Antiquity, countryside and history greet you in Annabel Simms’ book, “Half an Hour from Paris … 10 Secret Daytrips by Train”. First you have to find your way there. Annabel Simms arranges the book like a quality French baguette au levain sandwich: yummy ingredients between the crunchy crusts. This is a book of self-guided walking tours of various lengths.
“A Taste of Paris, A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food” is a fun book in David’s style. David combines history, travelogue and a personal quest. David’s quest this time: “What is it about the history of Paris that has made it a food lover’s paradise?” You can follow his Paris food seduction from 53 BC to the present. Bringing Paris food history alive, David presents lots of written culinary activity between the 1300s and 1792 (end of the Ancien Régime) with all the King Louis’s, their chefs and the chefs’ cookbooks. David takes us back to the barbarian Parisiis squatting, eating with no tableware and demonstrates how the Romans were the more elegant diners and knew how to entertain and cook refined meals. In “Taste” food origin myths are dispelled.
How do you view Paris? With an angel on her shoulder, Rosemary Flannery views Paris through angel eyes. Rosemary is the author of the book, “Angels of Paris, an Architectural Tour through the History of Paris”. Rosemary wrote the text and took the photos, even if it included carrying a ladder around to get the best angle of an angel. I only recently discovered this book, a little slow on my part, but that shows the timelessness of a subject that dates back….
Want to read a French book? Don’t want to spend a fortune if the exchange rate goes bad? Buy a two euro book. All Parisians read a book. Ride the Paris metro and look at what people are holding in their hands: A book…. “Boule de Suif” is a book of short stories by Guy de Maupassant that began my two euro addiction. I skipped looking up the adjectives because I understood the gist of the stories. Each of the stories is about a woman….
Passing through some of the villages in Southern France and stopping along the way, JP Adams is your chauffeur. Get intoxicated. You won’t have a hangover, but you will feel a good buzz while reading PJ Adams’ latest personalized travelogue, “Intoxicating Southern France”. Each chapter is broken down into seven sections: History & Landscape, People & Lifestyle, Food, Shopping, Wine, Navigating the Area, Culture & Art. Having visited these regions, I like her personal touch, information and anecdotes
While on the plane, spend less than two hours scrolling through the pages of Tom Reeves’ helpful ebook, “Dining Out in Paris: What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light”. The delightful book is heavy with information, light to carry and easy to read “cover to cover”.
Tom, who has a Paris website, Discover Paris! of walks, tours and activities, gives advice and cultural contrasts clearly enough that his audience is encouraged to pull or push open the door and walk in to a restaurant or local shop.
There is always something useful and something to learn in a guide book. PJ Adams’ recent book, “Intoxicating Paris, Uncorking the Parisian Within”, is a combination of helpful hints all rolled into one. It is a personal insight, lightweight travel guide with suggestions, partial psychological and psychotherapeutic guide to American and French cultural differences, and a marketing tool for other authors. I was able to identify myself in some parts and appreciated the parts on the cultural differences. “Intoxicating Paris” is a good start for a first-time visitor.
David Downie’s latest entertaining memoir, “Paris to the Pyrenées, a skeptic pilgrim walks the way of Saint James” is a series of vignettes. The book is multipurpose whose words constantly upturned my lips into a smile or a smirk. They are the stories of his walk across France. It is also a guidebook along a segment of a trail steeped in history. It is a memoir of a skeptic pilgrim’s path to self-help along the Route of Saint James. When your body is falling apart, why not have a personal quest to possess France by walking across it! ….