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Student life in London


Cultural life in Paris
Claudia Roden Writer
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At the time, there was students everywhere, were making demonstrations all the time. And the demonstrations were after the exams. They were called Monômes. And they were against the police. We were going around singing salauds les flics salauds les flic salauds. It means... I don't know what you would call salauds. It's... I don't know. But it's an insult. And les flics are the police. The cops or something.

But also, I did go to fête de l'Humanité. L'Humanité was the communist newspaper. And I used to go, and we would see Picasso. We would see all, so many people that we admired. Because those who went, weren't communist necessarily. There were big... big feasts with food and singers. There was Juliette Greco. There were the singers of the time. And yes, they had a big dove of peace as a banner on the banner. And I did enjoy that. But also, I did spend really most of my time in the Latin Quarter hanging around. And at the time, because I was in Paris three years. And the first year when my brother was there, he would go and work in a café. Because students were cold in their little rooms. There was no heating. So, they would go to cafés that were heated to work. And where he went, James Baldwin was there. So, we would meet James Baldwin. And I remember just talking to him and we were all around him, of course he was older. And there was this black man, who was an American black man. And we would ask, what are you writing? He was a writer. And he was saying, 'J'écris l'éloge de la folie'. I forgot l'éloge de la folie... the English word for l'éloge de la folie. Actually, he never wrote a book on l'éloge de la folie. But it's only many years later that I knew this was James Baldwin.

And, of course, we also used to come up upon Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir. And I did go to hear Simone de Beauvoir speak. And that was very fascinating. So, yes for me Paris was a very important time. Because it was the time of adolescence, or really growing up when you want to know who you are and what the world is.

Claudia Roden (b. 1936) is an Egyptian-born British cookbook writer and cultural anthropologist of Sephardi/Mizrahi descent. She is best known as the author of Middle Eastern cookbooks including A Book of Middle Eastern Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food.

Listeners: Nelly Wolman

Claudia Roden talking to her granddaughter Nelly Wolman about her life in food.

Tags: Paris, France, Juliette Greco, James Baldwin, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Pablo Picasso, Latin Quarter

Duration: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2022

Date story went live: 04 December 2023