One of the joys of writing a novel about historical Paris is having to do research into historical Paris. I’m discovering that fin-de-siecle Paris is even more interesting and bizarre than I’d imagined. The air seemed to be filled with esoteric ideas, nouveau musique and the aroma of exotic beverages. I had no idea, for example, that Debussy was a Rosicrucian.

The pictures today are from a hotel we stayed in last year in Paris. Lovingly rendered by Ms Pichette, they show the small bar in the lobby with the painting behind it and an absinthe dispensing device on the counter. One could almost hear the chatter of insurrection and decadence, of art and aesthetics, coming from the corner…

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