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Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James

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Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, their eccentric route takes 72 days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths — a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. It is best known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela — “The Way” for short. The object of any pilgrimage is an inward journey manifested in a long, reflective walk. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from Paris to the Pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way. 32 pages of color photographs by Alison Harris.

Review:

"Beautifully written and refreshingly original. Curious and attentive to detail, Downie is appreciative yet unflinching in describing his adopted home." David Armstrong

Review:

"Brilliant, witty and stylish." Sandra M. Gilbert, author of Kissing the Bread

Review:

"Perhaps the most evocative American book about Paris since A Moveable Feast." Jan Morris

Review:

"David Downie is the master of educated curiosity. With him we discover Paris, a seemingly public city that is, in fact, full of secrets — great lives, lives wasted on the bizarre; forgotten artisans; lost graves. I have walked some of the city’s streets with him, and reading this book is just as tactile an experience." Michael Ondaatje

Review:

"In the tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor, David Downie takes off on foot. Such a rigorous, slow journey — the polar opposite of airport-to-airport travel — gives him the gift of time, and the chance to absorb, taste, and experience the places he sees. Downie’s adroit, learned, and ambitious book re-invigorates my sense of travel, taking me back to the happy knowledge that the world is still large, and history unfathomably deep." National Geographic Traveler

Review:

"Bristling with knowledge and often with the insights of good fiction, Downie takes you on a trip that is as much a compelling intellectual journey as it is a rich revelation of place. It’s a hard book to put down." G. Y. Dryansky, author of Coquilles, Calva and Creme

Review:

"Evocative and moving…Downie’s quest is unconventional in tone and spirit as well as route. A lively wordsmith, Downie brings a deep and impassioned knowledge of French history, culture, and language to this pilgrimage. He also brings something more, a longing that he himself can’t pin down at the beginning…they encounter a memorable succession of taciturn, deep-rooted local farmers and gregarious, transplanted-from-Paris innkeepers. They also encounter the multi-layered, interweaving pathways of French history, commerce, religion, and spirituality — and manage to tuck in a few sumptuous celebrations of French food and wine, too. The result is an extraordinary account that illuminates France past and present and casts a light on something even greater: the truth that, however we choose to label our journey, we are all pilgrims on a common quest, to answer why we wander life’s question-paved path." Don George

Review:

"A wonderful book: historically, culturally and spiritually fascinating, refreshingly honest without being self-aggrandizing, full of humor and sharp observation of the people and the landscape. Downie is a great companion on the road." Anton Gill, author of The Sacred Scroll

Review:

"David Downie’s pilgrimage/anti-pilgrimage has two things no one else does. One is his inimitable wit. The other: he travels not just in space, but in time, creating constant delightful surprise and reassuring familiarity. An atheist who starts the Way of Saint James necessarily sees the world with a certain irony. One who finishes the trail from Paris to the Spanish border won’t let that irony consume him. It is the conversation between the two that makes this such a special book." Imogen Robertson, author of Instruments of Darkness

Synopsis:

Part adventure story, part cultural history the author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light explores the phenomenon of pilgrimage along the age-old Way of Saint James in France

About the Author

David Downie has called Paris and the Marais home since 1986. He has written for over 50 publications worldwide including Bon Appétit, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country Travel, The San Francisco Chronicle, epicurious.com, and Salon.com. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, three Terroir guides, as well as several cookbooks and crime novels. He lives with his wife, Alison Harris, a photographer, and creates custom tours via his "Paris, Paris Tours" blog site:

Product Details

ISBN:
9781605984322
Subtitle:
A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
Author:
Downie, David
Publisher:
Pegasus Books
Subject:
Religion Comparative-General
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Travel - France
Publication Date:
20130431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
48 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
History and Social Science » World History » France » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Travel » Europe » France
Travel » Travel Writing » Europe
Travel » Travel Writing » France
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Pegasus Books - English 9781605984322 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Beautifully written and refreshingly original. Curious and attentive to detail, Downie is appreciative yet unflinching in describing his adopted home."
"Review" by , "Brilliant, witty and stylish."
"Review" by , "Perhaps the most evocative American book about Paris since A Moveable Feast."
"Review" by , "David Downie is the master of educated curiosity. With him we discover Paris, a seemingly public city that is, in fact, full of secrets — great lives, lives wasted on the bizarre; forgotten artisans; lost graves. I have walked some of the city’s streets with him, and reading this book is just as tactile an experience."
"Review" by , "In the tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor, David Downie takes off on foot. Such a rigorous, slow journey — the polar opposite of airport-to-airport travel — gives him the gift of time, and the chance to absorb, taste, and experience the places he sees. Downie’s adroit, learned, and ambitious book re-invigorates my sense of travel, taking me back to the happy knowledge that the world is still large, and history unfathomably deep."
"Review" by , "Bristling with knowledge and often with the insights of good fiction, Downie takes you on a trip that is as much a compelling intellectual journey as it is a rich revelation of place. It’s a hard book to put down."
"Review" by , "Evocative and moving…Downie’s quest is unconventional in tone and spirit as well as route. A lively wordsmith, Downie brings a deep and impassioned knowledge of French history, culture, and language to this pilgrimage. He also brings something more, a longing that he himself can’t pin down at the beginning…they encounter a memorable succession of taciturn, deep-rooted local farmers and gregarious, transplanted-from-Paris innkeepers. They also encounter the multi-layered, interweaving pathways of French history, commerce, religion, and spirituality — and manage to tuck in a few sumptuous celebrations of French food and wine, too. The result is an extraordinary account that illuminates France past and present and casts a light on something even greater: the truth that, however we choose to label our journey, we are all pilgrims on a common quest, to answer why we wander life’s question-paved path."
"Review" by , "A wonderful book: historically, culturally and spiritually fascinating, refreshingly honest without being self-aggrandizing, full of humor and sharp observation of the people and the landscape. Downie is a great companion on the road."
"Review" by , "David Downie’s pilgrimage/anti-pilgrimage has two things no one else does. One is his inimitable wit. The other: he travels not just in space, but in time, creating constant delightful surprise and reassuring familiarity. An atheist who starts the Way of Saint James necessarily sees the world with a certain irony. One who finishes the trail from Paris to the Spanish border won’t let that irony consume him. It is the conversation between the two that makes this such a special book."
"Synopsis" by , Part adventure story, part cultural history the author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light explores the phenomenon of pilgrimage along the age-old Way of Saint James in France
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