City Secrets - Paris

 

Every Francophile should automatically love this book because it doesn't seem to matter how often you visit the city of light, nor how great an expert you feel yourself to be, there is always – always - some hidden corner, some new discovery, some nuance which comes to light.

And who better to unearth these than this city's habitues. Here we have a roll-call of 150 people who know Paris intimately and who have been cajoled into sharing their closely-held secrets about the city they love. So you have journalists and editors, novelists, artists, architects, a history professor emeritus, an oenologist, art aficionados, foodlovers and chefs, and many others who eagerly answered the call to shine light into hitherto little-known corners of this grand city.

Here is an apéritif: in these pages you will be led to a secret garden near the Marché des Enfants Rouges, a subterranean museum to delight your children (or the child in you), and Pére-Lachaise, the miniature city of the dead. There is so much more - places to stroll, shop, linger over a coffee or pick up a pastry; museums, mausoleums, markets and memorials that honour the heroes and saints of the past.

Like the city itself, this book is hard to resist, and with it in hand and, using its clearly-marked maps for each chapter, Paris will surely become even more richly alive.

City Secrets - Paris, the essential insider's guide, edited by Robert Kahn, published by Granta, June 2014, rrp A$24.99, hardcover, ISBN 978 09835 40083.

 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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