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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris Paperback – May 24, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the smartest nonfiction titles for summer reading ... Baxter tracks both the city’s history and the many celebrated figures who have savored the art of walking in one of the world’s most beautiful capitals.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“A lovely book ... Full of unexpected pleasures ...Parisians claim that walking walking around Paris is an art form in itself, and Baxter proves them right. (Chicago Tribune)

“A man with a great appreciation of what makes Paris tick.” (Newsday)

“We are the beneficiaries of John Baxter’s considerable, vivid love for the expatriate life in Paris. ... The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is as close as a reader can get to the feel of a languid spring walk along Baron Haussmann’s boulevards.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Anyone who loves Paris and loves to walk will feel this book was written just for them. ... Charming.” (USA Today)

“A splendid memoir ... Reading The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is the next best thing to a Paris vacation.” (Boston Globe)

“Fabulous . . . the perfect companion for anyone inspired to hop over to France after seeing Midnight in Paris” (NPR.org)

From the Back Cover

Thrust into the unlikely role of professional "literary walking tour" guide, an expat writer provides the most irresistibly witty and revealing tour of Paris in years.

In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite cafés of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso's underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling boulevards of the late-nineteenth-century flâneurs; the secluded "Little Luxembourg" gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; the alleys where revolutionaries plotted; and finally Baxter's own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061998540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061998546
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been to Paris a number of times and I love the city. I also like reading Paris books. This is not a book for first timers nor is it a book that will provide you with much practical tour information, if that is what you are seeking. The walking described is not the "begin at Point A and finish at Point B" type.
This book is primarily (but not exclusively)about the Latin Quarter, where the author lives, and concentrates on the more "colorful" side of the Quarter, particularly as pertains to the American expat literary figures who haunted the area.
This is definitely an entertaining read. The author is a long time resident, married to a French woman and apparently fluent in French. He also works part time as a guide. So it is clear that M. Baxter is very much a part of the city he loves. I learned quite a few tidbits about places I've been to and not been to. If you are a lover of Paris, you will enjoy this book.
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I've just read several of the other comments and was a little puzzled, did we read the same book? Mr. Baxter
delivered just what the book title and jacket describes: a pedestrian in Paris, a memoir of the author who gave 'literary
walking tours," and his version of 'the most beautiful walk in the world." And indeed it lives up to those descriptions and is very well written, interesting, and often funny.

Yes, it's not a travel book of Paris, but it didn't purport to be one. And yes, I certainly agree that if you put a map in the book, ensure that it is correct. But don't let those things detract from reading a pleasurable and satisfying memoir.

I've visited Paris twice, so I'm not an expert by any means, however Mr. Baxter's 'walks' have given me loads of information for a literary walking tour when I visit again.
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Although I agree to some extent with the other reviewers, I enjoyed this book. I have read other John Baxter books and this one is similar to the others - especially "An Immovable Feast." His books give me many "ah-ha" moments - because Baxter is married to a French native as am I. We often spend a month in Paris in a rented apartment and try to experience the City rather than being tourists. This book gave me insights - although I would agree it is not a guide to Paris especially for first time visitors. This is really more of a memoir or a book about "traveling through life." I would put this in the same category as Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon," although I have to admit that I preferred Gopnik's book.
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One joy that can come from reading is the pleasure of listening to someone talk about something they really enjoy or love. Such an experience awaits readers of John Baxter's The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris. A longtime resident of Paris, married to a Frenchwoman, Baxter injects personal anecdotes with the settings he describes, and the spirited writing takes readers into Baxter's enthusiasm. Readers who have never been to Paris will be enchanted, and will want to be there. Those who have been in Paris will feel as if one has returned. Those most familiar with Paris may quibble with Baxter, but are likely to feel proud of how the city of light shines on these pages. Readers looking for a travel guide will find more useful books than this one, but few of those capture the city's spirit as well as this one.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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I bought this book after reading the copy in our public library. It is a keeper. Reading this book is like conversing with the author. He is humorous and well-informed. The book is both a personal memoir and a guide to Paris. Anyone who is interested in literature and writers will find it interesting. He writes of Hemmingway and company and the French revolution Anyone who loved "Midnight in Paris," anyone who has visited Paris or wants to visit Paris should enjoy it.
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I was mislead with the title. It seems as though the author sat in a study and came up with a very poorly executed, disjointed story that has more to do with the author than it does with the city of Paris. Just because you live in Paris doesn't mean readers want to know about the author, they want to know about the city in a smoothly written format. I feel this author has too high an opinion of himself based on what he chooses to write about and disclose. For me this book is a big missed opportunity by the author. He had the ability to write a great book based on the idea of a walk in Paris, only he chose to focus on facts and memories that I found distracting. I am glad to see I am not the only other reader who feels this way as evidence by some of the other reviews.
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This book revealed the mundane life of John Baxter in Paris, or was it Los Angeles,no Australia. I bought this book thinking I would get new ideas for special walks in Paris. What I got was trivial and a self-indulging. Read Hemmingway's "A Moveable Feast" for a real feel for Paris
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I found this book pretentious and a bit tedious with nothing novel to say about walks, discoveries, famous Parisians and expatriates that hasn't been said better many times before. The personal anecdotes are too shallow to be rewarding. The Australian information is banal. Self indulgent and disappointing.
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