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Salons of Paris, Then and Now

The quality of the eating, without a doubt, could make or break a Parisian salon. Today’s nostalgists may fantasize about the gathering of minds that took place each week at Gertrude Stein’s apartments on the rue de Fleurus near the jardins Luxembourg, but for many participants the buffet table held equal appeal. Stein’s lover Alice B. Toklas paid so much […]

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Sex, Food, and Surrealism

The last several weeks I have been hard at work on writing projects related to my new book Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America, which is coming out in May 2014. I’ve missed having the time to work on this blog and read more about Americans dining and cooking in Paris, but […]

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Legendary Paris Dinner Parties

Scads of American memoirists have rhapsodized about their wonderful meals in Paris’s restaurants, but Janet Flanner, who for decades wrote a fortnightly “Letter from Paris” column for The New Yorker under the pen name Gênet, preferred to recall the dinner parties. It requires a certain longevity spent in a city before invitations to dinner begin pouring in. […]

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Montmartre Is Dead!

“Montmartre is dead!” screamed the headline of a February 1924 obituary in The Living Age, an American weekly review. The famed artists’ redoubt on a hill at the northern border of Paris had succumbed to an influx of American money and values. The penniless French artists and poets who had once gathered round the tables of the Lapin […]

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The Auto-biography of Alice B. Toklas

The charm of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), Gertrude Stein’s tongue-in-cheek “memoir” of her partner, lies for most readers in its intimate portrayal of Parisian artistic life during the first decades of the twentieth century. The informality of the narrative, a conversational slew of anecdotes featuring the most famous names of twentieth-century arts and letters […]

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