SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs

Norton. Nov. 2015. 256p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780393242379. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393242386. TRAV
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OrangeReviewStarRue des Martyrs is more than just a street, it's an enchanting and bustling community in Paris. At just over half a mile long, spanning between the Ninth and 18th arrondissements, this street is filled with four- and five-story buildings of varying architectural designs, with picturesque wrought-iron balconies and shuttered windows and small businesses at street level. As the author (La Seduction), a former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, explores her neighborhood, she describes its fascinating history, from ancient churches and the saints and martyrs the street may be named after to the 19th-century Cirque Medrano. The quaint cafés and shops remain locally owned, per Paris law, and their merchants and artisans are the leading characters of the book—and of the street. There's Roger Henri, who pushes a cart with a bell offering his knife-sharpening services; Michou, the owner and creator of the transvestite cabaret at No. 80; and Laurence Gillery, the woman who restores antique barometers, the last of her kind. The atmosphere on rue des Martyrs is refreshing and enticing in our modern world.
VERDICT A must for readers who are interested in travel, Paris, or the expatriate life. [See Prepub Alert, 5/11/15.]

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