores the history, the lives past and present, the architecture, the businesses, and the atmosphere of her adopted Rue. You can dip into these short chapters in any order. There's no story here, it isn't like A Year in Provence or Under the Tuscan Sun in which the author is trying to be accepted in her new neighborhood or to find love or to find herself.
Sciolino is, judging by her own telling of the events, not shy at all about getting to know new people, or asking questions or favors, or offering to do favors or indulging in a bit of matchmaking here and there. It's no wonder she's a successful journalist.
The Only Street in Paris is a pleasant stroll through a well-to-do neighborhood and will undoubtedly increase the already sizable tourist population of the Rue des Martyrs. It's already on my short list for places to live as soon as I win the lottery.
(Thanks to Edelweiss and W.W. Norton for a digital review copy.)