Another book-sneaking-onto-my list- experience: my stepmother sent me Elaine Sciolino’s The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs to get me ready for my big trip (gasp! I’m leaving tomorrow!), and I had to read it. This is such an enjoyable read! Sciolino was the New York Times Paris bureau chief for several years and ended up never leaving even after her three-year stint was over. She celebrates French contemporary culture, a blend of the old and the new balancing in a typically Gallic way, and she views Parisian life with the eye of an appreciative outsider. She writes about the real people who live and work on the Rue des Martyrs and also the history of Paris–I had no idea that Sacré Coeur dates back only to the last part of the 19th century. Actually there’s a lot I don’t know since I’ve never been to Paris before, and this book has really whetted my appetite quite literally.
I’d recommend this book if you will be traveling to Paris any time soon or even if you are not. Here’s an easy way to appreciate a different culture from the safety of your armchair. But of course her book would be a great guide to experiencing a true slice of Parisian life. I’m looking forward to finding many of the places Sciolio writes about since the Airbnb I’ll be staying at is only a half-mile from the Rue des Martyrs–as long as I recover from the jet lag in time!