We here at THE BATON are avid collectors of vintage books. My favorite are vintage travel guides. Not limited at all to your standard Blue Guide or Fodor’s, titles in my growing collection include Paris is a Woman’s Town(1929) and Where Paris Dines (1929). I have found these books to be not only relevant historical documents of a city and its culture at the very moment they were written and published — a true representation of the zeitgeist — but also just really great reads.
In Where Paris Dines, Julian Street wittily described Le Select in Montparnasse as follows: “Of the four large cafés on the block this one is perhaps the sanest, though I did encounter there one evening an astrologer girl from Nebraska who was busy being a bohemian. Those things are, however, bound to happen, and I know, on the other hand, that the Select has among its patrons some painters who can really paint. Like its neighbors, this café has an American bar and serves cold suppers, Welsh rarebit, cheese fondue and special dishes. It is a pleasant place, not so exciting as the jazzed-up Coupole, across the way, but with better service and a more friendly air. An advertisement tells me it is open all night. I suppose the others are, too, but I never sat up to find out.” LOVE IT.