Paris

Gabriel Matzneff: the paedophile who hid in plain sight

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Until this book was published, Gabriel Matzneff was a respectable man. The French author may have written about his affairs…

In search of Noëlle: Invisible Ink, by Patrick Modiano, reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

At some point in his twilit, enigmatic novels of vanished lives and buried memories, Patrick Modiano likes to jolt his…

Beauty and the beast: Jane Birkin’s love affair with Serge Gainsbourg

22 August 2020 9:00 am

I met Jane Birkin’s parents, who flit across these pages. Her mother, Judy Campbell, was an actress in Noël Coward…

Paris’s banlieues are burning once again

22 April 2020 6:24 pm

One of the persistent misconceptions of the riots that swept through France in the autumn of 2005 is that they…

The cult of Sappho in interwar Paris

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Philip Hensher describes how Paris became a magnet for literary-minded lesbians in the early 20th century – where they soon caused quite a stir

Has Notre-Dame ever been a symbol of unity for the French?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

From the kitchen of her apartment on the Quai de la Tournelle in Paris, the journalist and broadcaster Agnès Poirier…

Michael Moorcock: I feel I’ve been cheated by the British state

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Back to Texas to prepare for guests arriving for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once again we left our Paris home not…

The carnage inside Charlie Hebdo: an eyewitness’s account of the attack

23 November 2019 9:00 am

It is almost five years since two trained jihadists went into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed…

The poetry of sewers

28 September 2019 9:00 am

‘Welcome,’ says our guide Stuart Bellehewe, with an imperious sweep of his arm, ‘to the cathedral of shit.’ Before us…

The serious games of the Oulipians

27 April 2019 9:00 am

Have you heard of the Oulipo? The long-running Parisian workshop for experimental writing? Even if you haven’t, you might have…

The thrilling first part of Dmitri Tcherniakov's new production of Berlioz's Les Troyens for Opéra Bastille. Photo: Vincent Pontet / Opéra National de Paris

Dau is not just a pretentious fraud – it’s rather disgusting

16 February 2019 9:00 am

The best booers, in my experience, are the Germans. There’s real purpose and thickness to their vocals. Italians hiss. The…

A document of a mass human experiment that is moving, revolting, violent and extraordinarily pornographic

Dau is the strangest and most unsettling piece of art to come out of Russia in years

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Dau is not so much a film as a document of a mass human experiment. The result is dark, brilliant…

Let them buy Teslas! How Macron became the enemy of the French

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Emmanuel Macron is supposed to be the cleverest man in France but he has painted himself so completely into a…

The gilets jaunes have become a symbol of resistance worn with pride by the downtrodden

8 December 2018 9:00 am

I met a friend for lunch in Paris last Sunday. He and his wife had come up from the countryside…

Going to the wall: ‘Jane Avril’, 1899, by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Lautrec often made the stars in his posters look appalling – but they kept coming back

20 October 2018 9:00 am

You don’t need to be much of a psychologist to understand the trajectory of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Born to aristocratic…

Love is blind, but lust is not; William Boyd’s 15th novel reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

William Boyd’s 15th novel begins well enough. In 1894 Edinburgh, a 24-year-old piano tuner is promoted to the Paris branch…

To reflect on the brilliance of your writing, you had better be sure of its brilliance

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Nominative determinism is the term for that pleasing accord you occasionally find between name and profession: the immigration minister named…

Fantastic beasts and where to find them: ‘Wild Woman with Unicorn’, 1500–10

A brief history of unicorns

22 September 2018 9:00 am

After the England football team beat Tunisia at this summer’s World Cup, they celebrated with a swimming-pool race on inflatable…

The view from Paris: ‘Why are Brexiteers so stupid?’

28 July 2018 9:00 am

‘Problème est masculin; solution est féminine,’ says Brigitte, the adored French teacher at the British embassy in Paris. Good way…

‘The Battle of the Pyramids’, 1798–9, by François-Louis-Joseph Watteau

The best and most extensive exhibition on Napoleon in three decades

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris has a new exhibition that I believe to be the best…

Unplanned mafioso Naples is ‘thrilling’, according to Owen Hatherley. Credit: Getty Images

Are European cities really so much better than our own?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Early on in his introduction of nearly 60 pages, Owen Hatherley writes: ‘I find the Britain promised by Brexiters quite…

Nancy Mitford in Paris (Hulton Deutsch/Getty)

Diary of a revolution: Paris 1968, through the eyes of Nancy Mitford

5 May 2018 9:00 am

In May 1968, civil unrest, bordering on revolution, exploded on to the streets of Paris. Student protesters and striking workers…

‘Little Girl in a Blue Armchair’, 1878, by Mary Cassatt

No one can beat Mary Cassatt at painting mothers and children

5 May 2018 9:00 am

A lady licking an envelope. An intimate thing. It might be only the bill from the coal-man she’s paying, but…

French Phidias: Auguste Rodin in his workshop in Meudon, c.1910

How Rodin made a Parthenon above Paris

28 April 2018 9:00 am

‘My Acropolis,’ Auguste Rodin called his house at Meudon. Here, the sculptor made a Parthenon above Paris. Surrounded by statues…

The Charlie Hebdo attacks form a backdrop to a complicated love triangle in C.K. Stead’s latest novel

17 February 2018 9:00 am

There has been much debate recently about what exactly constitutes ‘literary’ fiction. If the term means beguiling, gorgeously crafted novels…