The Streets of Paris: A Guide to the City of Light Following in the Footsteps of Famous Parisians Throughout History

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From the author of Hidden Gardens of Paris, The Streets of Paris is Susan Cahill's wonderfully unique guide to present-day Paris following in the footsteps of famous Parisians through the last 800 years.

For hundreds of years, the City of Light has set the stage for larger-than-life characters—from medieval lovers Héloïse and Abelard to the defiant King Henri IV to the brilliant scientist Madame Curie, beloved chanteuse Edith Piaf, and the writer Colette. In this beautifully illustrated book, Susan Cahill recounts the lives of twenty-two famous Parisians and then takes you through the seductive streets of Paris to the quartiers where they lived and worked: their homes, the scenes of their greatest triumphs and tragedies, their favorite cafes, bars, and restaurants, and the off-the-beaten-track places where they found inspiration and love.

From Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite to the cemetery Pere Lachaise to Montmartre and the Marais, Cahill not only brings to life the bold characters of a tumultuous history and the arts of painting, music, sculpture, film, and literature, she takes you on a relaxed walking tour in the footsteps of these celebrated Parisians.

Each chapter opens with a beautiful four-color illustration by photographer Marion Ranoux, and every tour begins with a Metro stop and ends with a list of "Nearbys"—points of interest along the way, including cafes, gardens, squares, museums, bookstores, churches, and, of course, patisseries.

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About the author

SUSAN CAHILL has published several travel books on France, Italy, and Ireland, including Hidden Gardens of Paris and The Streets of Paris. She is the editor of the bestselling Women and Fiction series and author of the novel Earth Angels. She spends a few months in Paris every year.

MARION RANOUX, a native Parisienne, is an experienced freelance photographer and translator into French of Czech literature.

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Additional Information

St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Jun 6, 2017
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Travel / Europe / France
Travel / Special Interest / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Many tourists who visit Paris wish they could discover the real France, the hidden France they have read about in novels and seen in paintings at museums. They would like to visit charming villages, meet "real" French people and savor traditional French cuisine. But how to do it? And, for that matter, does this authentic France still exist?

That real France, la France profonde, does exist. Having lived for many years in Paris and speaking fluent French, I know the country well. I love France and the French people and have written this book to share what I have learned. You can follow along as I describe my walks on sections of the 180,000-kilometer network of blazed trails crisscrossing France.

In the first nine chapters of this book I recount the experiences I have had walking in nine very distinct regions of France. Individual chapters are devoted to Auvergne, Finistere-the westernmost part of Brittany, Alsace, the Cevennes Mountains, Provence, Rouergue, the Loire Valley, Emblavez and a section of the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela-the Way of Saint James.

Much of On the Trail in France is devoted to unexpectedly encountering total strangers, enjoying French food and wine, appreciating nature in all its beauty and fury and exploring French-and other-languages. I met many unforgettable characters, young and old, named and nameless. Elderly raconteurs in Auvergne and Provence. A saucy waitress in Alsace. Precocious children in Finistere and Provence. A Schoolmaster who wanted American pen-pals for his students. A bilingual lady novelist in the Gare de l'Est. Monsieur Prouff, always showing up in a different guise. A modern troubadour. Savvy businesswomen and sleepy soldiers. Students and chefs. Goatherds and dopers. A publican who was a painter. Winemakers and snail wranglers. A phony artist. Penniless pilgrims. They all pass through these pages. And I even had a brief encounter with a serial killer-without learning of his crimes until a year afterwards.

It is almost impossible to write about France without writing about food, and it is through food that we may acquire an understanding of the elusive French character that both intrigues and thwarts us. It is through food that we may grasp the meaning of one of the defining characteristics of France, the mysterious notion of terroir, which I translate as "the soul of the soil."

During my walks I ate peasant fare at rough-hewn tables and gourmet cuisine in elegant dining rooms. Steaks and game. Morels and bilberries. Snails and skate. Jerusalem artichokes. Dishes with exotic names: pounti, far, backeofe, kouign aman, landjager, pommes tapees. And who can know France without knowing her cheeses? I savored Munster and Pelardons and Cabicous, tommes and fourmes and paves. I drank lambic apple brandy in Finistere and neya sussa wine less than a week old in Alsace. A beer brewed from buckwheat. I even tracked down a wine called Clinton.

Visitors may be surprised at the diversity of languages, dialects and cultures evoked in these pages. I met people who could shift effortlessly from French into Breton, Alsatian, Occitan or Provencal. I even discovered one of the world's least-known languages, Welche, that has nothing to do with Wales.

On the Trail in France is a welcome guide for anyone in good health who practices recreational walking and desires to learn more about France and the French. It is my hope that these chapters will not only entertain and inform but encourage readers to venture off the beaten track to discover the human and natural treasures awaiting them.

To start you on your way, I have included a compendium of practical information in a separate chapter entitled "Your Walk on the Trail in France." As an additional enticement, I have included more than forty photographs illustrating some of the sights I saw...on the trail in France.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of Wilde in Love, a joyful chronicle of a year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Paris.

“What a beautiful and delightful tasting menu of a book: the kids, the plump little dog, the Italian husband. Reading this memoir was like wandering through a Parisian patisserie in a dream. I absolutely loved it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

When bestselling romance author Eloisa James took a sabbatical from her day job as a Shakespeare professor, she also took a leap that many people dream about: She sold her house and moved her family to Paris.

With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog).

Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a New York Times bestselling author and her spirited, enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.

Praise for Paris in Love

“Exhilarating and enchanting . . . brims with a casual wisdom about life.”—Chicago Tribune

“In this delightful charm-bracelet of a memoir, [Eloisa James shares] her adventures as an American suddenly immersed in all things French—food, clothes, joie de vivre.”—People

“Enchanting . . . gives the reader a sense of being immersed along with James in Paris for a year . . . you see the rain, taste the food, observe the people.”—USA Today

“This delectable confection, which includes recipes, is more than a visit to a glorious city: it is also a tour of a family, a marriage, and a love that has no borders. Très magnifique!”—Library Journal (starred review)

“A charming, funny and poignant memoir . . . steeped in Paris and suffused with love.”—Star Tribune

“Charming . . . a romance—for a city, a life, a family, and love itself.”—The Huffington Post
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