A Passion for Paris

A Passion for Paris

Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Book - 2015
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"'A top-notch walking tour of Paris. The author's encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its artists grants him a mystical gift of access: doors left ajar and carriage gates left open foster his search for the city's magical story. Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences'--Kirkus Reviews (starred); A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie's irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world's most romantic city--and has been for over 150 years. Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city's allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures and challenges. Rarely do visitors suspect the glamor and chic and the carefree atmosphere of the City of Light grew from and still feed off the dark fountainheads of riot, rebellion, mayhem and melancholy--and the subversive literature, art and music of the Romantic Age. Weaving together his own with the lives and loves of Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Balzac, Nadar and other great Romantics, Downie delights in the city's secular romantic pilgrimage sites asking, Why Paris, not Venice or Rome--the tap root of 'romance'--or Berlin, Vienna and London--where the earliest Romantics built castles-in-the-air and sang odes to nightingales? Read A Passion for Paris : Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light and find out"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Press, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250043153
1250043158
Branch Call Number: 944.361 D7511p 2015
Characteristics: xiv, 304 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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ChristchurchLib Feb 09, 2016

A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie's irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world's most romantic city--and has been for over 150 years. Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city's allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures and challenges. Rarely do visitors suspect the glamour and chic and the carefree atmosphere of the City of Light grew from and still feed off the dark fountainheads of riot, rebellion, mayhem and melancholy--and the subversive literature, art and music of the Romantic Age.

c
CecileSune
Apr 09, 2015

A Passion for Paris by David Downie takes us on a tour of Paris from the Père-Lachaise Cemetery to Montmartre. Instead of writing about the famous American expatriates of the 1920s, the author chose to shed light on the Romantics of the 19th century: Félix Nadar, Victor Hugo, Charles Beaudelaire, Honoré de Balzac, George Sand, Eugène Delacroix, Alexandre Dumas, Émile Zola, etc.

David Downie guides us through the City of Light to show us where the Romantics lived, worked, loved and died. I found it fascinating how all these artists knew each other and were friends, lovers or enemies. In fact, they all lived within walking distance of each other, and most of their apartments, houses or studios are still standing. Some have been converted into museums, but others are privately owned.

The author has an impressive knowledge of the writers and artists of the time. In addition, he is not afraid of exploring sites normally not open to the public. His wife, Alison Harris, took most of the photographs that appear in the book, and they illustrate the text perfectly. I must say though that I found a few chapters to be a bit too long, especially the one about Paris’ architecture. It didn’t interest me as much as the rest of the book. In the end though, A Passion for Paris will appeal to Francophiles interested in French art and literature.

A Passion for Paris was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.

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