THE ONLY STREET IN PARIS. Life on the Rue des Martyrs. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2015)

Henry Miller said that to know Paris is to know a great deal. In that case to know a particular Parisian rue intimately must be to know a great deal more. I would suggest it is to know what is essential for a good life.

The Rue des Martyrs is hands down my favourite rue in Paris. I have walked it, enjoyed its nuances countless times. So I was impatient to read this book. To once again make that pilgrimage uphill towards Sacre Coeur. Even if it was from my armchair on the other side of the world.

Here is a love letter to the real people who make this whimsical rue a special village. We are introduced one by one to the characters that the author has made part of her everyday life. Her stories brings them fully alive as the diverse individuals she knows and loves. But in relating her tales she also manages to capture something that we recognise as quintessentially Parisian. Who has not dreamt of finding this colourful and authentic Paris for themselves.

The author tells us ‘I can never be sad on the Rue des Martyrs’. I know what she means. If I was a little melancholic I would instinctively head here. Wind my way slowly towards the most petit of stores ‘La O’bject de Parle’. Here is a cabinet of curiosities like nowhere else. I always found a small fragment of something that soothed my spirits. Indeed was able to speak to me. Providing inspiration for another day of writing or art making in Paris. Everything you need is found on a street like this.

Read this book. Be inspired to find an apartment in this area. Stay for as long as you dare.

This is the Paris you seek.

Bernadette ♥


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