Welcome to Summer Reads 2017 where I’ll be reviewing a series of “not just cookbooks”.
Today I’m excited to present a very unique guide to one of my favourite cities – Paris! Sadly, my travels in France will not take me to Paris this summer so this was a bit of an armchair visit for me! Susan Cahill has penned “a guide to the city of light following in the footsteps of famous Parisians throughout history” which should be required reading for anyone with an interest in history before they head to Paris.
The Streets of Paris focuses on twenty-two life stories of brilliant and passionate Parisian characters in their physical settings, along the streets that tell the stories of their inspiration, of how they became the icons that Paris – and history – still celebrate.
With this book in your hand, you’ll walk in the footsteps of (and alongside) famous Parisian residents from history such as Edith Piaf, François Truffaut, King Henri IV, Albert Camus and Marie Curie. You’ll read the stories that don’t make other guide books or tour guide spiels and you’ll come away with a new appreciation for streets you have perhaps already strolled without knowing much about them at all. Anyone who’s lived in a large city like Paris will know that the only way to truly know the city is to walk it. When I lived there in the 1990s, I only really started to fully understand the layout of the city and the diversity of its neighbourhoods during a massive public transport strike when I had no choice but to walk everywhere. Though it was an inconvenience at the time, I look back and realise that’s where my knowledge of Parisian geography really grew. It would have been even better had I not been stressing about getting to work and been able to take the time to really wander, my favourite way to discover a city these days! But fear not, if you don’t have time to wander the streets of Paris figuring things out on your own, The Streets of Paris is your go-to guide!
The book covers Ile de la Cité, the Left Bank (including Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Montparnasse, The Latin Quarter), the Right Bank (including the Champs Elysées and the surrounding area, Montmartre, Bastille, the Marais, and Belleville) and the “guides” (the Parisians) are varied so whatever your interest (history, art, science, music etc..) there is probably a “tour” for you.
Each section gives a starting address (and corresponding métro station/s) and ends with some nearby points of interest (including some recommendations for food, shopping and hotels) and while it’s definitely not a comprehensive guide for someone new to the city, if you’ve visited once or a few times (or even if you are already fairly familiar with it), this is the ideal complementary guide to your others/ background knowledge. Throughout the book there are stories of the residents, peppered with things to look out for as you wander the streets yourself (plaques, architectural details, buildings you might not have noticed yourself etc…).
This is a book to read before your trip to Paris with a map, a pen, a few sticky notes and a highlighter by your side. It’s also a wonderful “just reading” (no planning) book – even with no travel plans to the City of Light on the horizon, I read this book just as I would a novel. It’s definitely fuel for wanderlust! And yes, it will be in my bag next time I head to Paris!
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon and The Book Depository which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of “The Streets of Paris” for review purposes from the publisher. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.
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