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Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James Kindle Edition
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|Length: 352 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
I took the book with me on a month-long trip to Argentina. While there, I re-read the book many times. In fact, I'll be reading it again in the future!
The book is a compelling tale of the author and his companion, who decide to walk part of the Way of St. James, which is one of the many "Ways" to the final destination of Santiago, Spain. One of the main things I loved about the book is that the route they walk is not commonly traveled or written about. It's not an easy route to travel, in the sense that there aren't lots of other travelers doing the same thing. It's a glimpse into traveling off the beaten track, but doing it with a bit more style as well as a intimate view of the French countryside.
I've walked this "Way" myself some years back, and this author captures the experience perfectly. He doesn't waste a lot of time with packing lists, complaining about blisters or talking endlessly about church after church. That's all there, but it's understood that the walk isn't an easy one and that discomforts are part of the journey. Instead, he experiences the journey itself, moment by crystalline moment, allowing you to feel that you are walking beside him. His writing allows you to be not just a reader or observer, but a companion to his journey which becomes your own. While the author calls himself a skeptic in the title, by the end of the book he doesn't seem skeptical at all. He seems to have a deeper understanding of his connection to all things and to see that his path in life is an important one.Read more ›
In point of fact, most of the book is about a small segment of the planned hike -- from Vézelay to Mâcon, in Burgundy. In Paris Downie walked only a symbolic 3.26 miles before he and his wife hopped a train to Vézelay. From there, they hiked along country roads and paths, many of which were old Roman roads, to Mâcon, overnighting in country hotels and B&B's. Downie's body gave out just short of Mâcon, so he had to abort his pilgrimage. Downie devotes 299 of his book's 313 pages to that segment of the hike. A thirteen-page epilogue summarizes the final segment of his trek, four months later, from Le Puy-en-Velay to the Roncesvalles Abbey.
Downie's hike in Burgundy contained the makings for a good book, so I don't agree with his (or his publisher's) decision to tout his trek, misleadingly, as "Paris to the Pyrenees". But even with a more honest title, the book that Downie actually wrote would only be fair. Yes, it contains interesting snippets of history, colorful figures met on the road and in hostelries, and information on life in contemporary non-Parisian France. And yes, it is written with good pace and in an informal, slightly irreverent, cheerful style. David Downie is a convivial guy. But he has no filter.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Books describing travels, particularly walking or hiking adventures are fascinating. While I had read an earlier memoir of a similar trek written by a British gentleman that was... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This afternoon I finished walking with David and Allison from Paris to the Pyrennes. I enjoyed the book very much. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James R. Griffin
Enjoyed this account of the author's pilgrimage into self- knowledge amid the pain and challenge of the journey itself. Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Duffy
Nowhere in the same league as Paris, Paris. Book is disjointed, cynical, generally a downer. I read it all but definitely not his best work.Published 9 months ago by Barbara D
Downie walks a portion of the Campostela pilgrimage trail, from south of paris to just across the Pyrenees. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Nemoman
Okay, so he didn't actually walk from Paris to the Pyrenees, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the first Downie book I've read, and I loved his writing style. Read morePublished 9 months ago by David Stockman
Author is obviously a good writer. The book was entertaining but it was not about walking a pilgrimage. The title and subtitle are misleading. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rellrog
I bought this book without reading the reviews and wish that I had. As one reviewer wrote Downie truly has no filter. Read morePublished 11 months ago by janet s dore
I've enjoyed this book so much I've re-read it three times. I especially liked how Downie incorporated his love of Ancient history into the journey and narrative. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Carreen Dawn Andersen