Title: Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light by David Downie
Published April 5, 2011; Broadway paperback
Photographs by Alison Harris
Paris is only one of the cities called the "City of Light." It was given this name because it was the first European city that lit up its streets with gaslights. Other cities with the title include Miami, Florida; Anchorage, Alaska and Los Angeles, Ca., given for different reasons. The oldest city known as the City of Light is Varanasi (known as Benares) in India, the place where light first entered earth, according to Hindu belief.
For those traveling to Paris, Paris, Paris is the most complete and detailed description and history of Paris that I have seen. With lots of interesting tidbits and historical facts, it also has the advantage that it can be read in sections.
Here is the book/publisher description:
"Swapping his native San Francisco for the City of Light, travel writer David Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket, his head full of romantic notions. Curiosity and the legs of a cross-country runner propelled him daily from an unheated, seventh-floor walk-up garret near the Champs-Elysées to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Père-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Île Saint-Louis midstream in the Seine.
Downie wound up living in the chic Marais district, married to the Paris-born American photographer Alison Harris, an equally incurable walker and chronicler. Ten books and a quarter-century later, he still spends several hours every day rambling through Paris, and writing about the city he loves.
An irreverent, witty romp featuring thirty-one short prose sketches of people, places and daily life, Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light ranges from the glamorous to the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city."
I hope to make it back someday to Paris, which I visited after college during a short ramble through Europe. I'd be sure to read this book first, though, to get the most out of the trip.
Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of this book.