Some of you may know me as a travel, food and wine writer, a benign curmudgeon who prowls the big cities and back roads of France and Italy in search of the authentic and unadulterated.
In recent years I've also been writing memoirs about Paris, and my latest, published in spring, 2015, is an entertaining romp, a treasure hunt to discover the 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, pub date 28 April 2015 (St. Martin's Press).
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
Other recent 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 10th printing and available as an audiobook) and 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.
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.
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
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.
“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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