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The Only Street in Paris ❤️ Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino 📚 a book review

March 27, 2017

I have always loved living in a street or a community where everyone knows everyone else. I think that by living in a close knit community you always feel part of a ‘family’ and you will never be alone.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy reading books set in a community, a small village or even a famous street in a big city.

The Book –


Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. 

“I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino explains, as she celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history and vibrant lives. 

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. 

On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows. It was here that Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted circus acrobats, Emile Zola situated a lesbian dinner club in his novel Nana, and Fran ois Truffaut filmed scenes from The 400 Blows. 

Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents—the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, 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—bringing Paris alive in all of its unique majesty. 

The Only Street in Paris will make readers hungry for Paris, for cheese and wine, and for the kind of street life that is all too quickly disappearing.

Verdict –

I just couldn’t put this book down. The author writes so naturally the book is easy to read. 

The Rue des Martyrs is full of the most wonderful characters; shop keepers, residents and so on, it is infact a whole village down one long street in the busiest part of Paris.

It is almost like a living guide book of Paris, but with information only someone residing in the beautiful apartments lining the Rue des Martyrs would know. For example did you know, “…that some of the front doors along the street – most open only with a digital code – hide exquisite private gardens.” A fact I did not know. This book is filled with the most wonderful facts and details.

I am off to Paris in May and cannot wait to go and see the infamous rue for myself.

A perfect read to enjoy with a nice glass of vin rouge xxx

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5 Comments
  1. aysin71 permalink

    Ahh a vision of Paris! What a lovely way to start the week!
    … but weren’t you coming here in May? 🙂

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