Paris continued to name to Jacqueline after her 1968 marriage to the Greek transport magnate, Aristotle Onassis. (No stranger to the City of Light, he owned an imposing house at 88 Avenue Foch in the 16th arrondissement, and even had his personal most well-liked desk on the restaurant Maxim’s, an Art Nouveau landmark.) At this level, nevertheless, her need for privateness had grown intense. In the following years of their marriage and after Onassis’s demise in 1975, we are able to solely guess at her French life from bread crumb clues — such because the books she printed as an editor at Doubleday in New York. The ultimate one, Paris After the Liberation, by Antony Beevor and Artemis Cooper, included the interval of Jacqueline’s scholar days.
On my ultimate day, I puzzled how Jacqueline would go to at present’s Paris. If, like me, she discovered herself with a free night, how would she spend it? A public lecture, in French, with three younger writers, held at Reid Hall — her outdated scholar stamping grounds — appeared like the kind of occasion she would have loved, with its give attention to modern French literature.
The Grande Salle at Reid Hall was filled with a combined Franco-American crowd after I arrived a couple of minutes earlier than the lecture. I squeezed right into a seat close to the again and listened because the writers Tash Aw, Édouard Louis, and Caroline Nguyen offered a panel dialogue known as “Tout sur nos mères” (All about our moms), debating social class and mobility, cultural identification, sexuality and the affect of household. It was a Friday evening and the viewers was rapt, with many taking notes. I believed again to one thing Claude du Granrut had advised me: “We showed Jacqueline things no one else could have shown her. Above all, we showed her the French way of life, the intellectual life, the artistic life, the charm of France.”
As I strolled dwelling alongside the Boulevard du Montparnasse, the remnants of a brilliant moon glowing in opposition to the sky, the cafes overflowed onto the sidewalk, with patrons outdoors smoking, consuming and filling the gentle evening with their chatter. My thoughts felt alive with the discuss I’d simply heard. “When you are bourgeois, you live life in two places,” Mr. Louis, the French writer, had mentioned. “There’s the life of the body — to eat, drink, have sex. And then there’s the life of the mind. For my family, there was only the life of the body. But don’t we have the right to exist on two levels?”