Paris Portingale

Talks with Famous People from History, Part Seven: Honoré Balzac

Paris Portingale continues his talks with famous people from history: Paris meets the elusive Honoré Balzac. More specifically, Paris corners him in the loo like you would any celebrity.


When I called on Honoré Balzac, his wife said he wasn’t home, although I could see his feet sticking out from under a table.

I called the next day and his wife again said he wasn’t home. I couldn’t see feet coming out from under the table so he must have been hiding somewhere else.

I eventually found him in a bar in Montparnasse, hiding in the toilet in one of the cubicles. He was crouching on the bowl so I couldn’t see his feet. He wouldn’t come out so I talked to him through the door.

Me: “Mr. Balzac?”

No answer.

Me: “Mr. Balzac.”

Balzac: “He’s not here.”

Me: “Look, I just want to ask you a couple of questions.”

No response.

Me: “I know you’re in there, Mr. Balzac.”

Balzac: “No, I’m not. Go away.”

Me: “Why are you being like this, Mr. Balzac?”

I wait for fifteen minutes, then there’s a sigh and the toilet flushes and Mr. Balzac comes out.

Me: “Mr. Balzac?”

Balzac: “Possibly. What do you want?”

Me: “I just want to have a chat.”

Balzac: “About what?”

Me: “Your writing, your life. What are you working on at the moment?”

Balzac: “What’s that there behind you?”

I turn to look and when I look back he’s gone. I never did find him again.

Honoré Balzac, one of the most elusive writers history has ever produced.



Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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