Eric Hazan, author of the acclaimed The Invention of Paris, leads us by the hand in this walk from Ivry to Saint-Denis, roughly following the meridian that divides Paris into east and west, and passing such familiar landmarks as the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pompidou Centre, the Gare du Nord and Montmartre, as well as little-known alleyways and arcades. Filled with historical anecdotes, geographical observations and literary references, Hazan’s walk guides us through an unknown Paris. He shows us how, through planning and modernisation, the city’s revolutionary past has been erased in order to enforce a reactionary future; but by walking and observation, he shows us how we can regain our knowledge of the radical past of the city of Robespierre, the Commune, Sartre and the May ’68 uprising. And by drawing on his own life story, as surgeon, publisher and social critic, Hazan vividly illustrates a radical life lived in the city of revolution.
“Eric Hazan's elegant, characteristically learned account of his journey through contemporary Paris, written in a tone both intimate and authoritative, is at once a companionably unhurried evocation of the city’s rich, radical past and – at a time when capital is dramatically reorganising its topography – a bracingly urgent intervention in debates about the city's future. As Andre Breton might have observed, there really are no lost steps here.”