After the liberation of Paris Jean-Paul Clebert wandered through a catalog of odd jobs while living among the city's down-and-outs, gathering material for Paris insolite. First published in the mid-50s it remains an evocative and highly enjoyable account of life on the fringes.
Les Halles, Belly Of Paris
with photographs by Patrice Molinard, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, out now from NYRB Classics
from Paris Vagabond by Jean-Paul Clebert
It is a cliché to say that Les Halles is the belly of Paris, but it is not fully understood that the place really does fill the guts of a whole horde of people, that it is a magnet for all the diurnal and nocturnal bums who come there to glean fragments of nourishment.