Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Paris: a love story

Mardi 23 janvier Kati Marton Paris - A Love Story
I went to the American Library's Wednesday book nights to hear Kati Marton. But catching author Marton's vivacity and mercurial charm isn't easy with brush or camera still she communicates vibrantly with words on the page. My sister lent me Kati's book, Paris: A Love Story my first night in Paris with the proviso I must read it quickly so she could finish. I stayed up all night enthralled.
Marton's book is a memoire of her early days in Paris first as student from Hungary and then as wife of ABC Peter Jennings and later Richard Holbrooke. She lived on rue des Ecoles. Not being familiar with the 5th arrondissement I decided to walk in her footsteps the next day...
The 5th has a villagie feel like any other university town...
Discovering the bargain bins on the rue St.-Placide, I gradually transformed myself into the facsimile of a chic Parisian girl. Well-cut pants (instead of baggy jeans) and a trench oat became my uniform. And, of course, I learned to tie scarves.
Later Kati talks of her quiet dinners with Holebrooke at this tiny bistro, Le Coupe Chou when he'd return from various missions sorting out nations. I'd eaten there on my second trip to Paris so I had to have a look...
It's on a little pedestrian rue that's a delight to wander...
Kati talks of discovering the cinema, La Desperado in her student days.
This crowd is here for a serious movie experience. It is a world away from my noisy Broadway Cineplex, where we jostle each other with giant tubs of popcorn and industrial-sized cups of soda. There is no food at the Desperado. (The French regard food as much too important to waste on snacks.)
Each morning I line up for bread at the Eric Kayser boulangerie on the rue Monge and exchange. A round of "Bonjours" with the bakers and my neighbors. As I leave with my baguette, the clochard, the homeless man, who has chosen this prime spot in the warm and aromatic entrance of the bakery, recognizes me from my last visit. "Vous etes de returnee Madame!"
This shop was not specifically mentioned yet so many moments of happiness by chance are a part of Paris: a love story..
....you cannot step out of your front door without makeup, well-coiffed hair, jewelry, nice shoes and the required scarf tied just so. There is a performance aspect to every foray onto the Parisian stage. People check each other out, frankly and without embarrassment ... This is part of the city's pleasure. No carelessness, no sloppiness-focus on the task at hand. This soigné air gives the city it's festive quality, an acknowledged net that we are in Paris.
Hemingway said it best...
Kati Marton is the author of Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her other books include The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World, Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History, Wallenberg, The Polk Conspiracy, and A Death in Jerusalem. She is an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent. She lives in New York City.
Another favorite quote:
Peter could not have been more supportive. To encourage me, he had the ABC art department make up a framed sign that said,
"One page at a time, One day at a time. You are a great talent." He hung it on the wall over my desk, where it stayed.

I was touched by Marton's poignant memoire. It made an undiscovered part of Paris even richer for me. I think you'll enjoy Paris:A Love Story too.

37 comments:

  1. Love the feel of this book..you captured the ambiance of the 5th to a T!
    anne

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    Replies
    1. The 5th arrondissement is my new fav...loads of little alley ways to discover...very old Paris in scale as well.

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  2. Kati Marton is an incredibly brave woman, thank you for writing about her new book! And Paris? Lovelier by each post you publish, mercy.

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    1. Auto correct made "mercy" out of "merci" - sorry for missing that. (Note to myself: teach French to that ignoramus!)

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    2. Hahahaha fighting it all the time here :)

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  3. Anonymous5:24 AM

    Loved her book..very heartfelt
    Thanks for the perfect accompanying tour of her turf in the 5th Arron.
    Lucinda

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  4. Anonymous5:51 AM

    I jumped when I saw the photo from today's love story as I know the bazaar on Rue des ecoles so very well. Many years ago in the '60's we drove up to the Hotel St. Jacques (where Charade was filmed) and stayed there and that area became our home base--whenever we were in Paris. I fell in love with the market and the shops of Place Maubert--which are still very dear to me. And when I returned to NYC I set out teaching myself how to create the food of France by cooking everything in Julia Child's cookbook (Yes before Julia did). Thanks for the memories. Lulu

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    1. Wonderful memoire of your own inspired by that picture Lulu!

