Access Paris

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With Access Paris, your visit will be an easy, enjoyable experience—the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs Elysées, and Montmartre are at your fingertips.

Access Paris has been divided and organized ...

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With Access Paris, your visit will be an easy, enjoyable experience—the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs Elysées, and Montmartre are at your fingertips.

Access Paris has been divided and organized into neighborhoods, so you know where you are and where you're headed.

Unique color-coded and numbered entries allow you to discover the best:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Attractions
  • Shopping sights
  • Parks and Outdoor Spaces

Large, easy-to-read maps with entry numbers keyed to text ensure that you will instantly find what you must not miss.

Access is your indispensable walk-around guide to Paris. Our writers, who live in and love the city, will lead you by the hand down the remarkable streets, sharing the unforgettable sights and pointing out the undiscovered gems and all the majestic landmarks that only Paris has to offer.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061470615
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Series: Access Guide Series
  • Edition description: Updated
  • Edition number: 11
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 519,435
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

With the publication of his first book in 1962 at the age of 26, Richard Saul Wurman began the singular passion of his life: that of making information understandable. A holder of both M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, he has been awarded several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Graham Fellowships & two Chandler Fellowships. In 1991, Richard Saul Wurman received the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT for his creation of the ACCESS travel guides. In 1994, he was named a Fellow of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland & awarded a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. In 1995, he received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Art Center College of Design & was Chairman of Graphic Design & Product/Industrial Design of the1995 Presidential Design Awards.

Richard Saul Wurman continues to be a regular consultant to major corporations in matters relating to the design & understanding of information. He is married to novelist Gloria Nagy, has 4 children & lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Table of Contents

Orientation 4
The Islands: lle de la Cite and lle St-Louis 20
The Latin Quarter 40
St-Germain 68
Eiffel Tower/Invalides 110
The Louvre and the Champs-Elysees 138
St-Honore 178
Les Halles, Marais, and the Bastille 218
Montmartre 264
Additional Highlights 280
Day Trips 294
History 301
Index 305
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First Chapter

Access Paris 9e


Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes," wrote novelist Henry James. Indeed, the richness and variety of France's capital elevates even the necessities of life to works of art. Parisians seem to perform such everyday routines as eating and dressing with vitality and flair. The streets themselves are museums lined with splendid architecture and historic monuments, making even the simple act of walking through the city one of life's greatest pleasures.

Paris is located in the north-central part of France in the Ile-de-France region, in the Seine river valley. Covering only 105 square kilometers (40 square miles) and populated by over 2 million people, it is France's largest city and the densest of all European capitals. It is roughly circular in shape and bounded by the Boulevard Périphérique, a ring road on the site of mid–19th-century fortifications that once defined the city limits.

Cutting across the whole map is a 7-mile stretch of the Seine that separates Paris into two distinct areas, the northern Rive Droite (Right Bank) and the southern Rive Gauche (Left Bank). The Seine unites rather than divides the city; Paris is linked by no fewer than 26 bridges in the city center alone. The quays are lined with fine apartment and town houses, bouquinistes (booksellers) and street artists, such world-class museums as the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, and dazzling monuments, including the Tour Eiffel and the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. The Seine is alive with commercial barges and bateaux mouches (small passenger steamers) taking sightseers up- and downriver to enjoy the panoramas, and the riverbanks are animated with people promenading along their course.

Each of the city's 20 arrondissements (quarters) boasts its own distinct character, so Paris feels less like a monstrous metropolis and more like a score of small towns. Travel from the villagelike atmosphere of Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, or the Marais to the grandeur of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Hôtel des Invalides; from the haute couture shopping areas along the Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré and the Boulevard St-Germain to the trendy regions around the Bastille and Les Halles; and to the two islands that form the physical and spiritual heart of the city, the Ile de la Cité and the Ile St-Louis. In Paris, the past is ever present, and a stroll through the city of today is also a journey back in time.

