On ‘Paris Vagabond’ by Luc Sante

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Paris Vagabond, first published in 1952, is one of the most extraordinary books ever written about that city.   It follows in the lineage of great narratives by champion walkers—Louis-Sébastien Mercier’s Le Tableau de Paris (1781–1788), Nicolas-Edme Restif de la Bretonne’s Les Nuits de Paris (1788–1794), Alexandre Privat d’Anglemont’s Paris anecdote (1854), Léon-Paul Fargue’s Le Piéton de Paris (1939), among others—although its focus is more pointed and specific. Had a translation come out in the 1960s or 1970s, heyday of budget travel guides, someone might have been tempted to call it “Paris on Nothing a Day.” It is primarily concerned with all the ways in which people managed to survive in the city on no money at all, a way of life shared by Clébert himself.  Read more.

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