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Quiet Corners Of Paris: Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens Hardcover – 25 Oct 2007
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A compilation of the capital's loveliest squares, libraries and secret spaces in which to reflect. (Ultratravel)
About the Author
Jean-Christophe Napias lives in Paris. Author, editor, journalist, and translator, he has created with his wife a series of guides to Paris, Paris est à nous, which has more than seventy titles. He lives in the hip and lively Bastille neighborhood, and dreams of one day moving to a house with a large garden. Until then, he looks for tranquility and nature wherever he can.
Christophe Lefébure, a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris with a master’s degree in history, combines the qualities of a writer with those of a photographer. His principal subject of study is rural life, its customs, and traditions. For several years now, he has expanded his research to Paris. His first work, La France des lavoirs, received the Grand Prix Littéraire du Tourisme.
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Top customer reviews
I have been to Paris many times before, and thought I knew the city well. I even imagined that I knew it's quiet spots. I was wrong. Here, arranged by `arrondissement' is a brief but compelling guide to spots you might otherwise miss in the rush to `Do Paris' in a few days.
Skip lunch at a crowded restaurant once or twice during your stay, and instead buy yourself a baguette and something devilishly sweet from one of the many pastry shops (and even a bottle of wine) and head for one of these `Quiet Corners'. Or take a pre-dinner stroll around Montmartre, as described in this volume.
The book gives you just enough insight into the location, without being dry and historic. No maps are to be found within, but you're bound to have a map anyway, so no biggie there.
I have to say that the book isn't the best value `new', as it is small and not a lot of use to you outside of Paris. I bought mine `used' for a lot less than the cover price.
The other titles on Paris by the same publisher are all well worth a look. Again, best to find a `used' copy if you can.
If you simply can't make it to Paris, then this book will actually make a nice coffee table read. Imaginary trips to Paris are so much cheaper, and you won't have to put up with rude waiters.....
I only visited one suggestion, the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand Veneur, dubbed in the 'top three' by the writer. 'The spot has everything going for it..' Well, it doesn't say that it's a few blocks north of the Place des Vosges - that might have been helpful, along with a sketchy map of sorts. I headed up there and actually walked past the anonymous looking Jardin, thinking, wouldn't it be funny if that turned out to be the place! Then I doubled back and saw that it was! It's a small garden, about 30ft x 30ft surrounded by stone coloured tenemant blocks. There's a bit of graffiti on the gate, a bored and unsociable ginger cat skulking around and a couple of drunks talking loudly on the bench. No view or prospect whatsoever. Seriously, you'd be better off in the Place de Vosges with the sun and the fountains. It's a bit noisier but you don't feel you have to have the place to yourself to concentrate on your book.
If that was the top 3, I don't much fancy the other suggested venues!
I've been in Paris enough times to know a lot of the places listed and certainly agree with their inclusion--and would add that they are mostly worth a special trip to see. A special favorite of mine is the Lutece Roman Arena. The book/guide made me want to head for the outer neighbors, particularly the heights (buttes) where a view of the city is a reward for the trip out.
Anything missing from the book? Yep, sure. More descriptions of the "quiet corners'" contexts (neighborhoods, districts, etc.) would have been useful. A lot more could be said about various galleries (historic malls) . The Vero-Dodat is included but Galerie Vivienne and others are not. No mention of the St. Martin Canal nor the Rodin Museum, though arguably these two city sites are not precisely quiet corners at all times.
Overall though it's hard to quarrel with the places chosen or the author's editorial comments about them. They are all visit-worthy, especially if you're in Paris for more than 48 hours.
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Now we just have to visit Paris to check out the locations.What a chore!!"
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