Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James

Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James

by David Downie
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Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James by David Downie

Part adventure story, part cultural history, an exploration of the phenomenon of pilgrimage along the age-old Way of Saint James in France.
Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises, David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques and trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, their eccentric route takes seventy-two days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths—a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from paris to the pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605985565
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/15/2014
Pages: 317
Sales rank: 633,111
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Downie

has called Paris and the Marais home since
1986. He has written for over 50 publications worldwide including Bon Appétit,
The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country Travel, The San Francisco Chronicle,, and He is the author of the critically acclaimed
Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, three Terroir guides, as well as several cookbooks and crime novels. He lives with his wife, Alison Harris, a photographer, and creates custom tours via his "Paris, Paris Tours" blog site:

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Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heard the author on NPR, read the book, wonderful! Quirky is a word that comes to mind. Original is another. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I enjoyed reading this book, I became weary after a while trying to visualize the trek. I googled the towns they were in and even found some of the inns where they stayed. That helped. I did enjoy the author's wry sense of humor, but would be hesitant to recommend it except to people who would love ancient history's connection to modern France.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seldom do I want to read a book twice, but this book is definitely going to be read again. I enjoyed it so much. There is a lot of history here as well as getting to know the author and his wife. Plus the pictures!!! Had to buy the book for a friend. She wanted to borrow my book and I wasn't willing to give it up!!
elpablo More than 1 year ago
This a great tale of two people (David Downie and his wife, Alison Harris, as photographer and soul-mate) wandering through central France to the start of the traditional route for the Camino de Santiago in the Pyrenees. His sensitivity for the people, region, environment and understanding of history is what made it most interesting and well worth recommending to others. I appreciated the fact the story wasn't your typical wandering hiking adventure tale of a middle aged man/women searching for the meaning of life, or their lives. Though some of this does come thru as it would for anyone hiking for 3 months - but in a way it was totally natural. Their attitude was generally upbeat and a joy to be around (vicariously of course). And if a day had been bad or good - the writing was good enough that you knew it had been a great day or bad day without the author having to explain why. The books is not a "how-to" guide in how to physically do a similar trip more of a "how-to" enjoy an adventure like this - which is great. Thank goodness the book was not bogged down on equipment reviews, preparation for doing the hike, endless complaints of all things negative that we know happens on a multiday adventure or even what shoes or clothes to wear. (Though I was curious how they kept their clothes clean since they carried so little and there was no mention of laundering or days off to take care those types of things). I did not look at any of the wonderful photographs until the end (my mistake), they are great and really do convey the adventure in a way that matches up with the writing. Great, enjoyable read.