Buy The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino from Amazon

Buy The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino from Barnes & Noble

MEDIAThe Only Street in Paris: a quick tour with Elaine Sciolino

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Part memoir, part travelogue, part love letter to the people who live and work on a magical street in Paris….

Elaine Sciolino, a contributing writer and former Paris bureau chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street. “I can never be sad on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino explains, as she celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history and vibrant lives. “There are espressos to drink, baguettes to sniff, corners to discover, and people to meet.”

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents. You will meet the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore with a passion for philosophy, the woman who repairs eighteenth-century mercury barometers.

On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded, the Jesuits took their first vows, and the ritual of communicating with the dead was codified. It was here that Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted circus acrobats, Émile Zola situated a lesbian dinner club in his novel Nana, and François Truffaut filmed scenes from The 400 Blows

The book is inspired by family, dedicated to Sciolino’s grandfather, a Sicilian immigrant who taught her how to cook, and her father, the owner  of an Italian food store who taught her how to bond with anyone who  walked through the door. Her younger daughter Gabriela took the book’s  32 photos.

The Only Street in Paris will make readers hungry for Paris, for cheese and wine, and for the intimate street life that is in danger of disappearing. But the rues des Martyrs is also a place of hope, of reinvention, and renewal, as new artisans move in and new shops open. “No matter what the day, I never walk alone on the rue des Martyrs,  Sciolino writes. “Somehow, I have made the street mine.”

Let her take you by the hand up the rue des Martyrs for both a journey of  discovery and a lot of fun.


“It’s the people who make Paris Paris. And in her latest book, Sciolino celebrates this idea, bringing her favorite street to life through the stories and histories of its residents and merchants… Anyone who loves Paris’s remaining quirky “villages” will revel in Sciolino’s meticulously reported accounts… Sciolino doesn’t lack for inspiration; she has Paris at her feet.”
— The New York Times

“The narrative takes the form of a ramble through shops, courtyards, cabarets, and time… Sciolino’s sharply observed account serves as a testament to the persistence of old Paris—the city of light, of literature, of life itself.”
The New Yorker

“Sciolino is a keen and tireless observer of this ancient little market street… She has written her love letter with such ingenuous passion it’s hard to not cheer up.”
— The Washington Post

“Sciolino is a storyteller at heart. She loves to listen to and share other people’s stories… This is a lovely and intimate look at a magical corner of Paris.”
— Chicago Tribune

“Countless authors have used a city as their muse… In The Only Street in Paris, Elaine Sciolino explores the rue des Martyrs, a quiet street that cuts through the French capital’s ninth arrondissement… Vivid… a blend of memoir and research, as Sciolino mixes her personal memories of expat life with the stories of artists and luminaries who walked the rue des Martyrs before her.”
— The New Republic

“The former Paris bureau chief of The New York Times shares her love for her adopted working-class neighborhood in this delicious and detailed look at the Rue des Martyrs. Her knack for making friends and her reporter’s instincts keep this tour fascinating.”

“A sublime stroll… From Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” to A.J. Liebling’s “Between Meals” to Janet Flanner’s “Paris Was Yesterday,” accounts of France’s most famous metropolis tend toward the elegiac. So it is with “The Only Street in Paris”… The pleasures here are small ones… The magic of the street is not only its scope—it’s about half a mile—but also its history.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay to Elaine Sciolino is that she has made me eager to rediscover an area I realize now I know all too little. As I make my way up the Rue des Martyrs toward the Sacré Coeur, I will make sure I have The Only Street in Paris in hand as my guide.”
Paris Update

“Something interesting for everyone: If you like food, architecture, history, art or simply human stories, you will not be disappointed… Henry Miller once remarked that “to know Paris, is to know a great deal.” So too could be said about Sciolino’s version of Rue des Martyrs.”
— Christian Science Monitor

