- Audio CD
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (November 15, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1482928515
- ISBN-13: 978-1482928518
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 138 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,013,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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''Perhaps the most evocative American book about Paris since A Moveable Feast.'' --Jan Morris, celebrated travel writer
''Like the guide who leads us through the Hermitage and its history in Sokurov's Russian Ark, David Downie is the master of educated curiosity. With him we discover Paris, a seemingly public city that is, in fact, full of secrets -- great lives, lives wasted on the bizarre; forgotten artisans; lost graves (lost till now); the 'papillons nocturnes' ; and the 'poinçonneur des Lilas.' I have walked some of the city's streets with him, and reading this book is just as tactile an experience.'' --Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient
''I loved his collection of essays, and anyone who's visited Paris in the past, or plans to visit in the future, will be equally charmed.'' --David Lebovitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Sweet Life in Paris
''Beautifully written and refreshingly original . . . Curious and attentive to detail, Downie is appreciative yet unflinching in describing his adopted home . . . Makes us see [Paris] in a different light.'' --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
''The delightful and insightful essays in Paris, Paris meld history, atmosphere, and observations on Paris places, Paris people, and Paris phenomena.'' --Chicago Tribune
''Downie is a saunterer, wandering down the narrow ancient streets of the Ile de la Cité, picnicking in storied graveyards like Père Lachaise, observing a seduction at Jardin du Luxembourg with a birder's patience . . . Captures the sort of people and places missed by those jetting from starred bistros to hotels with showers.'' --Philadelphia Inquirer
''David Downie's prose illuminates Paris with an unequaled poignancy and passion. He understands and evokes the soul and the substance of the city with a critic's intelligence and a lover's heart. He makes me want to live in Paris again.'' --Don George, contributing editor, National Geographic Traveler
''Compelling . . . A rapturous, history-rich love poem.'' --Toronto Star
''Suitable for serious Francophiles and curious spectators alike, this book paints Paris from a delightful, fresh perspective.'' --Sacramento Book Review
''All visitors to Paris who want their eyes opened and their knowledge widened should buy David Downie's irresistible collection of Paris essays. Take the book with you on walks and be astonished at his sense of detail and place; read it in bed or over a glass of wine in a café and be introduced to a Paris few know.'' --Anton Gill, author of Il Gigante
''Gives fresh poetic insight into the city . . . A voyage into 'the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors' [of Paris].'' --Departures
'''When good Americans die,' Oscar Wilde wrote, 'they go to Paris.' Don't wait that long. David Downie's new book reflects the city and its light with such power that its title says it twice. Paris, Paris shimmers with wit and mesmerizes with wisdom . . . It is as the French would say, un must.'' --Mort Rosenblum, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, editor, and journalist
''[A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history, and its people. Residents will recognize a place they can vouch for and not the clichés so frequently conjured up to match the legends. Visitors and newcomers are bound to find Paris, Paris reliable company as they discover the city's beauties and pleasures and its problems too.'' --Mavis Gallant, award-winning writer
''Downie brilliantly upholds the American expat tradition of portraying the City of Light with an original and endearing touch.'' --John Flinn, former travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle
''If there is one book I'd read before heading to the City of Light, Paris, Paris is it. Downie, a longtime Paris resident and roamer, writes with knowledge and verve, pinning down the funny and the sublime as he captures on his canvas the quirks, foibles, and follies, and the peculiar mystery of the people and places, that make up this wonderful city.'' --Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast
About the Author
DAVID DOWNIE, an American journalist based in Paris since 1986, has written about European culture, food, and travel for magazines and newspapers worldwide. He was a Paris correspondent for Salon.com, Departures,Appellation, and Art & Antiques and has contributed to many websites. He is currently a blogger for Gadling.com, the popular literary travel site. The author of more than a dozen works of nonfiction and fiction, Downie's writing has also appeared in many anthologies, among them The Collected Traveler volumes on Paris, Southwest France, and Central Italy; Salon.com's Wanderlust; Travelers' Tales: Adventures in Wine; and By the Seat of My Pants.
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Downie likes to walk. His book is divided into Paris People, Paris Places and Paris Phenomena. It is the places that interested me the most. For example, Downie describes a long walk along the Seine that I decided to replicate. It transformed my view of Paris because I learned how much of the city revolves around the river. I also learned just how small the city is geographically and how it seems that almost every centimeter of the city has been lovingly cultivated.
It was unclear to me from reading the book where the walk ended so I emailed the author who cheerfully responded with the details and even suggested a nice, reasonably priced restaurant for lunch right along the walk. I watched the city transform from stark, modern suburbs not too far inside Paris's Périphérique eventually past Notre Dame and on to its terminus at the Pont Mirabeau. I will never forget Le Pont Mirabeau after reading Guillaume Apollinaire's poem in high school breathing life and love into the bridge. Seeing Le Pont Mirabeau at the end of this day-long walk was special. The entire walk was about 10 km or 6.2 miles. The transformations within that short distance speak volumes about Paris.
At Downie's suggestion, I also visited Buttes-Chaumont park which is even more impressive than Mr. Downie describes. He knows Place des Voges like the back of his hand so that chapter is exceptional.
On top of the wonderful details that make Paris come to life, Downie's prose shows a love and mastery of the English language that I appreciate.
This book will teach you so much about Paris and make you want to return again and again or just to go to Paris and remain as Downie has.
For anyone who loves Paris, this is a truly useful book.
You can read this just as a series of well-written essays told in an entertaining and literate manner about Paris. Downie's style is humorous and irreverent. If you've visited Paris in the past or even if you have no plans to visit Paris, the essays are a wonderful read.
Or you can read this is as a travelogue to help you make the most of a visit to Paris. Each essay is loosely formed around a walk the author takes through an area of Paris with a topical subject such as a personality or event. The richness of Downie's descriptions and background information will immerse you in the city and make your visit a more rewarding experience. It's a great way to learn about the history and sights of Paris and it serves as inspiration for your own explorations of the City of Light. You can follow Downie's walks, or use them as starting points of your own sojourns. Either way, Downie provides a superb guide to help you understand and appreciate the City as no travel guide can.