Literature + Roundtable
The Only Street in Paris by Elaine Sciolino
Tuesday, March 7
Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of The New York Times, invites us on a tour of the rue where she lives: a bustling and character-filled neighborhood nestled near the Basilique du Sacre Coeur and the city’s historic Montmartre arts district. “I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino explains, as she celebrates her community’s rich history and vibrant street life.
While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, Paris’ ancient rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. Sciolino describes the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its sometimes eccentric residents—the Tunisian greengrocer, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore, the woman who repairs eighteenth-century mercury barometers. But the book’s real and heart-warming revelation is that “in one of the biggest and most iconic cities in the world, it’s still possible to find warmth and intimacy in the smaller venues of local neighborhoods” (The Advocate). The Only Street in Paris will make readers nostalgic for Paris, for cheese and wine, and for the kind of urban “village life” that, elsewhere, is quickly disappearing.
“Sciolino’s sharply observed account serves as a testament to . . . Paris— the city of light, of literature, of life itself.” —The New Yorker