A Passion for Paris

With his new book  “A Passion for Paris” David Downie looks at how Paris got the reputation of being the world’s number one romantic city. The author informs the reader straight away that it will be a personal journey “I wonder if I knew on that first April morning that this would be it” says Downie. “I was stuck and could not leave, indeed would spend decades prowling the streets seeking Félix Nadar’s gallery of images… Did I realize I would lose myself in libraries, house museums and administrative offices…attempting to penetrate the secrets of what might well be the world’s most enigmatic, compelling, paradoxical, maddening yet seductive city?” “I must have had some inkling the first time I climbed the seven stories to my maid’s room…” Continue reading “A Passion for Paris”

The Glow of Paris

With stunning black and white photos in the Ansel Adams tradition and stories about Paris’ legendary bridges, “The Glow of Paris, The Bridges of Paris at Night” is a real Paris book gem.  Shooting in the venerable film tradition Gary Zuercher’s considerable camera skills bring to life the city’s storied bridges and their sculptural elements such as those by Dalou found on the Pont Alexandre III.  “I thought this would be a one-year project” says Zuercher. “In fact, it took more than five years to complete. And in reality it may never end because there is always another inspiring view to be found and photographed.” Continue reading “The Glow of Paris”

Paris Années Folles

The “Roaring Twenties” known in France as “Les Années Folles” was a golden period (1919-1929) with unprecedented economic prosperity, technological progress (automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, electricity) and creativity.  Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, John Dos Passos, Ezra Pound had established themselves in Paris where they rubbed shoulders with Montparnasses’ high flyers. Picasso, Modigliani, Soutine, Brancusi and Chagall all frequented the same cafes. Continue reading “Paris Années Folles”

On Becoming French

A “tres fun” book “90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French” delightfully captures some of the quirky things that make the French… French. People who have lived here awhile will get a chuckle recognizing themselves and how living in France has changed them.

This cute little book that fits in the palm of your hand was inspired by an article “20 Ways You Know You’re Becoming French” that originally appeared in FUSAC Magazine. The article was a big hit and inspired the author Shari Leslie Segal to make it into a book teaming up with publisher Lisa Vanden Bos and illustrator Judit Halász. Continue reading “On Becoming French”

The Hotel on Place Vendome

The subtitle “Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris” sets the tone for Tilar Mazzeo’s new book, “The Hôtel on Place Vendôme.” Written in a breezy, gossipy style this book is a fun read. Her previous books include “The Widow Clicquot” and “The Secret of Chanel No. 5.” Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, the book is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz—a tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage and resistance Continue reading “The Hotel on Place Vendome”

Paris Terrasses, Outdoor Dining in Paris

One of the summer pleasures of Paris is having a drink at an outdoor cafe terrace. “Paris Terrasses, Outdoor Dining in Paris” published just in time for the season is a new 2014 updated bilingual guide to Paris’ outdoor dining gems ranging from terraces on rooftops such as “Les Ombres” decorated by the archtect Jean Nouvel at the Musee Branly with its stunning view of the Eiffel Tower to more intimate settings such as the inner terrace at the Entrepot, a multicultural venue with live music, theater and home of Paris’ legendary art movie house. Continue reading “Paris Terrasses, Outdoor Dining in Paris”

The Lighter Side of Paris

I once asked the French photographer Boubat if he was a romantic. He responded saying no “I’m a humanist. I’m interested in photographing people. There’s enough bad to be seen in the world.  I like to photograph and show what is good.”

French Humanist Photographers were among the best at portraying poetic moments and showing what was good about life after WWII.  Now a new book “The Lighter Side of Paris” (Paris qui rit!) brings together such photographers as Boubat, Doisneau and Kertesz, who not only captured the poetry of daily life but the funny moments too. This book features a collection of humorous pictures of Paris that bring a smile. The photographs include work by such stars as Henri Cartier Bresson and less known pictures by a very funny René Maltete as well as many remarkable anonymous photographers. Although most of the photos date from the post WWII period, several were taken in the 20’s and 30’s with a few capturing drole moments in the Belle Epoque. Continue reading “The Lighter Side of Paris”

How We Didn’t Buy a House in Besançon

Jon Lewis’ charming book “How We Didn’t Buy a House in Besancon” tells the tale of challenges encountered when buying property in France. Required reading for anyone contemplating retiring here. Finally succeeding at finding his dream home, he and his wife Josée now live in the South of France, eight hours drive from Rome and quite a long way, as it turned out, from Besançon. Following is an excerpt from his book where he provides practical information for buying a house in France: Continue reading “How We Didn’t Buy a House in Besançon”

Discovering Quiet Paris

Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world with 28.9 million tourists a year. Sometimes, especially in the summer months, it seems that they are all trying to go to the same place you are. A new book “Quiet Paris” by Siobhan Wall is a guide to over one hundred wonderful off the beaten path places for savoring the quiet delights of this most seductive of cities. Continue reading “Discovering Quiet Paris”

Mythic Paris in Black and White

“Paris Mythique” is a new photo book published by Parigramme featuring one hundred iconic black and white photos ranging from Doisneau’s “le baiser de l’hotel de ville” to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s picture of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre on the Pont des Arts footbridge to Raymond Cauchetier’s photograph of Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo on the set of Godard’s legendary 1960 movie “Breathless.” They’re all here as well as some little known gems such as a rare 1923 photo showing Sylvia Beach and Ernest Hemingway posing in front of the original Shakespeare and Company Bookshop when it was located on rue de l’Odeon. Continue reading “Mythic Paris in Black and White”