Book Review: Les Chats de Paris

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A Paris book to give and to get, reviewed by regular contributor Betty Guernsey:

A truly wonderful find (and one of the best gifts ever!) is “Les Chats de Paris” by Barnaby Conrad III (published by Chronicle Books) – primarily a photo essay, but accompanied by a fascinating text and quotes from cat-lovers Colette, Théophile Gautier, and Charles Baudelaire.

Culled from a vintage archive that includes lesser-known works by Brassai, Robert Doisneau, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertesz, and others, each photo demands scrutiny of the closest kind, for its wit, humor, and illuminating observation of human and feline psychology.

This is a treasure to cherish, if you love Paris.  And/or cats.

Merci beaucoup, Betty!

Have you seen this book? Did you love it?

La Hune Bookstore has Moved


This spring I rented an apartment in the 6th, across the street from the Café de Flore. Wandering the neighborhood, I discovered that the renowned bookstore La Hune is no longer between the literary cafés Flore and Les Deux Magots on the bustling blvd St Germain. It hasn’t gone far, though, it’s around the corner, on the narrow rue de l’Abbaye.

La Hune has long been a literary destination. It’s said that Max Ernst and André Breton spent time there. It’s associated with a powerful creative era, as well. Verlaine, Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Picasso, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Camus commiserated, wrote and held forth at the neighboring cafés.

French literature is one of the specialties at La Hune, along with fine arts and humanities. Two floors offer a great selection of hard and soft cover books—poetry, essays, plays, architecture, design, film, graphic novels, and more. The new space is less crowded than the other; and there is no circular staircase to trigger vertigo.

The new La Hune is a bookstore extraordinaire, a spacious spot to commune with lovers of literature and drink in creative tradition.



Pavillon des Lettres for Lovers of Literature

With 2 books and lots of articles under my belt, I love discovering Paris literary connections. The new literary-themed boutique hotel, Pavillon des Lettres, (a cousin of the Pavillon de la Reine, which I adore) allows you to immerse yourself in the work of a favorite international author.

Twenty-six rooms are named for as many writers, from Hans Christian Anderson to Baudelaire, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Zola. Decor is modern, with ties to the room’s author, such as wall paper bearing text.

Want to commune with more than one scribe? Read a contemporary novel on your room’s iPad, or cozy up to the library fireplace with a book from the hotel collection.

The bar is the place to discuss story arcs with a friend; or mine the city for character ideas as you stroll the nearby Champs-Elysées.

Mind you, ideas don’t come cheap: doubles from about $375.

Where do you enjoy literary connections in Paris?