Though more intellectual than heartfelt, Little Money Street—In search of Gypsies and Their Music in the South of France, gives a lot of rich detail into the history of Perpignan’s Gypsy quarter. Perpignan (the capital of our region in southernmost France) has not only French, Spanish and Catalan influences, but a significant Gypsy culture as well; it’s home to the largest gypsy population in Western Europe. Here’s a clip from the book jacket.
Eberstadt found herself a part of Gypsy life—at cockfights, in storefront churches, at malls, in their homes, and at their rehearsals, discovering lives lived “between biblical laws and strip-mall consumerism”—and always accompanied by the intense and infectious beat of their heart-stopping music. Little Money Street is a spellbinding story of the Gypsies and the little-known landscape in France they have called home for centuries, and of one woman’s extraordinary journey among them.
Eberstadt is one of the rare American writers to cover our region of France. Even guidebooks tend to gloss over this rich cultural and agricultural landscape. It’s worth a read for that alone.