Book review: Paris, Paris – I love France #82


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Paris, Paris:
Journey into the City of Light

Paris Paris

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this audiobook for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
Paris, Paris:
Journey into the City of Light
David Downie
Narrated by Max WinterPub. Date: 2011
By Blackstone Audio
Duration:  9:58 hours

ISBN of the paperback:

Genre: Nonfiction/Travel
Audiobook Jukebox


This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     books-on-france-14   New author challenge 2014-Audio-Book-Challenge-Button


rating system


With all the nonfiction books I have recently read on Paris, you would think I know it all, and I would be rather blasée about it. Far from it! When I saw Audiobook Jukebox had Paris Paris available for review, I did not hesitate.

David Downie has been living in central Paris since 1986. His book is rich of all the walks he has been taking there, attentive to every detail around him. Honestly, I have found in this book information I had NEVER encountered any where else.

There’s a great balance between history, art, culture, and all kinds of anecdotes. I particularly enjoyed the way he highlighted what each recent French president changed in Paris, as far as architecture or city planning is concerned. This is an original and very interesting way of looking at the city of light, and I highly recommend it to any Paris lover.

My dream now would be to have a guided tour of Paris nooks and crannies with David and his wife Alison. David, if you are reading this review, let’s plan something!

My thoughts about the Audiobook production

No hesitation here: READ the book, don’t listen to it!
It started not too badly, but then I started noticing more and more weird ways of pronouncing French names. Honestly, if you are going to narrate professionally a book on Paris, aren’t you going to check with natives how to pronounce famous subway stations for instance, or Parisian neighborhoods? And be consistent about it? Why le Marais [the correct pronunciation rimes with the way Americans talk about valET parking] should suddenly turn into le “marI”, riming with the personal pronoun I?
The tone of voice was also often either dull or oozing ironic contempt, and I did not appreciate this too much.
Too bad for this author. I had actually tried to listen to his book on Burgundy, and gave up because of the narrator!
So I’ll definitely go back to David Downie’s books, he also has a tempting one on the Camino, the walk to Saint James of Compostella, but I will definitely NOT listen to them.

What do you think? If you know well another language, how do you react when professional narrators are not doing a god job in that language?
Are my expectations too high or what?
Let me know what you think!


 Swapping his native San Francisco for the City of Light, travel writer David Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket, his head full of romantic notions. Curiosity and the legs of a cross-country runner propelled him daily from an unheated, seventh-floor walk-up garret near the Champs-Elysées to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Père-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Île Saint-Louis midstream in the Seine.
Downie wound up living in the chic Marais district, married to the Paris-born American photographer Alison Harris, an equally incurable walker and chronicler. Ten books and a quarter-century later, he still spends several hours every day rambling through Paris, and writing about the city he loves.  An irreverent, witty romp featuring thirty-one short prose sketches of people, places and daily life, Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light ranges from the glamorous to the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city. [Goodreads]



David Downie

You can visit his blog here,
and it has links to his author’s page
and other goodies






Just a reminder :

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)



9 thoughts on “Book review: Paris, Paris – I love France #82

  1. Pingback: 2014 – Books on France challenge – My list | Words And Peace

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  4. Oh, another great book on Paris! If you’re looking for more books on France, you might consider Paris Letters. It’s pretty light nonfiction, but I enjoyed it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your reviews at Non-fiction Friday!


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