Paris to The Moon by Adam Gopnik
Not long after we moved to Paris, in the fall of 1995, my wife, Martha, and I saw, in the window of a shop on the rue Saint-Sulpice, a nineteenth-century engraving, done in the manner, though I'm now inclined to think not from the hand, of Daumier. It shows a train on its way from the Right Bank of Paris to the moon. The train has a steam locomotive and six cars, and it is chugging up a pretty steep track. The track is supported on two high, slender spires that seem to be anchored somewhere in the Fifth Arrondissment (you can see the Pantheon in silhouette nearby), and then the track just foes right up and touches the full moon up in the clouds. I suppose the two pillars are stronger that they look. The train is departing at twilight - presumably it's an overnight trip - and among the crowd on the ground below, only a couple of top-hatted bourgeois watch the lunar express go on its way with any interest, much less wonder. Everybody else in the crowd of thirteen or so people on the platform, mostly moms and dads and kids, are running and making conversation and comforting children and buying tickets for the next trip and doing all the things people still do on station platforms in Paris. The device on the ticket window reads: "A Railroad: From Paris to the Moon."
I'm still only a few pages in but I'm loving his style, and all the information about Paris! Although, being already 15 years since this was published, it's feeling a little dated. And, get this: I tried googling the image he's describing in this passage because there is a lovely sketch of it in the book, and with the words 'Paris' and 'Moon' guess whose derriere showed up? *gah* not exactly what I had in mind.