Monday, May 2, 2011

Bonjour, Paris!

I am not on vacation. I have not moved. But I have read a book that has made a little more eager to visit Paris.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World is magical!

Maybe it's because I have always wished I had the talent to write fiction, but I would love to just move to Paris and be a writer. That's what I would tell people I did for a living while begging for a crust of bread and a sip of wine on the streets. They do that there, right?

This book. I have to say I was a bit afraid it would read like one of those pamphlets that bogs you down in facts without giving you color. I was pleasantly surprised that it read like a good friend's journal.

John Baxter, a writer who moved to Paris, stumbles into the job of walking tour guide. But he doesn't just jump into a "go to this restaurant because Hemingway liked the beer" spell. Instead, he writes of writing. There are workshops in the lovely city, though some don't exactly provide the inspiration that works for everyone.
"(Seamus O'Finnegan) suggests you buy a soft toy or a pillow and give it the name of your project. When work is going badly, you should cuddle it, or talk to it."
Anyone paying for that "advice" should contact me immediately for my "ten steps to not being suckered" private lessons. Also, you should know that those emails from an African prince/princess offering you money for a little help aren't legit.

While taking readers on a journey through the well-traveled streets, Baxter never skips a moment. I don't always believe tour guides (I like to play "stump the guide" just to see if I can see how quick of a thinker he/she is). But, Baxter is believable. I don't want a guide to rattle off historic stats to me. I want a guide who offers valuable information, like when ordering foie gras, it should be goose, not duck and that it's best with a Sauternes. This is NOT information you get from a regular guide. Also, I learned the French save the few drops of red wine left in a bottle to use as vinegar. I was so inspired, I bought a pretty bottle (pictured at right) to start saving my remnants. You would almost have to subscribe to a foodie magazine for dummies to get that! Do they make those? If not, I should get on that.

If you've been to Paris, Baxter no doubt offers up stops for your next trip. If, like me, you've only dreamed of making the trip, you'll find yourself looking at a calendar and trying to decide when you can go (my answer: when I come into the right amount of money to let me see the city the way it's meant - NOT ON A BUDGET...or when the Euro crashes). Friends, you should check out this book. It's a treat!
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