Some of you may know me as a travel, food and wine writer, a benign curmudgeon based in Paris who prowls the big cities and back roads of France and Italy in search of the authentic and unadulterated.

In recent years I've written several memoirs about Paris, and my latest, published in September, 2017, is another entertaining romp and treasure hunt, this time to discover and uncover everything you ever wanted to know about Paris and the Parisian love affair with food and wine:



Click to listen to NPR's Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley on A Taste of Paris and How the City of Light became the City of Food

Breaking  News: A Taste of Paris has won the 2017 Gourmand Award for best food/travel book from the USA, and goes into the world finals in May, 2018… scroll down to category D06 to see the short-list finalists from around the world… food-loving, Paris-loving friends rejoice!

D06 – Culinary Travel / Tourism
USA – A taste of Paris, David Downie (St Martins)



Praise for A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food




A Taste of Paris took me on the walk I have always dreamed of: a joyous romp through time with culinary historian and literary gastronome David Downie as my guide! The streets and tables of Paris will never be the same and I could not be more grateful.”—Alice Waters

“A veritable encyclopedia of everything you ever wanted to know about the Parisians and their victuals. This literary tour de force turns received wisdom on its head, sprinkling the serious subject of what, when, where and how the French have eaten throughout history with many a great moment of humor and irreverence. I loved it!”–Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of Joie de Vivre and French Toast

“Truly epic, encompassing history, flavor, and passion. Bravo for a comprehensive look at eating and dining in Paris!”–David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and The Sweet Life in Paris

"In recent years David Downie has become the go-to-guy for all matters Parisienne. In "A Taste For Paris" he combines his love of history, his affection for his adopted city and his passion for French gastronomy. Anyone who loves Paris (who doesn't?) and adores French cooking (who can resist it?) will cherish this authoritative book."– Paula Wolfert, national treasure, author of Unforgettable Paula and The Cooking of Southwest France

“A delightful treat for your favorite Francophile foodie . . . an enchanting fluffy read with lots of hints and tips for lovers of Paris and French food.” ―Epicurious.com

“Downie tells many tales of fascinating episodes in French history. . . . A gastronomic jaunt through the city that tells how Paris distinguished itself as a world capital of eating.” ―Eleanor Beardsley, NPR’s Paris Correspondent

“Given the French influence over the way we eat and cook (or aspire to do so), the historical details in Downie’s book are fascinating (who knew that Charlemagne loved arugula?), even though it’s unlikely that you’ll be motivated to prepare the recipe of the famous 14th century chef Taillevent for roast peacock or swan.” ―AimeeLee Ball, Martha Stewart.com

"Downie blends exhaustive research and personal experience in this delightful history of one of the culinary capitals of the world…Readers don’t have to be foodies to get the flavor of the French character in this delightful, thoroughly researched culinary history." Publishers Weekly

“A great companion for any French adventurer as well as historians and food buffs” Library Journal

"A zesty, entertaining romp through the landscape of French food." Kirkus

"A must for anyone going to Paris and anyone with an interest in food and history." Linda Pelaccio, Heritage Radio Network's A Taste of the Past

“With humor and wit, Downie delves into the city’s culinary history, sharing fascinating anecdotes… A Taste of Paris is written in a fun, lively style, bringing to life thousands of years of history, while also elaborating on contemporary culinary trends… an indispensable guide to the past, present, and future in a city that’s often deemed a global food capital.” Janet Hulstrand, Bonjour Paris


Listen to David in conversation about A Taste of Paris with fellow author and legendary NPR radio host Jacki Lyden at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, DC.





Other Recent Releases:

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.

Already in bookstores everywhere, a passionate romp among the earthy roots of Paris' great romantic heritage: A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.


A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.

A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie’s irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world’s most romantic city—and has been for over 150 years.


