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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris Paperback – 1 Mar 2012


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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris + Quiet Corners Of Paris: Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens + Lunch In Paris: A Delicious Love Story, with Recipes
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780720432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780720432
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.3 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A lovely book, full of unexpected pleasures... Parisians claim that walking around Paris is an art form in itself, and Baxter proves them right." Chicago Tribune "The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is as close as a reader can get to the feel of a languid spring walk along Baron Haussmann's boulevards." Los Angeles Times "Anyone who loves Paris and loves to walk will feel this book was written just for them... Charming." USA Today "A splendid memoir... Reading The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is the next best thing to a Paris vacation." Boston Globe "Fabulous - the perfect companion for anyone inspired to hop over to France after seeing Midnight in Paris" NPR.org

About the Author

John Baxter is an Australian-born journalist, filmmaker and the author of several books including Cooking for Claudine (Short Books, 2011). Baxter has lived in Paris since 1989, with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jan on 12 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only way to really get to know any city is to walk (with the obvious exception of Los Angeles, as John Baxter points out so entertainingly) and if this book doesn't make you want to meander around the beautiful city of Paris, nothing ever will! Guide books will tell you things like which metro line will take you to the Eiffel Tower, and that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, but this book will encourage you to wander and seek out for yourself the unusual, the fascinating and the beautiful corners that make this city such a delight to visit again and again.

Mr Baxter's knowledge of Paris and its recent history is evident on every page, and so too is his love for the city that he has called home for several decades. He has many stories to tell about the people who lived, loved, ate, drank and even committed murder in these streets and parks. I will never be able to sit in the Luxembourg Gardens calmly reading my book ever again, without thinking of the Luftwaffe making the Luxembourg Palace their HQ (they weren't daft, were they!) or the evil Henri Desire Landru who met the women he would go on to murder at the cafe in these very gardens, and I shall be constantly looking in shop windows for an opium pipe! Hemingway gets many a mention and Mr Baxter is quite happy to affectionately chip away at the "action man" image that this literary giant has acquired over the years.

The real message of the book is that every one, Parisian and visitor alike, has a different view of what makes Paris such a wonderful place to be, and if you leave your guide book behind and just walk you will find your own favourite shops, cafes and views and then you too can return home with stories to tell. The author has told us about some of his favourite walks in Paris, but I bet he has kept his absolute favourite a secret - and why not!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mrs D Adams on 11 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not what I was expecting from the title. If the writer was at a party he would be the one who spent all his time name dropping or going one better than everyone else. I love Paris and walk for miles around the city and so was looking forward to reading someone else's similar experiences. But this does not flow, it is not his year in Paris. It jumps from one name drop to another. Yes I like to know history and who has been where, I have followed ideas from other books and found some lovely new experiences but this book has not given me any incentives to think I must go there!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Horace Wimp on 31 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
Ernest Hemingway used to hang around the same area that the author now lives in. As did Pound, Joyce etc etc That seems to be the main point of this tedious book. Dull anecdotes about the author's life and times bolted on to a very vague and unengaging history of artistic Paris with a few addresses tacked on to the end. The pictures are okay and the book is well designed but it is at least 60% longer than it needed to be. Would've made a mildly diverting magazine article but it's no book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Fletcher on 27 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
In recent years, a whole shelf-load of books has appeared by Anglo-Saxon authors about living (and sometimes loving) in Paris, complete with wry observations on the French and their culture, and on the follies of Anglo-Saxons adrift there. John Baxter, an Australian cultural critic married to Frenchwoman, has already had several goes at this theme: this is his latest, and it's a frustrating and irritating read. That's because it's a reasonable book which, with a bit of editing and some judicious additions and deletions, could have been a good one. As it is, the text has a rushed, unfinished, Will This Do? kind of quality to it. There's no preface thanking those who read the book in draft, which is logical enough, because it looks as though nobody did.
The first thing to say is that this is not a book of Paris walks, nor even a book about the habit of walking in Paris, along the lines of Edmund White's Le Flaneur. It's really a collection of (mostly) amusing anecdotes, loosely related to walking around the author's own Sixth Arrondisement, and showing uncomprehending American tourists the cultural landmarks. There are long digressions about other cities the author has lived in (presumably to use up space) and stories about famous American expatriates, usually drunk. On the other hand, there are no footnotes or references, no index and and no useful maps. Nearly all of the Parisians mentioned in the book, living and dead, writers, artists or just tourists, are non-French: indeed, the French figure very little in the book at all.
The book has its virtues. It is gracefully and amusingly written it is obviously based on deep knowledge of parts, at least, of the city, and some affection for it, and most of its practical advice is quite useful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By castell on 11 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After having spent some weeks in Paris this year I was looking forward to reading this book, but was disapointed as I found the title very misleading.
I was expecting to find lots of interesting off the beat information that I could investigate on my next trip. However I found the information and stories inside very run of the mill with stories that any one with a slight knowledge of Paris would be aware of.
During my time this summer I learnt a lot about Paris and its history and of it's flaneurs and I would have expected it to cover information over a larger area and not just the left bank.
Some of the anecdotes were mildly amusing but not a book I would recommend to lovers of walking in Paris
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