Since 1997 John Lichfield, The Independent’s correspondent in France, has been sending dispatches back to the newspaper in London. More than transient news stories, the popular ‘Our Man in Paris’ series consists of essays on all things French. Sometimes serious, at other times light-hearted, they offer varied vignettes of life in the hexagone and trace the author’s evolving relationship with his adopted country.
Many of Lichfield’s themes concern the mysteries of Paris and its people. Who is responsible for the city’s extraordinary plumbing? How can you drive around the Arc de Triomphe and survive? He also ponders the phenomena that intrigue many foreigners, such as the eloquence of the capital’s beggars and the identity of the intimidating but fast disappearing concierge. Visiting places as different as the Musée d’Orsay and Disneyland, he explores culture high and low as well as the everyday pleasures and problems of living in Paris.