"How many other travelers had been welcomed into French families over the years? People like myself were the vagabonds of the world, distant descendants of the fugitive and dispossessed, the beggar monks, troubadours, scholars, and chronically footloose voyagers for whom generations of more settled householders had baked cakes, hiding a coin inside as a discreet gift to help them on their way. We came to the door at midnight, to be offered food, drink, money, and, if we were fortunate, the love of someone within that family, and the security and comfort of its table and hearth. Not to be cast out; no longer to be a poor man and a stranger - what gift could be greater than that?" from IMMOVEABLE FEAST: A PARIS CHRISTMAS.Photos: Akira Chiba and Nancy Manning.
JOHN BAXTER'S PARIS