Shelf Life
June 1, 2011 |  by Lew Diuguid

Five Hundred Buildings of Paris

Text by Kathy Borrus, A&S ’98 (MA), photos by Jorg Brockmann and James Driscoll (Black Dog & Leventhal)

At 3 pounds and over 600 slick pages, this guidebook extraordinaire is worth any overage on your flight to Paris. Maps and photos are arranged according to the city’s 20 arrondissements, with Île de la Cité and La Défense as bonus chapters. This reasoned approach distills the enormity of Paris into accessible walking tours. One-paragraph histories of each building and neighborhood tell walkers all they are likely to absorb between cafe stops—with evocative images of architectural curiosities along the way.

French Lessons coverFrench Lessons

By Ellen Sussman, A&S ’78 (MA) (Ballantine Books)

If your purpose in Paris is romance, tuck these 256 pulpy pages—in their way, a guidebook, too—in a pocket. The novel accompanies three Americans who find that flings are the thing in the city by the Seine. The male falls in with a lovely tutor his actress wife hired to sharpen his skills in the local idiom—proving that a little French can go a long way. Rendezvous culminate in the beds of various locals, and these chapters also start with maps of Paris. But the love and sex lost and found here are universal.