I was struck, and puzzled, by a recent article in the New York Times that announced, “finally, Paris has a coffee scene”. It was the word “finally” that caught my attention. Why “finally”? Paris, after all, is a city whose café culture is legendary. For generations, dreamy youth the world over have been making pilgrimages to the City of Light where — like the hero of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” — they pass languid afternoons on café terraces in search of a romantic connection with Paris’ mythic past.   I once was one of those fresh-faced youths. When I first moved here as a student in the 1980s, most mornings I could be found at the Café de la Mairie in Place Saint-Sulpice gulping down my café crème while hunched over Le Monde or one of the London papers. I don’t

Bloomsday in Paris

Saturday, 16 June 2012 by

The life and works of James Joyce are celebrated every June 16, the date on which the story in his masterpiece Ulysses takes place in the year 1904. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t have at least a fleeting thought for Joyce — he is my neighbour in Paris and I walk by his place almost every day. In the 1930s when Joyce was a famous writer in the final decade of his life, he lived in the comfortably bourgeois 7th arrondissement on rue Edmond-Valentin, not far from the Eiffel Tower. I walk down Joyce’s small street when taking Oscar for his daily stroll to the Champ de Mars. The street possesses a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower which is only two blocks away. It is also just down the road from the Alma bridge crossing the Seine. Thirty