I have decided to read this book because of my wife s enthusiastic review, as follows I have lived in the South of France each summer for the past 7 years, which also includes at least one month in Paris each year I read about 6 to 7 books each year about Paris, my favorite city David Downie s book, Paris, Paris Journey into the City of Light is one of the best I have ever read What a fun book to read Downie takes some obscure things, i.e the poles on the sidewalks to keep cars from parking there, and makes them interesting His book has opened my eyes to seeas I walk around Paris Paris people, places, and things all made fun, interesting and informative I will enjoy my walks around Paris evennow that I have had the pleasure of reading David Downie s wonderful bookchokengtitiktitikchokeng maybe someday I ll convince her to join GR and post her own reviews I decided to read this, at a leisurely place, while I am reading novels, in preparation for my Europe trip in the spring, which includes the City of Light I got this, as it was highly reco d for us discerning readers and travelers who want to read about the places in Paris that are not as well known or understood, places connected to history that many would bypass David Downie is the master of educated curiosity With him we discover Paris, a seemingly public city that is, in fact, full of secrets great lives, lives wasted on the bizarre forgotten artisans lost graves lost till now the papillons nocturnes and the poin onneur des Lilas I have walked some of the city s streets with him, and reading this book is just as tactile an experience Michael Ondaatje A quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people Residents will recognize a place they can vouch for and not the clich s so frequently conjured up to match the legends Visitors and newcomers are bound to find Paris, Paris reliable company as they discover the city s beauties and pleasures and its problems too Mavis Gallant Downie is a saunterer, wandering down the narrow ancient streets of the le de la Cit , picnicking in storied graveyards like P re Lachaise, observing a seduction at Jardin du Luxembourg with a birder s patience captures the sort of people and places missed by those jetting from starred bistros to hotels with showers Dan Rubin, The Philadelphia Inquirer Gol LY it took me long enough to read this Because every chapter is an essay of its own, there were some I loved, some that were ok, and some that didn t capture me at all I will say that having never been to Paris, or even France, some of what Downie talks about were hard to follow One might appreciate this book evenif they werefamiliar with the city But I do hope to go someday, and I will definitely revisit this book when that day comes It ll come It has to come. I read this book in April of 2011 it is the updated and re released version from 2011 that I had and which I reviewed on my blog here here is the intro to that post PARIS, Paris Journey into the City of Light is a collection of 31 essays about La Ville Lumi re in which historical and personal narratives enlighten readers about Paris s present Author David Downie has distilled decades of study and experience and blended it with his unique adventures as a 25 year resident of Paris, resulting in chapters that are not only rich, but accessible reading because of Downie s down to earth personality infusing the text Downie writes in the chapter entitled The Janus City, in this old Europe of which Paris is still the cultural capital, to look forward we must first look back p 284 The essays, which are anchored in Downie s own curiosity about and explorations of the city, are ballasted in historical perspective Fine photos by his wife and professional photographer, Alison Harris, anchor each chapter with a unique perspective Like a good whisky, the reading goes down smoothly, and one feels satisfied from first taste to lasting finish. Reviewed yesterday on my blog, Part Time ParisianWhat a combination David Downie is part fl neur, part hard nosed reporter, part scholar and all writer Combine that with his eye for the common man and you get Paris, Paris, the indispensable guidebook for the curious visitor less interested in the overworked tourist sites than in the small nooks and crannies it s difficult to find unless someone like him has already blazed the trail.One of the best pieces of news I ve heard recently is that his classic Paris, Paris will be published as an audiobook The physical book has been through two versions 2005, much updated and expanded in 2011 as part of Broadway Books prestigious Armchair Traveler series It s also available in both Kindle and Nookversions, available respectively fromand Barnes Noble This review is based on the Kindle version There s a sparkling foreword by Diane Johnson, author of the Le Divorce series.Much of the pleasure of this book comes from its illustrations, handsome black and whites expertly made by Alison Harris Mrs Downie , a lifelong Parisienne of American parents and a photographer of considerable reknown The Downies live in the Marais, and one of the most charming essays, Life s a Caf , illustrates life there in a nutshell Madame Ren e and her husband Jos start every day but Sunday at 6 a.m by dragging the banged up tables and chairs out of their cafe and set ting them up on the cobbled terrasse under our bedroom window and then reverse the process between 11 p.m and 2 a.m It s a slice of city life you won t find in Omaha, and it should pretty much put to rest the idea that all the French work 35 hours a week What would Paris be without its caf s Downie asks If nothing else, caf s animate the city, that s to say they keep it awake with noise and mostly legal stimulus They ve been around for centuries Or, measured another way, the Downies have lived above Madame Ren e and Jose for 18,250 chair and table draggings And then there s Downie s habit of long walks the fl neurpart of his personna How about this from the first essay, on the Seine, illustrated with a charming pictures of a couple of fishermen trying their luck in the river from a cobbled quai Not long ago, after a failed research mission to the National Library on Paris s extreme