“[I]ntrepidly researched, entrancingly descriptive, ruminative, funny, and revealing… provocative… exquisitely written… a gorgeously discursive and affecting homage to Paris’ ‘great Romantics,’ and to the city itself, redolent with art, literature, and longing.”— Donna Seaman, BOOKLIST starred review

“Downie is the consummate guide… encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its magical story. Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Wickedly humorous… exquisitely told… a must-read for true Paris lovers."-Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of Joie de Vivre

"Wildly entertaining, operatic… seems to offer up a whole new Paris."-Penelope Rowlands, author of Paris was Ours

“Wholly original… a love letter, but also a carefully considered précis on an enduring theme. This is the book Downie was clearly meant to write. Bravo!”—Barrie Kerper, author of The Collector Traveler series

“Getting to Paris is easy, but getting into it takes a David Downie. With fork, sturdy shoes and boundless curiosity, Downie probes deeply. And then with wit and enthusiasm, he serves it up masterfully.”—Mort Rosenblum, author of A Goose from Toulouse and Mission to Civilize: The French Way.


Watch David talking on KATU-TV in Portland about A Passion for Paris


Order from your local indie bookstore or IndieBound on line. Other on-line sources if you must

Contact Kathryn Hough (print and broadcast media) or Alastair Hayes (electronic media).

More print and e-books – each with striking photography by  Alison Harris - are the critically acclaimed Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light (now into its 11th printing and also available as an audiobook) and the bestselling Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptical Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James. Part adventure story, part personal memoir Paris to the Pyrenees is pure quirkiness and irreverence.



“An entertaining read… fabulous company!”—Jacki Lyden, NPR's All Things Considered


Listen to an interview with NPR's legendary radio host Jacki Lyden about the book and our adventure.

Listen to David while he's walking across Paris on the pilgrimage route with NPR's Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley.


The surprise bestseller

My  latest adventure tale-cum- travel memoir is Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James.  

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. 

Read more


Watch David interviewed on TV about Paris to the Pyrenees.

Listen to David talking to Sheila Hamilton of "Speaking Freely" on KINK FM in Portland about Paris to the Pyrenees.


On another front: my food/wine and travel books include Food Wine Rome (now also an app, see below…) and Food Wine Burgundy, plus Quiet Corners of Rome, and the classic Enchanted Liguria. All four will be out soon as e-books.

My thriller Paris City of Night  is now an e-book published by Pegasus Classics–see my blog posts or the book page for details. The long-awaited audiobook version of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, the perennial little book of essays that could, finally arrived. It was worth the wait.


Do you love Paris? Don't miss my Paris app: David Downie’s Paris Timeline. It gives you hundreds of highly illustrated short takes on key Dates in Paris from 8000 BC to the present, plus key People, Places and Events. This is more than a Wikipedia-style history app: it’s 100-percent Paris with lots of surprising details and a distinctly unconventional point of view.





David Downie’s Paris Time Line brings Paris alive, and David Downie's Food Wine Rome brings the best of Rome to your table. 

The Paris Time Line is much more than a Wikipedia-style listing. It features Paris and Paris alone and goes into places revealing details you’ll find nowhere else.

Read more









Travel and food writing and my addiction to history and perambulation have spawned a parallel activity: custom walking tours of Paris, Burgundy, Rome and the Italian Riviera

Looking forward to meeting you on the page or on the pavement,


David D. Downie



Biographical sketch

David D. Downie is a San Franciscan who moved to Paris in the 1980s and divides his time between France and Italy. His travel, food and arts features have appeared in over 50 magazines and newspapers worldwide. He’s the author of thirteen nonfiction books, two thrillers, and two history, travel and food/wine apps.


Take a custom tour of Paris with David and Alison Harris.

“David, you and Alison did a fabulous job with our motley group. We came for the food and devoured the history! We were dazzled by your encyclopedic knowledge of everything from Frankish kings to Frank Gehry's architecture. We will definitely be back for a second helping!”—Laurie Petersen et al


“David Downie is the master of educated curiosity.”—Michael Ondaatje



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