Friday, June 08, 2012

Paris For Men

 Rachel Bajada told me about this book, Paris For Men by Thierry Richard. A modern, hedonistic address book for men in Paris full of tips, illustrations and photographs to entice any man to make the most of his time in the 'city of light'. The perfect father's day gift for the man who loves Paris. Short literary texts describe Paris' many small daily pleasures such as smoking a cigar on a sidewalk café terrace, getting his shoes shined, enjoying an espresso in the morning, exploring secondhand bookshops etc.

 This is not the author, Thierry Richard who writes a popular blog, Chroniques du Plaisir. He also works as a food critic for several guides to Paris and as a literary journalist for the Magazine des Livres. I've picked out excerpts to give you a taste of the ambience of this book - very Parisian IMO.
 'Paris doesn't exist.
We all have our own sort of sentimental geography. Our own memory of a Paris enjoyed day by day and dreamt about by night: here in this unique place, we all share our own view of it different places, moods, enthusiasms, and charms. For a change of perspective, all we have to do is take a little sidestep to find new sources of interest in its well-trodden streets. It's this sidestep I encourage you to take following me'.
 'Having breakfast in a luxury hotel.
Some days you'd like to escape from life. To free yourself from the hustle and bustle and just leave. You want to enjoy the change of scenery a spontaneous trip affords, get away from it all. It can be said that luxury hotels were practically made for this. These long immobile steamships, moored to the quays of noisy avenues, await their passengers, offering their white silhouettes to them like landing piers...'
 'Generally the restaurant dining room, of transatlantic dimensions, is empty of people at this unearthly hour. It yearns for a visit, a whisper, for tea and fresh-squeezed orange juice. It dreams of giving itself to the person who leaves his pastry crumbs behind'.
You have to be a little crazy to cycle in Paris. You have to have a derailleur's kamikaze nature, be a handlebar nut. So think about it: terrifying traffic, hoards of pedestrians ignorant of stoplights, foolhardy bikers racing along in the cycling paths, unpredictable weather:...but you have to say cycling in Paris is a rarely found joy.'
 'Walking in Paris without coming across a car. It is possible to go for a jog in Paris without seeing any car at all(or hardly a car), while savoring the soul of the city along the Seine. You have to follow the itinerary below(about 10km):(You'll have to read the book to find out the route)
 'Buying old-fashioned pastries.
Now that pastries are becoming intellectual, at 5 euros a slice, the stars of all things sweet are structuring their cakes like Niemeyer's architectual constructions. Placing one of their 'creations' in your mouth is a matter of acrobatics...When the aces of ganache show their stuff in...their new-look shops take inspiration from the coldness of jewelry stores, it's time to stake a claim for the sweet tooth.(HOORAY) Because that's where the unique pleasure of pastry resides. Finally after all, eating a cake is to bite into memory. To once again find the tastes and coulours of childhood in a polonaise with a slightly soft meringue, And in a madeleine, of course'.
 'Is perfume only for one sex?
Please. If you think fragrances for men exist, you must get that idea out of your head once and for all. A fragrance is a fragrance, full stop...only one thing matters: try the fragrance on your skin, live with it a little, and above all, wear it proudly. In a word, trust your olfactory memory and your own tastes'.
 'Shucking oysters with friends.
To get the most out of them - Empty the first bit of water, as it will be reconstituted by the oyster afterwards. Never leave open shells on a bed of ice, as the cold will neutralize their flavor. It's better to use algae that you've gotten from your oyster shop. For seasoning never use vinegar, which is too powerful. Only lemon...Above all, chew!'
 'Creating a bouquet.
You should always live among flowers. Every week, buy one from the florist below for the price of a pack of smokes, place it in the middle of the table, on a mantle, and live in its fragrance for a few days. It's such a clearly obvious thing, and yet who thinks about it?
 'Flowers make life more beautiful, fill the days with delicate scents and colours.'
'Walking in Paris.
Paris is the city of voluntary disappearances: getting lost there is a vocation. It's a never-ending experience of sheer delight; a priviledge that hasn't been abolished, that's reserved for people who know how to go about it. And it's not that difficult. Every season, every hour of the day and night and every mood offers its narrow streets, forgotten nooks and crannies...Strolling through it is a journey in itself, and its only cost is the time you put into it'.

