Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
Photos et Vidéo de Paris - Deux
"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
- Vincent Van Gogh

Morning took us by the street Anna always stayed on as a girl. And then, naturellement, for coffee, on the Boulevard Saint Germain.

    Our Accidental Tour of Points of Significant Touristical Interest accidentally took us by Les Invalides (which I'm actually not sure I'd ever seen).

Okay, we had one specific destination in mind – okay, we had two, also the Musée Picasso, which, honestly, in my view, was pretty piss-poor compared to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona – and that was the Musée d'Orsay.

    It's built in an old train station, where soldiers returned from the Western Front in WWI. Its Grand Hall is a great glory. The heart of the museum, though, is probably the 5th floor galleries, where an embarrassment of Monets, Renoirs, Degas, van Goughs, and other pre- post- and regular old impressionists stretches for room after room (after room).

I should confess I've gotten pretty, well, post-impressionist. I studied them at an early age, and still have some favourites, but as I've gotten more into, well, painting, my taste has gone back in time. (Hanging out in the National Gallery in London has helped this process.) I've even turned into a bit of a snob, saying things like, "Monet is a great starter artist. But move on." On the other hand, I'm still a fiend for van Gough – when he's on form – and I've sort of fallen back in love with Renoir lately, especially after discovering his breathtaking La Loge (hidden away in the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House in London).

The riverside rooftop terrace was fab, too.

And not too shabby on the horse balls.

    Pretty hard to beat sorbet in the Jardin des Tuileries. Shortly after, we were pleased to stumble upon (quelle chance!) Shakespeare and Co., supposedly the best English-language bookstore in Paris. Sadly, after a long and earnest look around, Anna decided the new book section was like Waterstones but with the prices massively marked up into euros; and I didn't find a single second-hand volume that wanted me to take it home.

    But, after that – oh, my. We wandered away from the river into the Latin Quarter, thinking drinks before dinner. And – oh, what's that? – looks like another bookstore, with a Canadian flag, and piles of volumes piled out front. The Abbey Bookshop . . . hell, let's take a look. And, oh my, where even to begin?

The Best Bookstore in … The Universe?

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We ended up in a long chat with the owner – including about how and why Shakespeare & Co. has gone to hell. One bit that sticks in the mind went something along the lines of this:

Me: At the risk of sounding as if I'm flattering you . . . I'm trying to think of a better bookstore.
Him: Strand [in NYC], perhaps?
Me: No, I don't think so. It's not so much the superior clutter here, the atmosphere, the charm. It's more to do with the absurd density of great stuff. I've been reading spines here for 20 minutes – and I'm so knocked out by the unrelenting quality, that I've been sort of too stunned to pick anything.
Him: Yes, I've gotten that from a few other customers. Some of my regulars think there should be more filler . . . just for a little room to breathe . . .
Me: <gurgle>

And . . . The Basement!

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When I finally caught my breath enough to think what I really needed – I could not leave this place empty-handed – I asked the gentleman if I could move the ladder to climb up to the Somerset Maugham. "Well worth the climb," was his response. So, just for the record, that's The Abbey Bookshop, 29 rue de la Parcheminerie.

Drinks in the Latin Quarter, dinner at a cosy, funky upstairs Italian, cab ride home.

Tomorrow (or, next, at any rate): Jews, Jefferson – and More (And Bigger!) Horse Balls!

  architecture     art     books     photography     somerset maugham     travel     video     anna  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
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