eastern edge, I glanced down the river from the Pont de Tolbiac and realized that, despite my wanderings, I d never actually followed the Seine downstream across the city to the quays of the 15th arrondissement How long a walk could it be So set out he did And the answer is that it s a very long walk indeed, especially with uncomfortable shoes, but it passes one interesting site after another and prompts reminiscences of plentiful vignettes from Paris history, not all of them pleasant or honorable but history nonetheless I ve seen the barges on the river, but I had no idea they carry twenty five million tons of freight a year But, as you learn in a later chapter titled The Boat People of the Seine, their way of life is an imperiled one threatened by the march of progress, just like a lot of the memories we of middle age and beyond see disappearing.He and Mrs Downie have turned an avocation into a business by offering guided walking tours.Paris is a walking city My wife Jan and I spend a couple of months there every year and fall immediately into the locals habit of walking everywhere they go, and when that s too far or time is tight, of taking public transportation the outstanding m tro system our our favorite, the city bus Tracking one s transportation options used to involve carrying around a map book, but that problem has been solved by the excellent choice of apps on the market I discussed some of those in this post Paris, Paris is divided into three sections, Paris Places, Paris People, and Paris Phenomena Downie obviously spent time on their titles, otherwise how would he have come up with Dear Dead Vincent van Gogh Among the places, don t miss his essay on Luxembourg Gardens One other thing he hadn t done, other than walk the length of the Seine, was spend an entire day in Luxembourg Gardens I m going to try to do both this year Among the people, Coco Chanel stands out, but close behind is his warm look at the life of the bouquinistes, the intrepid book salesmen who make their living from the dark green boxes mounted on the walls overlooking the river It s a nice appreciation of a society whose members look after each other, pass their locations down from father to son, and wait for years for the chance to move to a better location Oh a bouquiniste is a seller of bouquins, or books, but it scomplicated than that Read the chapter and learn that boxes are all painted the prescribed green, wagon vert, and the sellers are allowed to devote one of their four boxes to souvenirs and tchotchkes It s the only way they can make ends meet Pity. Prepped me to fall hard for Paris Wonderful off the beaten path wanderings, beautifully described discoveries in an already well chronicled city His chapters illuminate fascinating overlooked details of history, personality and architecture. I loved this book My wife and I traveled to Paris a year ago before we had read this book and wish we had read it prior to our travel It gives you so much insight into the history of Paris and the uniqueness of the city itself It goes into the less traveled areas giving you insight and stirring up a desire to walk the city to discover the undiscovered areas most Americans miss My favorite chapter A Lively City of the Dead goes into detail about the many famous people buried there and their unusual stories Whether you ve been before or are about to go, I highly recommend the read. Beautifully Written And Refreshingly Original Makes Us See Paris In A Different Light San Francisco Chronicle Book Review Swapping His Native San Francisco For The City Of Light, Travel Writer David Downie Arrived In Paris InOn A One Way Ticket, His Head Full Of Romantic Notions Curiosity And The Legs Of A Cross Country Runner Propelled Him Daily From An Unheated, Seventh Floor Walk Up Garret Near The Champs Elys Es To The Old Montmartre Haunts Of The Doomed Painter Modigliani, The Tombs Of P Re Lachaise Cemetery, The Luxuriant Alleys Of The Luxembourg Gardens And The Aristocratic Le Saint Louis Midstream In The SeineDownie Wound Up Living In The Chic Marais District, Married To The Paris Born American Photographer Alison Harris, An Equally Incurable Walker And Chronicler Ten Books And A Quarter Century Later, He Still Spends Several Hours Every Day Rambling Through Paris, And Writing About The City He Loves An Irreverent, Witty Romp Featuring Thirty One Short Prose Sketches Of People, Places And Daily Life, Paris, ParisJourney Into The City Of Light Ranges From The Glamorous To The Least Known Corners And Characters Of The World S Favorite City Photographs By Alison Harris I Loved His Collection Of Essays And Anyone Who S Visited Paris In The Past, Or Plans To Visit In The Future, Will Be Equally Charmed As Well David Lebovitz, Author OfThe Sweet Life In Paris A Quirky, Personal, Independent View Of The City, Its History And Its People Mavis Gallant Gives Fresh Poetic Insight Into The City A Voyage Into The Bends And Recesses, The Jagged Edges, The Secret Interiors Of Paris Departures It took me a couple of months to read this book, not because it wasn t good, but because I wanted to savour each essay At first I dove in, approaching it like a linear travelogue, but I quickly realized that I wasn t giving enough attention to each topic So I read a chapter at a time between other books, and really enjoyed each chapter.I loved how much history and flavour the author offered for his topics If I get an opportunity to return to Paris, I will carry this book and use his descriptions of places and events to enhance the experience. I have read this book before, just prior to our May trip to Paris and enjoyed it immensely The details, especially about aspects of Paris, like the boat people, I knew nothing about, are amazing and David Downie layers the information, in splendid prose Today I took the book to sit and read to a friend who is dying Read aloud it is evenwonderful We both felt so pleased and satisfied If you love good reading and Paris you can t go wrong here.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Paris, Paris book, this is one of the most wanted David Downie author readers around the world.
- 303 pages
- Paris, Paris
- David Downie
- 03 November 2017 David Downie