'Seeing Paris as a painting.
The feeling of deja-vu rises up with the turn of a street, vibrant, unexpected. You stop. The feeling is strong. The walls are tinted with qouache, the skies have the faded look of wash drawings, figures turn to wax. Everything has a smoky pastel look, a look of Impressionist oils on canvas. There is a gleam to the pavement. The geography hovers, becomes flat. It's obvious:Paris is a painting'.
 It's easy to see this is a book not just for men. No matter the title, Paris For Men, is a book anyone can fall into and dream a while. And Richards names names of all his favorite places and his friend's favorites. I've had to leave so much out...but it's best you discover it on your own.
It's like a walk in the parc.


Anonymous said...

very enticing
Thanks for the amuse bouche
Looks a terrific read for anyone

Nikon said...

I love the photos of Paris - and your watercolor - but I don't find much masculinity here!
The guy with the scarf tied just-so, the emphasis on fine food, fragrances, flowers....

Parisbreakfasts said...

That's it.
The lines for men and women are not so clearly drawn.
why shouldn't men enjoy these things too?

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Wonderful! I'm particularly inspired by the flowers.

"....and live in its fragrance for a few days. "

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

Wish I knew the price of a "pack of smokes" so I could guess what the flower budget is in Paris! :-)

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

It does seem that most of the books are geared to Women but Men love Paris too. Sounds like another interesting read. Lovely painting and photos.

Karena said...

A wonderful post Carol I love the thoughts of Paris and all of its treasures for both men and women...

Art by Karena!

Parisbreakfasts said...

toujours the voice of raison cherie

Parisbreakfasts said...

Barbecuing a rib roast
Playing Tennis outdoors
Driving an old car
Sporting cufflinks
Choosing wine
Stumbling into a late-night bar
Buying a shirt

A few of the chapters I didn't touch on..ahem

This is Belgium said...

men and women's interests are usually (I have come to that conclusion after deep reflection , ha ha) rather different but they are able to enjoy the same stuff...
bon weekend

Dan said...

"sentimental geography," what a great phrase!

Emily in Exile said...

I thought I knew most of the books about Paris, but I've never heard of this one, or maybe I saw it and was put off by the title. I'm so excited to read it now! It looks tres charmant.

La Table De Nana said...

I am known to spritz one of my husband's perfumes on me..I agree some are totally switchable..
I love that I would recognize your watercolors anywhere:)

Thank you ~

trump said...

Hi Paris, Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa

Connie said...

What is it about French men? How many American men discuss filling a house with flowers?? Sigh...

Colourliving said...

The book looks interesting and as always, great storytelling.

vicki archer said...

Sounds like the perfect gift Carol... xv

Jojo said...

Oh it can't be just for men! I loved every action described, even smoking a cigar!

Marene Chiesa Bowman said...

Okay, Carol. You've done it to me again. Another book will be purchased today. Please everyone, pray to St. Joseph for my house to sell so that I can be on my way to Paris.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

So nice, this portrait of Parisian men who enjoy the Parisian pleasures...

French for Foodies said...

So glad you liked it!
Thanks for the link too :)
One small thing (not sure if it's a big deal to you though)

Bon weekend not bonne weekend cos it's masculine- bloody french!!
Big kiss

Parisbreakfasts said...

I get that wrong EVERY weekend!
Thanks xxx

Catanea said...

Normally I try to read all comments for fear of duplication (but about this, duplication is okay) or just foolishness; but I am so happy somebody has finally said "don't eat oysters served on crushed ice" (or nearly said that).
I was introduced to fresh oysters on the Pacific Northwest Coast of America, picked directly out of the sea.
Now we have dear friends in Brittany - but they present their oysters soooo cold they cannot be tasted.
Bravo for Monsieur, who knows oysters shouldn't be too cold to taste!

Thierry Richard said...

Many thanks Carol for all those lovely words on my little book. So glad you liked it !