Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light

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9780307886088: Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light

 “Beautifully written and refreshingly original... makes us see [Paris] in a different light.” -- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
 
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. 

Photographs by Alison Harris.
 
“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 as well.” —David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris
 
“[A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people”—Mavis Gallant
 
“Gives fresh poetic insight into the city... a voyage into ‘the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors’ [of Paris].”— Departures

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From the Publisher:

In his introduction, David Downie provides a tantalizing foretaste of this engaging, critically acclaimed book. "Paris is the kind of city butterfly catchers have trouble netting, tacking down and studying," he assures readers. "Like all great cities and yet unlike any other, Paris is alive and fluttering, it changes with the light, buffeted by Seine-basin breezes. This place called Paris is at once the city of literature and film, an imagined land, a distant view through shifting, misty lenses, the leftover tang of Jean-Paul Sartre’s cigarettes clinging to the mirrored walls of a Saint-Germain-des-Pres café, and the city where I and over two million others pay taxes, re-heel shoes, and shop for cabbages or cleaning fluids." Packed with detail, Downie’s essays "evoke the soul and the substance of the city with a critic’s intelligence and a lover’s heart" (Donald George, Global Travel Editor, Lonely Planet). Celebrated travel writer Jan Morris seems to agree, calling Paris, Paris "Perhaps the most evocative American book about Paris since A Movable Feast." Readers expecting the usual puffery will be disappointed. As noted author John Baxter points out, "Lifting the curtain (in some cases before the people inside expect it) is very much what this book is about... The chic Place de Vosges, for instance. What’s it really like to live in those 17th century hôtels particulièrs and to look down on the cafés under the colonnade where movie stars take coffee and fashion models prowl? Well, for some, not much fun, since many tenants inherited their homes generations back, and can’t or won’t renovate. Persuading one to invite him in, Downie describes being ‘led from floor to sagging floor by the pavilion’s unwashed, unshaved, ornery owner, who scowled out of the broken windowpanes and cursed his inheritance. You think it’s beautiful, he shouted over and over, you like the view? I hate it here. I hate it!’" Happily Downie’s abiding love for the French capital wins out, despite the occasional tongue-in-cheek jab. "[He] lives in Paris, like wine in a glass," comments prize-winning short story writer Mavis Gallant, who has called Paris home since 1950. "Paris, Paris is his 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." Paris, Paris is that rare object nowadays: a book of literate travel essays illustrated with striking B&W photographs. Known for her photography work in the books of Sophia Loren, Marcella Hazan, Anne Willan and many other celebrities and cooks, Alison Harris is also a passionate chronicler in B&W of Paris’ streets. As Diane Johnson sees it, "Paris must be the most photographed place in the world, from Doisneau to Cartier-Bresson. These beautiful studies by Alison Harris extend that literature with a powerful formal talent. Her camera’s loving dissection of details that the busy traveler might not notice for himself, makes of this book a splendid object in itself, a sort of bibliophilic gem."

From the Author:

I hope these quirky, independent, skeptical, irreverent essays avoid the trap of the traveling curmudgeon. "Perhaps because I came to Paris expecting no favors, with few illusions, and a generous dose of curiosity," I write in my introduction, "I have yet to feel the betrayal some visitors and transitory residents distill into vague resentment. Paris has no monopoly on grumpy waiters, horizontal pollution, or enraged drivers, nor, in my experience, do the elusive, mythical Parisians focus their supposed disdain on any one nationality. I’ve been privileged to hunt for Paris in many places, with many people, including the occasional Parisian, for nearly twenty years, and these essays are part of my catch. My vision of the city still blurs from Paris to Paris in my daily pursuit of fluttering wings. Happily, I don’t want to pin them down and anyway, Paris always manages to fly away." I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed researching and writing them, a labor of love that took me nearly 10 years.

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Descripción Three Rivers Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Beautifully written and refreshingly original makes us see [Paris] in a different light. -- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review 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-Elysees to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Pere-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Ile 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. Photographs by Alison Harris. 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 as well. David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris [A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people Mavis Gallant Gives fresh poetic insight into the city a voyage into the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors [of Paris]. Departures. Nº de ref. de la librería ABZ9780307886088

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Descripción Three Rivers Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Beautifully written and refreshingly original makes us see [Paris] in a different light. -- San Francisco Chronicle Book Review 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-Elysees to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Pere-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Ile 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. Photographs by Alison Harris. 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 as well. David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris [A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people Mavis Gallant Gives fresh poetic insight into the city a voyage into the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors [of Paris]. Departures. Nº de ref. de la librería ABZ9780307886088

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Descripción Softcover. Estado de conservación: New. "Beautifully written and refreshingly original makes us see [Paris] in a different light." --San Francisco Chronicle Book ReviewSwapping 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.Photographs by Alison Harris."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 as well." —David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris"[A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people"—Mavis Gallant"Gives fresh poetic insight into the city a voyage into ‘the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors’ [of Paris]."— Departures. Nº de ref. de la librería 9198165

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