I love Paris! Decades ago, in one of my early careers, I was lucky enough to live in Paris for about two years. I walked and walked all over the city, usually with chocolate covered galette cookies for my energy boost. So, when I was given The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris, I was ready to dive in and renew my acquaintance with The City of Light.
The author, John Baxter, is an Australian writer who gives walking tours of Paris, generally centered on the literary traditions of The Left Bank and the Sixth Arrondissement. These were the haunts of Hemingway, Faulkner, Stein, Dali and their confreres. (Yes, “Midnight in Paris” is one of my favorite movies.) I lived in the “Sixieme,” about 100 meters west of the entrance to the Luxembourg Gardens. The book was a little homecoming for me.
Baxter has a relaxed, amusing style and tells a lot of great stories about the Paris he obviously loves. While it is not a guide book by any measure, you may be tempted to slip it in your pocket the next time you are in his favored quartiers to see if you can locate the venues of his anecdotes. It’s the perfect Cruisereader book, revealing the spirit of the place that the locals take for granted.
If you are new to Paris, The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris will probably nudge you closer to your first visit. If you have already been, you’ll be nodding along with Baxter’s wisdom and insights. There is probably a trip to Paris in your future. This book will tide you over until you get there.