Paris is an ancient city, more than 2,000 years old. Begun as a village named Lutetia and inhabited by a tribe called the Parisii, it was subsequently settled by the Romans and then became the capital city of the kingdom of the Franks. Under Charlemagne, the capital of France was moved to Aix-la-Chapelle, but Paris regained its capital status in 987 under Hughues Capet, the first of the Capetian line of kings. During the Middle Ages, the city was an intellectual and religious center, but it lapsed into chaos during the Hundred Years' War with England (1337-1453), a period that also saw outbreaks of the bubonic plague.

The city again flourished during the Renaissance and saw significant expansion and development under the Bourbon kings of the 17th and 18th centuries. Although Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles in the late 17th century, Paris enjoyed great wealth and power during his reign, known as Le Grand Siècle (the Great Century). Under Louis XV, Paris emerged as a center for culture and ideas, the arts flourished, and such intellectuals as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and Montesquieu were renowned throughout Europe. At the end of the 18th century, however, the extravagances of Louis XVI and his court led to the French Revolution and the bloodbath known as the Reign of Terror.

The instability following the revolution allowed General Napoléon Bonaparte to seize control of the French government, and by 1804 he had proclaimed himself emperor of France and set about making Paris the most magnificent city in the world. After Napoléon's defeat at Waterloo and subsequent exile, the Bourbon monarchy took one last gasp; then Napoléon's nephew assumed power, declaring himself Napoléon III in 1851. Like his uncle, he undertook a vast urbanization program. Unfortunately, however, he also embroiled the country in a succession of wars, culminating in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, during which Paris suffered under siege and famine. The insurrection that followed France's capitulation to Prussia in 1871 saw violent massacres in Paris.

By the end of the 19th century, Paris had recovered and was once again a driving force in Western culture. This optimistic period, known as the Belle Epoque (Beautiful Age), was captured in the work of the Impressionist painters. In the early part of this century, Paris became a mecca for intellectuals, artists, and philosophers, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre. After being occupied by the Germans, the city emerged from World War II with relatively little damage to its buildings and monuments. The 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s saw the construction of numerous modern buildings in Paris; more recently, there were the grands projets of the late Socialist president François Mitterrand.

Paris continues to evolve, in the 21st century, as one of Europe's most modern cities, yet it is at the same time an ancient city, with reminders of its remarkable history evident at every turn. The artistic and cultural capital of a unified Europe, the Paris of today offers a wealth of beauty and experiences. Few visitors fail to succumb to the splendor of this city, made even more appealing by the Parisian's love of grace, beauty, and fine living.

Access Paris 9e. Copyright © by Richard Saul Wurman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 31, 2012

    The Best Paris Guide!

    "Access Paris" is consistently the best guide to Paris and her environs! Up-to-date and honest information about restaurants, hotels, shopping , sites. It is always my "go to" guide when I'm going to Paris!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Access Paris

    Fantastic book for either the novice traveller or the most experienced. I have used it many times and have multiple copies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    Inconsistent editing.

    I have used these guides with satisfaction for many years. This year, feeling that my 2001 version would be out of date, I purchased an update--2006--for $21.95. Now we all know that it is virtually impossible as an editor to keep up with the information in travel guides. For example, Harper cannot not be criticized because in the 2006 edition the Musee Branley (opening in 2006, but long anticipated) is not mentioned. But I do expect more than I encountered here. On page 113, for example, in describing the Palais de Chaillot, it says, 'At press time, the left wing of the palace was closed for a major renovation it is expected to reopen sometime in 2003. . . .' Obviously, the press time for a 2006 edition was not 2002 or earlier! (On the other hand, a restaurant listed on p. 125 which opened in 2005, was mentioned. So some editing went on.) In 2005, while visiting Paris I looked for a restaurant listed in the earlier edition called the Bar au Sel 'p.115'. It was no longer there. But when the 2006 edition continues to list the restaurant, one knows that the editing is inadequate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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