By: Shaun Whiteside
Paris Stories gathers classic stories about the City of Light by a wide range of writers across four centuries.
Perhaps no other European city has so captured the imagination of the artistically and romantically minded. Laurence Sterne explores the temptations of the French capital in a teasing study of foreign mores, and Restif de la Bretonne provides an eyewitness account of the horrors and glories of the French Revolution.
Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, and Zola offer fascinating portraits of the growing metropolis’s teeming humanity; the Goncourt brothers chronicle its glittering literary circles; and Huysmans describes a memorable evening at the Folies Bergère. Colette recounts the sensual adventures of a young girl in the decadent Paris of the early twentieth century, while F. Scott Fitzgerald revels in its urban glamour. Jean Rhys’s lost heroines wander from café to café, James Baldwin celebrates the city, and Raymond Queneau gleefully reinvents the language of the street.
In more recent decades, Michel Tournier’s North African immigrant walks a camel along the boulevards and Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano nostalgically maps the famed Parisian arrondissements. Theatrical and elegant, seamy and intellectual, Paris has never lost its alluring power, richly evoked in these compelling and seductive tales.
Published on 1 March 2016.