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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite cafés of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso's underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling ...

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The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris

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Overview

In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving "literary walking tours" through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris's legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite cafés of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso's underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling boulevards of the late-nineteenth-century flâneurs; the secluded "Little Luxembourg" gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; the alleys where revolutionaries plotted; and finally Baxter's own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Paris, by custom and design, is a pedestrian's city—each block a revelation, every neighborhood a new feast for the senses, a place rich with history and romance at every turn. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is your guide, par excellence, to the true, off-the-beaten-path heart of the City of Lights.

Includes an excerpt from John Baxter's new book The Perfect Meal.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Biographer and critic Baxter serves as an inestimable guide to the boulevards, alleys, and streets of the City of Lights in this lovingly crafted and gorgeous memoir of his strolls in Paris. For Baxter, as for the flaneurs who have come before him, a walk in Paris is a succession of instants, any one of which can illuminate a lifetime; every stroll through the city reveals yet another element of the city. With great humor and affection, he recreates numerous walks through various sections, regaling us with tales of expatriate writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce, who called the city their own. He guides us from the Luxembourg Gardens, whose shadows and light recall for him the story of Henri Désiré Landru, the murderer who arranged his initial meetings with his victims in the gardens, to the catacombs, the underground cemeteries that now function as sanitized tourist attractions. Acknowledging that his personal most beautiful walk is the one down his own street, the rue de l'Odeon, since stepping onto its sidewalks is to wade into literary history (the printer Nicholas Bonneville sheltered the pamphleteer Thomas Paine here while Paine composed The Rights of Man), he reminds readers that walking around Paris is an art and that one who walks in Paris writes a new history with each step. (June)
Chicago Tribune
“A lovely book ... Full of unexpected pleasures ...Parisians claim that walking walking around Paris is an art form in itself, and Baxter proves them right.
Newsday
“A man with a great appreciation of what makes Paris tick.”
NPR.org
“Fabulous . . . the perfect companion for anyone inspired to hop over to France after seeing Midnight in Paris
Christian Science Monitor
“One of the smartest nonfiction titles for summer reading ... Baxter tracks both the city’s history and the many celebrated figures who have savored the art of walking in one of the world’s most beautiful capitals.”
Boston Globe
“A splendid memoir ... Reading The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is the next best thing to a Paris vacation.”
USA Today
“Anyone who loves Paris and loves to walk will feel this book was written just for them. ... Charming.”
Los Angeles Times
“We are the beneficiaries of John Baxter’s considerable, vivid love for the expatriate life in Paris. ... The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is as close as a reader can get to the feel of a languid spring walk along Baron Haussmann’s boulevards.”
Library Journal
Australian writer Baxter continues his entertaining series on Paris (Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas; We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light) with a book that is part history, part memoir, and part tour guide. Indeed, Baxter, who is also a film critic, has a second career conducting walking tours, and amusing anecdotes from his tours are interspersed among darker tales of Paris—the dank tunnels of the bone-filled catacombs, the serial murderer Henri Landru, and the street gangs, or Apaches, of the early 1900s. Sprinkled with stories of his many fellow expatriates, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the occasional mouthwatering description of food, Baxter's elegant prose evokes a moody Paris, alive with jazz, still and gray in a snowstorm, revolutionary and subversive. The book concludes with a chapter on useful tips for the traveler. VERDICT Baxter has written a pleasant addition to the vast array of Parisian memoirs, suitable for large travel collections and die-hard Francophiles, especially those who enjoyed his earlier books on Paris.—Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams
Kirkus Reviews

Memoirist, biographer and translator Baxter (Von Sternberg,2010, etc.) turns his sensuous walking tours of Paris into the written word, with gratifying results.

The author does what he does best—short chapters that explore some engaging nugget of Parisian culture or history, in a pace and voice that are both gentle. Goaded by a friend to put his voluminous knowledge of Paris to use as a walking-tour guide to literary and other artistic haunts, he accepted the challenge and found a calling. Baxter enjoys amusing and being amused, and he has pocketfuls of colorful background stories that create atmosphere. He is of the Henry Miller school—give him the boulevards known for sex and crime, food and drink, the opium dens and the absinthe bars, the art galleries selling salacious photographs—and he pulls it all off with an air of charm and calm. On his tours, the plans are open-ended; he digresses as needs be, perhaps into a story about how the lock to his house broke when he was about to leave for Christmas Eve at his relatives', or the curious interlude with a performance artist claiming to have known Marlene Dietrich. Readers can feel his elation at being out and about, experiencing the antique weather in the small passageways, cruising down Haussmann's sidewalks, dropping into cafés famous and obscure and exploring anything Hemingway. He is theflâneur's flâneur: "Visitors didn't wanttheirParis. They wantedmine. Plenty of time when they got home to read Flaubert or a history of the French Revolution. What they wanted now was to reach out and touch the living flesh—to devour and be devoured."

Walking through Paris with Baxter is really what bien-être is all about.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062092052
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 135,137
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

John Baxter has lived in Paris for more than twenty years. He is the author of four acclaimed memoirs about his life in France: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France; The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris; Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas; and We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light. Baxter, who gives literary walking tours through Paris, is also a film critic and biographer whose subjects have included the directors Fellini, Kubrick, Woody Allen, and most recently, Josef von Sternberg. Born in Australia, he lives with his wife and daughter in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, in the same building Sylvia Beach called home.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Paris forever

    What a joy. A delightful view of the City of Lights. Reading this book will slow you down as you walk togeather with the author. We will always have Paris!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    For the lover of all things Parisian this book is highly recommended. You will close your eyes and feel you are in Paris.

    Take a stroll or two with John down streets you will always remember whether you visit Paris or now in your lifetime. You will feel certain you have been there after reading this book.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    First read...

    I am not sure I can really give this an adequite review, having read it only once. There is so much to think about, so much alien to my experience, having not seen Paris from this view. This book must be read and longed over, and over again, much as one would do with a lover.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2013

    The book is definitely an inspiration for people who wants to tr

    The book is definitely an inspiration for people who wants to travel to Paris. The descriptions of the place in this book are truly inspiring and could be enticing for people to go pack up and then travel to Paris right away. Paris is different in many ways and people can be affected and mesmerized by its beauty. No wonder the author has done a good job describing it through this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2014

    Room 5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Mariah

    There

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    I bought this when I was planning a trip to Paris and wanted to

    I bought this when I was planning a trip to Paris and wanted to read a lot of books about paris. I found this to be a bit boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Zeyna to Jackie

    Hey.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Hitler

    Marching to greece.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 2, 2011

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