Why did I love this book?
People often ask me what is the best book to take with them to Paris if they can only take one, and this is the book I always recommend. This collection of essays, which can easily fit into a purse or a backpack, is brimming over with fascinating stories about “the people, places, and phenomena” of Paris. Downie’s encyclopedic knowledge of history, and the idiosyncratic curiosity that draws him (and his readers along with him) into a variety of offbeat situations make for fun as well as highly informative reading. It’s a great book to take with you to read in Paris, or sitting at home dreaming of or remembering Paris—and the selection of topics is varied enough that I believe there’s something in it to interest almost anyone.