The first time I saw
My pleasure in
In 1966, on my own for six months in France, I took a small apartment on the rue de Bourgogne in the Invalides. I began the day by working for two hours on a small novel about Vietnam. Then, more often than not, starting in the late afternoon, I would walk the city. The walks became a serendipiter's delight: for I was experimenting at all times. I did not just use the guides, Michelin and others, in my search for restaurants, most particularly bistros, but I put myself at the mercy of the city itself, going into neighborhood places, drawn as much as anything else by instinct, and almost always handsomely rewarded. I came gradually to love Paris and, I hope, to understand it as well, and to see it for what it was, a city occasionally oblivious to the present, the best of a living past skilfully midwifed into an uneasy accommodation with the 20th century. With that the deed was done. I have loved going back ever since and, above all, stumbling into neighborhoods and watching the special quality of the light as it hits familiar places at different times of the day.
And so I have finally come to understand that while I am hopelessly American, accustomed to (and dependent on) the relentless pressures and fierce energies of the New World, that there are moments when I want to escape to a different place with a beauty and a beat of its own. And when that happens, when I want to disappear from who I am, and where I live, the place I think of is Paris."
DAVID HALBERSTAM was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 16 books, including The Amateurs, The Summer of '49, The Fifties, and Playing for Keeps.
Assez de chauvinisme me direz-vous? Paris, Paris, encore Paris...Le prochain post, c'est promis, sera sur un autre sujet.