Friday, July 29, 2011

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World - John Baxter

Title: The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
Author: John Baxter
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Published Date: June 2011
FTC: I asked Harper Perennial to read and review

Short and sweet - go read now, then re-read, then book a flight to Paris and read on the plane.

My goodness I loved this book.  Thank you John Baxter.

Back of the book:

In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite café of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso's underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling boulevards of the late-nineteenth-century flÂneurs; the secluded "Little Luxembourg" gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; the alleys where revolutionaries plotted; and finally Baxter's own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Paris, by custom and design, is a pedestrian's city—each block a revelation, every neighborhood a new feast for the senses, a place rich with history and romance at every turn. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is your guide, par excellence, to the true, off-the-beaten-path heart of the City of Lights.

My thoughts:

I had asked Harper to read and review this book because, well look at the cover with the beautiful art nouveau swirls.  When I saw that Carl V. also has this on his wish list, I even thought of sending him my copy.  Sorry Carl, I'm totally in love with this book and am keeping it.  It's so worth $14.99.

I had thought that this would be a list of the most beautiful places in Paris to take a stroll.  I was so wrong and it's so much better than that.

John Baxter is an amazing writer.  From the get go, he makes you realize that finding the most beautiful walk in Paris is different for everyone because everyone has their own perspective.  Is it strolling down St Germain or sitting at a café in the Luxembourg Gardens?  Peppered with his own stories, historical anecdotes, and black and white pictures scattered throughout the book -- sigh.  THIS is what I wanted my Paris in July read to be all about.  Talk about an armchair travel book.

Sit back, pick up this book and just enjoy the ride.  There were so many notes I wanted to take - passages to jot down and places I wanted to remember so I could visit whenever I next go to Paris.  But I decided to just savor this first read.  I'm planning on re-reading this lovely little book and take notes...books I should read, places I want to visit, food (THE FOOD!) and drinks I want to goes on an on.

John Baxter is available for giving literary walking tours - or whatever kind of tour you want.  One of the funny personal anecdotes he writes about it giving a trio of ladies from Texas not a literary tour but a culinary tour of Paris.  I would love to go on a tour with John Baxter - or just meet him in a café over café creme or a rum St James and just listen to his stories.

He's an obvious fan of Hemingway.  John Baxter even wrote a book that I'm dying to read called Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas.  I actually ran (well drove) to the library and checked out and read A Moveable Feast.  I love when books inspire you to read, eat, drink, and learn more about something. 

Check out John Baxter's website for more information about his tours and his Paris. 

Check out Harper Perennial for more information about John Baxter.

Also Reviewed by:

The Novel World
Starting Fresh

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