August 8, 2016

Book Review: Five Nights in Paris: After Dark in the City of Light by John Baxter

The preeminent expat writer on Paris and author of The Most Beautiful Walk in the World takes you on an unforgettable nocturnal stroll through five iconic Parisian neighborhoods and his own memories.

John Baxter enchanted readers with his literary tour of Paris in The Most Beautiful Walk in the World. Now, this expat who has lived in the City of Light for more than twenty years introduces you to the city’s streets after dark, revealing hidden treasures and unexpected delights.

As he takes you through five of the city’s greatest neighborhoods—Montmartre, Montparnasse, the Marais, and more—Baxter shares pithy anecdotes about his life in France, as well as fascinating knowledge he has gleaned from leading literary tours of the city by dark. With Baxter as your guide, you will discover the City of Light as never before, walking in the ghostly footsteps of Marcel Proust, the quintessential night owl for whom memory was more vivid than reality; Hungarian photographer Gyula Halбsz, known as Brassai, who prowled the midnight streets, camera in hand, with his friend Henry Miller; Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault, who shared the Surrealists’ taste for the city’s shadowed, secret world; and Josephine Baker and other African-American performers who dazzled adventurous Parisians at late-night jazz clubs.

A feast for the mind and the senses, Five Nights in Paris takes you through the haunts of Paris’s most storied artists and writers to the scenes of its most infamous crimes in a lively off-the-beaten-path tour not found in any guidebook.

Another intriguing travelogue from John Baxter!  His is the template for the Parisian memoir that I have come to expect. Eye-opening, amusing, and full of anecdotes only a real Parisian resident would know. His books are the next-best thing to living in Paris – they are an entre to an unknown world.  This time he focuses on the five senses as a theme to a night-time “tour.”  What would he have us, the reader/armchair traveler, experience if he were to acquaint us with the sensual delights of Paris?  If you’re longing to return to visit to the City of Light, just pick up any of John Baxter’s books for a satisfying fix.

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