“Word pictures… carry the reader through “The Only Street in Paris,” Sciolino’s chronicle of her adopted street and the people who supply its pulse… Intimate conversations give the book its best moments.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune

“She captures a small part of Paris (the rue de Martyrs), a microcosm of the city, and it reveals much about French culture as she describes the pastry shops, fish markets, fromageries, and other businesses that line one of my favorite streets in Paris.”
— David Lebovitz, chef and author of “My Paris Kitchen”, in The Local

“Sciolino (La Seduction), an American-born writer who now lives in Paris, takes readers for a cultural and historical stroll along her adopted city’s venerable rue des Martyrs in this warmhearted, well-researched gem. Readers will appreciate her mixture of the tenacity of journalism and a warm memoir-like quality.”
— Publishers Weekly

“This is a sensuous book in terms of tastes, textures, coulours, feelings […] Sciolino has captured the bouquet of her dream street.”
Daily Telegraph

“Sciolino, who frequently refers to her Sicilian roots, has lived [in Paris] for over a decade but nonetheless retains the excitement of a newcomer… She is a dedicated reporter, determined to uncover something new, and her pleasure in observing the little life of her surroundings is infectious.”
The Spectator

“Sciolino… uses her favorite street to convey a larger truth — that in one of the biggest and most iconic cities in the world, it’s still possible to find warmth and intimacy in the smaller venues of local neighborhoods… As Paris endures the aftermath of yet another terrorist assault, “The Only Street in Paris” bears testimony to the city’s resilience. “Not all has been lost on the rue des Martyrs,” Sciolino writes hopefully, “not yet.”“
The Advocate

“[…] packed with marvellous goings-on. Elaine Sciolino brings this road to vivid life with tales of Degas, Renoir, and Zola, intertwined with colourful anecdotes about the shops and personalities that give the Rue des Martyrs its unique flavour.”
World Travel Guide’s Top 10 holiday reads

“Buying the book is a way of showing solidarity with the people of Paris… [It] celebrates daily life in Paris.”
— EarlyWord

“Elaine Sciolino… has a unique way of bringing the city and all its glory to life and she’ll having you hopping on a bus, train or plane in no time.”
— Amayzine

“A New York Times writer based in France and once the newspaper’s Paris bureau chief, Sciolino knows her city, and it’s charming that her favorite street there isn’t one of the famed grand boulevards but the café and shop–crammed Rue des Martyrs in Pigalle that bracelets the 9th and 18th arrondissements. Sciolino celebrates its history and current, distinctive inhabitants…. Sort of like being there…”
— Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Elaine takes us on a walk down one of the most charming streets in Paris.  I learned fascinating facts through her lively, engaging prose. A must-read for Paris lovers.”
— Clotilde Dusoulier, author of The French Market Cookbook and Edible French

“Newspaper reporter Sciolino moved adjacent to the rue des Martyrs, settling into a delightful apartment above a fireworks merchant. Falling in love with the neighborhood, she made friends with merchants, tradespeople, and residents all along the street, and bit by bit they shared neighborhood history and invited her behind doors to see wonders casual visitors would never discover…. Readers familiar with Sciolino’s dispatches to the New York Times will value her deft reporting and witty prose.”
— Mark Knoblauch, Booklist

“Rue des Martyrs is more than just a street, it’s an enchanting and bustling community in Paris. VERDICT A must for readers who are interested in travel, Paris, or the expatriate life.”
— Melissa Keegan, Library Journal

“The Only Street in Paris is a fascinating romp through history via one special neighborhood in Paris. Elaine Sciolino loves the City of Light, as only an American can, and she infuses her enchanting book with her optimistic, open and always enthusiastic American personality.”
— Elizabeth Stribling, President of The French Heritage Society, “Coups de Coeur Newsletter”

“Elaine Sciolino’s livre The Only Street in Paris is one of the best Paris-centric reads I’ve enjoyed in years. It’s the most truly Parisian book, written in English, to come out in a decade.”
— Girls’ Guide to Paris