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-Élysées 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.
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