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  5. She's beautiful..and I can see how magnetic she is..animated..bright..intelligent.
    I loved Peter Jennings..and was saddened when I heard of his passing.
    Your rendition is so perfect..I hope she gets to see.
    I think I would love the 5th too..
    Thank you for the book recommendation.

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    Replies
    1. I know you would love it Monique...very chaleureuse

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  6. You captured the ambiance of the 5th so well! I've always told Jeff..."personally, I'll take the 5th."

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  7. Carol, I've long thought that Kati Marton was a very interesting woman, and am very happy to know about this Paris memoir.

    Thank you also for showing us a bit of the 5th. Perhaps you will be showing us more, bit by bit? It does seem to be a true neighborhood.

    Merci! xo

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  8. She is magnetic as someone has already mentioned.
    I love the neighborhood, too - college neighborhoods generally have energy to spare. I like your shots of the theater and bakery, and the street.....
    Of course Hemingway would say it best :)

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  9. So amazing that French movie theaters have no food....yet the American theater owners claim that the food is what they make money on, not the movies!

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  10. I read that book, too....

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  11. PB~
    I just finished this book....your commentary and photos are so much. Thanks!
    ~Suzanne

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  12. That was supposed to be 'add so much'.....

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  13. Anonymous11:50 AM

    The 5th is a great area to stay in.I love Bazar des Ecoles. Great for Paris market shopping baskets. Every morning all the goods are brought out for display and packed back into the shop again in the evening. It's quite a performance to see. I always wonder does the shopkeeper pack himself in the shop overnight!.

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  14. So amazing!
    The words of Hemingway define so well the feelings of the most of people about Paris.

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  15. What fun to be able to follow in her footsteps and see the actual place she lived in. What a great way of getting to know Paris even better. Sounds like a great book.

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  16. Anonymous12:53 PM

    Love le coupe chou!
    One of my favorite restaurants
    Kathleen

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  17. The area you describe is my favorite of favorites. Next time you go there, do visit the little independent bookshop, Pippa, rue du Sommerard. (near Musée du Cluny)
    What a dream come true for you, to read her book & then to visit the places she wrote of...Thanks for sharing it, Rita

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    Replies
    1. I must go there...thanks for the reminder Rita!

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  18. ...not to mention meeting her in person!

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  19. Sounds like a good read. I always liked her--and your sketches of her are charming, Carol!

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  20. Anonymous2:43 AM

    I'm really enjoying the desgign of your site. It's a ѵery eaѕy on thе eyes whiсh makеs іt much more pleasant door me tо come hеre and visit morе often.
    Kathleen in OR

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    Replies
    1. Merci indeed Kathleen happy you like PB

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  24. Carol, we love the 5th, spent one month every year on rue Maitre Albert. I feel like we know every crack in every sidewalk of that area. I especially like the way Hotel du Commerce just down the block from the Bazar reflects the Paris of those old movies.

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  26. Inspiring reading indeed, Carol. Kati sounds an amazing lady. Must read this, thanks. I wonder if she tells you how to tie a scarf like the French? In 20 years I've never learned. *hanging head in shame with no scarf*

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  27. I haven't heard of Kati Marton before, but of course I'm a sucker for a Paris memoire too. They all have something to add no matter how many you've read before don't they? I love that you did a walk inspired by the book- that's inspired of itself. I'm keeping an eye on the American Library and hoping to get to an event there later in the year.

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  28. I just read the book. For me, it was exceptional in so many ways, the Paris connection, but others too. She is a woman of greatness & depth, & she is a peace maker. Next I'm going to read 1 of her other books, about her Hungarian childhood & relocation to the US. Thanks for reviewing it here, Carol.

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  29. Anonymous6:46 PM

    The place with the baskets - the owner is so friendly and helpful. I stayed on Rue des Ecoles for 10 days last year. Great book, great person.

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