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Naomi Barry expresses in her first words here that she merely wishes to offer ""an introduction to pleasurable externals -- a joyous invitation to my visiting friends"". Then, taking on her hostess duties, she graciously introduces the habitue's Paris, providing the newcomer with an easy entree to unusual shops, traditional sights, happy bistros and soignee restaurants, etc., etc. The basic accoutrements of the travel book (Automobile Clubs, American Express, holidays) are here, but restrainedly: the greater part of the book is given over to relishing the less usual, or telling of behind-the-scenes history. Brocard's needlework, Bricard's keys, shops for men only, how the bistro came to be, the stories behind the Hotel de Beauvais in the Marals, how to enjoy wine (""To know wines, you must practise them"" says Alexandre Dumaine of the Hotel de la Cote d' Or), the stretch of fashion from Chanel to Au Chien Elegant, sit-down spots -- in the cafes or the Tuileries the best bench is one the terrace commanding the view of the Place de la Concorde) -- such are the intimate's shared joys. The Seine, Les Halles, the outposts of Versailles and Fountainbleau and a few other day trip possibilities are mentioned. The shops, restaurants and hotels are listed at the close of chapters; there is a final rundown by subject for the shopper at the close. As promised, a personal view of the city, not standard tourist fare but for fairly cognizant and receptive travellers with the desire to investigate discriminatingly.

Publisher: Dutton