Reading: Paris

I have less I’m reading for Paris.  Mostly because originally this trip was going to be London, and then Paris came along.  Actually originally this trip was going to be Ireland… it’s complicated.  Anyway, our Paris stay is also a bit shorter than London stay, so I’ve not gone as crazy with the reading.


I have all the same things to say about the Not-For-Parents Paris Everything You Ever Wanted to Know book and the Paris with Kids books as I did for the London versions, so take a look there.  Not-For-Parents was also read by multiple family members, Paris with Kids was read by me cover-to-cover, highlighter in hand.  Love both of them.

I do want to add, that the Not-For-Parents Paris (and London) is not a sight seeing book.  It’s more interesting tidbits from history and today about the city.  The Paris one mentions the abundance of dogs as pets in Paris and how most restaurants don’t bat an eye when someone asks for water for their pooch.  It also mentions that Parisians called the Eiffel Tower “metal asparagus” originally and that the Pompidou center (modern art) has all the internal structures of the building on the outside and color coded.  Things kids will find funny or interesting or gross, and will stick in their mind.  It has been great for getting my girls more interested in the trip, in sharing their knowledge, hearing more interesting facts from me, and overall gets them vested in this whole event. And I guarantee when we walk by the Pompidou or the Arche de Triomphe, my girls will know what they are!

Also same thing to be said about DK Eyewitness Paris and Rick Steves Paris as for their London counterparts.  Except that my Rick Steves is actually an ebook on my phone.  Brilliant.  That may also be done for the London one before we go.

However there are two new books here.

Around and About Paris is similar to London Stories, maybe even better structured than its London counterpart for what I want.  Around and About Paris takes you arrondissement (neighborhood) by arrondissement and tells you the overall history and interesting bits about it.  Then several walks are mapped out for that arrondissement, that go deeper into the history and importance of what you are seeing as you go.  Love this.  This ‘Volume One’ covers arrondissements 1 through 7.  I must read 1, 6 & 7 before we go since I know we will spend a lot of our time there.  I’d love to get the whole thing done, highlighter in hand.  This may be airplane reading.  My goal is to only take 2-3 books (including guidebooks) with me on the trip – so saying I will take this with me is saying something.

Unfortunately, I have not found one specific series of books like London Stories and Around and About Paris, but have had to hunt through lists of books about different cities looking for this concept.  So, all you creative & industrious types out there – get to work.  This needs to happen!

A Traveller’s History of Paris is a march through Paris history starting in 53BC.  Each chapter is a different chunk of time, with the first chapter covering 1000 years, and successive chapters covering shorter periods of time (with just as much, if not more to be covered) until the final chapters which cover approximately 70 years.  Considering the rich history of Paris, the authors really do a good job of whittling it down to only ~250 page, and covering what would be relevant to the history lover coming for a visit.  At the end of the book is also a section that focuses on the history and significance of the major attractions.  I know I won’t get every page read, but as we book individual things – like our Eiffel Tower tickets – I read that section with a highlighter.

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