The Only Street in Paris

TheOnlyStreetinParisThe Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs
Elaine Sciolino
W. W. Norton & Company (November 2, 2015), 320 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon Hardcover $19.90

The Only Street in Paris is a delightful diversion. In the wake of the terrorist attacks there, this book portrays the Paris we like to think about.

Elaine Sciolino is a journalist living in Paris. She rented a house a block over from the famous Rue des Martyrs. It is a street filled with restaurants, bars, bakeries, meat markets, bookstores, and other locally-owned businesses. Sciolino writes about her interactions with the owners of those shops. She writes about how one location might be, for example, a bakery for over a hundred years, simply changing owners. She also writes about the history of the street. She describes the historic church Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, badly in need of repair. She tells us how she took Arianna Huffington shopping in a vintage clothing store, the only essay in the book in which she does anything resembling name dropping.

Sciolino does a marvelous job of transporting the reader into the world of the Rue des Martyrs. She made me want to visit the street with her as my tour guide. There are a number of photos in the book, and it felt nothing like the 320 pages it is listed as in the print edition. I finished The Only Street in Paris wishing there was more.

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