Director of Philanthropy, Carter Hedberg, recommends Paris: Secret Gardens, Hidden Places and Stories of the City of Light by Mary McAuliffe.
Bonjour mes amis!
I have been a Francophile since childhood. By the fifth grade, I had established a lasting relationship with my French pen pal; I studied a semester in Paris while in college; and have visited France as often as my budget and schedule allowed.
I love Paris and I adore this enchanting new travel book, Paris: Secret Gardens, Hidden Places and Stories of the City of Light by historian and author Mary McAuliffe.
This is not your typical travel book. It doesn’t simply offer brief snippets describing the greatest hits of Paris, nor is it filled with lots of glossy color photographs. Instead, it is a thoughtful, well-written, and detailed book that invites the reader on a journey below the surface of the City of Lights …
Each chapter focuses on a different neighborhood or arrondissement of Paris and recommends a location to begin your exploration of that area. For example, the chapter, The Heart of Paris, McAuliffe has you descend the steep steps from the Pont Neuf bridge on the western tip of lle de la Cite´ to an oasis she treasures, the Square du Vert-Galant. She then continues to describe this tiny triangular park lushly and vividly, including the type of experience you are likely to encounter if you visit. She also provides the history of the area filled with fascinating anecdotes that bring it to life. Your journey progresses as you move to the next location on this historic island situated in the middle of the river Seine. And so, each lovely chapter goes on.
McAuliffe also includes stunning black and white photos which evoke a since of nostalgia and romanticism and compliment her narrative and writing style. She concludes with this sentence, “And it is here that I will leave you, to enjoy the peace and beauty of this spot, and to continue your own explorations of the secret gardens, hidden places, and stories of Paris.” This is a book I wish I had had on my first visit to Paris and will definitely bring with me for my next.
À la prochaine!