You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the baker shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. When you were skipping meals at a time when you had given up journalism and were writing nothing that anyone in America would buy, explaining at home that you were lunching out with someone, the best place to do it was the Luxembourg gardens where you saw and smelled nothing to eat all the way from the Place de l'Observatoire to the rue de Vaugirard.
...I certainly have memories of it, and things I crave when I'm away, but, justement , I keep coming back to Paris because I can't replicate the feelings I have when we're here.
I can't tell you how relieved I was when Steinberger's recent book, "Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France" (Bloomsbury USA), came across my desk not long after we got back from Paris. ... Maybe we were just old and out of it. ad_icon Even if all those things are a little bit true, reading Steinberger, a wine columnist for Slate magazine (which is owned by the Washington Post Co.) and admitted "food-loving Francophile," reassured me.
... We'll be in Paris on Monday and we have plenty of old standards to go to (some not as good as they used to be), but I'm glad that we don't have to try to find places to eat "au pif."
If you are following France and Paris, here are a few places I like to watch to get a feeling for the culture and social movements: Ô-Chateau, a Paris wine-tasting company (with champagne cruises on the Seine!) ... We've always loved following Kristin Espinasses continuing travails as she inserts herself deeper and deeper into provincial French life in her French-word-a-day blog . Using examples from her life with her husband and two kids, she tells funny and often poignant stories of her life in France, including things she loves, hates and is just plain confused by.
If you happen to be in France this year for the 14th, or just have an interest in revolutions, here's a good "revolutionary" walking tour that starts in our favorite neighborhood and ends at the Madeleine. ... Start your tour in Rue St André-des-Arts, which remains as narrow and dense as it was at the time of the Revolution This year, as you will have noticed, is the 40th anniversary of 1968. ... So let us ignore 1968 and turn instead to the real French Revolution, the one of 1789: the one that overthrew an absolute monarchy, turned France upside down and set the template for revolutions (and totalitarianism) to come.
I don't know if the stories here are really that secret, but are a little more arcane then the broad sweep of history you get in "Seven Ages."... "The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War" (Graham Robb) - Less a book about Paris than about France, you mihgt still guess who the main star is.