David Downie’s A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light is one of the best books about Paris published this year, in my humble opinion. It may be the best. David will talk about it and Romantic Paris next week at the American Library in Paris and, if you’re in the city on Oct. 7, you should go hear him. Don’t miss it.
I reviewed the book last May on this blog, and nothing I’ve seen since has changed my mind. Read the book.
It focuses on the period when Paris developed into the city we Americans think of as truly Paris — the nineteenth century from Victor Hugo onward. That was the Romantic period, and romantic it truly was.
Downie’s knowledge of the city is encyclopedic, as you’d expect from someone who’s lived in and written about it for decades. He and his wife Alison Harris, an outstanding photographer who contributes to his work as well as having her own practice, also offer walking tours of the city, which I’ve taken. They are excellent. Take a look at his site.
See his presentation. Read the book. It’s worth the time.
By the way, his Paris, Paris is still my favorite Paris book. Take a look.