56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 1998
Having lived in Paris for quite some time myself, I know most of the areas that Gilles Desmons describes, and I can really highly recommend the book. His tours cover all the must-sees, but he also ventures off the beaten track and leads you to unexplored and pleasantly untouristy areas of the city, some of which even I haven't explored yet (but will unfailingly do so on my next trip home to France). His recommendations for restaurants/cafes/shops/museums are excellent, and I appreciate his pointing out certain days or times of the day when the tour is most rewarding (like with museum opening hours etc.). The only little "fly in the soup" (as we say) is that his writing is a bit professoral and stiff, but then again you learn a lot of little anecdotes that contribute to your understanding and enjoying your tour even more, and he points out a ton of small things that you normally would miss if not told of (like, an especially beautifully carved old door). Do yourself a favour and get the book for your (next) trip to the City of Lights, it's definitely worth it even if you have been there before.
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2000
This is by far the best guide book available for Paris. I lived there as a student, yet with this book I discovered new streets and sights on a daily basis. The historical references were excellent -- I took the walk through the area where I once lived and learned some fascinating stories about buildings I used to walk past every day. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2002
If you want to discover Paris beyond the traditional tour book, cliched image, then this is the book for you. With 30 original walks, the author, a native Parisian, leads you t hrough the well known (and some of the lesser known) districts of the City of Light. Unlike traditional walking tour guides, which only offer the route (and nothing else), this book details the route while pointing out buildings and areas of historical interest.
Every route is clearly marked with a starting point, ending point and distance. A good feature of this guide is that the author points out the changes in the street names--goodness knows how many a walker has gotten lost because the Rue du Temple suddenly became something else.
The only shortcoming of this book (or any walking guide, for that) is how the walker has to constantly carry the book with them. A good suggestion is to write out the itinerary on a separate piece of paper, then check all the references when you get back to the hotel.
If you love walking and exploring, than this is the book for you. Just be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2001
This book is a must for anyone who enjoys seeing a city on foot, and Paris is a city that is best seen on foot, in all weathers. Each tour includes a map as well as an approximate time and suggestions for places to stop for a bite to eat. They are also cross-indexed by topic, e.g., museums, historical, shopping, and even by length of walk. Some of the tours dovetail so that if you are still energetic at the conclusion of one, you can begin another. Contrariwise, if you only want to see part of a tour, you can begin in the middle or, using the map, skip parts.
A couple of caveats: First, it is best to read each tour once through before starting, otherwise you might find yourself back-tracking because you missed a turn and, some people might prefer to move a little more quickly, omitting some of the detail. Second, every now and again, it appears that something is missing, e.g., in the Assemblee Nationale, Concorde, and Opera tour, at the top of page 116, there is reference to a house in which Proust lived while he wrote A la recherche du temps perdu; however, the number (102) does not agree with any of the streets in the area. After backing up and trying several times, we finally gave up on that one.
Those, however, are small points. Overall, the book is very interesting and very informative.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2004
Having been to Paris many, many times, I pretty much know my way around. I purchased this book for my last trip, to help my friend -a first time parisian- find her way around. Surprisingly, though, it was me who ended up enjoying the book the most. Very well-thought walks, easy to spot places and landmarks but thorough and interesting enough to take you off the beaten path and show you the real Paris, the charming, lively city beyond the tourist attractions. My favourite walks are Faubourg St-Germain and St-Germain-des-Pres and the ones through the Latin Quarter.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2002
I just had my first trip to Paris. I bought this book because I like to see a city on foot. I didn't want to be stuck on a bus for hours on end. I had no idea just how great this book was until I used it. There is so much hidden history to Paris that is beyond the normal tourist sites. I saw some spectacular and beautiful places . . . often times with very few other tourists around. That was really cool. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience Paris from the ground up. Two bits of advice: Pack some good walking shoes and take a lunch when you go.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 1999
Gilles Desmons has crafted a combination Parisian history overview / scavenger hunt! We had such fun - and got such good exercise - taking many of these walks. I recommend it to everyone traveling to Paris, and wish that there were similar books for other destinations.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2000
This book is so well organized and helps the bedazzled tourist focus. I am a true francophile, and the use of "themes" plus maps is so helpful. I'm going to do some walks completely, and some walks partially. I've lived in Paris before, but there are still areas I've overlooked. This book will get me oriented, once and for all.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 1997
My girlfriend and I took about 10 walks from this book. Some of the walks were incredible in the detail you could see in an afternoon or morning walk. The walks on the Left Bank were most interesting, the historical references could have occupied the whole trip. The Passage walk north of the Louvre was kind of a bore. The Marais walk including the shops on the Vielle de Temple would have been an incredible shopping trip if money was no object, we saw one flower shop which had a suspended ceiling full of dryed flowers. Great book if you have the time to spend really getting to know Paris
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2003
This is an excellent book!! We used it not only to guide us on walking tours, but as a quick historical resource. The pictures are nice as well. Our tours took us lots longer than the book said, but we did aa lot of looking and picture taking!! We would buy a book like this for any city we visited if it were available by this author.