SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS by John Baxter
Kirkus Star

SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS

Paris's Rebel Quarter
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Baxter (Hemingway's Paris: A User's Guide, 2016, etc.) provides another delightful salute to Paris.

Born in Australia, the author first traveled to Paris in 1969. Now married with a daughter, he lives in Saint-Germain-des-Prés village. The area managed to avoid much of Baron Haussmann’s destructive urban renewal, which leaves it with lots of quaint corners filled with shops and fascinating history. As a Paris walking guide, the author delights with anecdotes both historical and current. He takes us through the Cour de Rohan and the Cour du Commerce Saint-André, making even seasoned travelers feel as if no one else knew of their existence. Baxter notes that publisher Jean-Paul Marat’s print shop was at No. 8, while at No. 6, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin perfected his killing device, “on which hundreds would die until France abandoned capital punishment in 1981.” Among other highlights in the area are chocolatier Debauve, which embossed Marie Antoinette’s sweets with gold; the 18th-century restaurant and salon Privés La Pérouse; Miss Betty’s Brothel; and the unnamed “beat hotel” that “attracted some significant literary figures of the postwar era.” The author doesn’t just note the best places to eat; he differentiates between a brasserie and a bistro and informs us what to eat where. For fans of the bohemian life and 1920s lost generation stars, there are numerous spots to seek out, including the trails of stars like Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Isadora Duncan, and her even stranger brother, Raymond. As in previous books, the author makes readers feel as they are returning to a familiar, comfortable spot in the company of good friends.

Whether you’re planning your first trip to Paris or absolutely have to stop in Paris on your way anywhere, this book, in addition to the author’s previous guides, is essential.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-243190-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2016




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