A PASSION FOR PARIS: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light, Book Tour, spring 2015, update


Our spring 2015, coast-to-coast extravaganza to celebrated the publication of A PASSION FOR PARIS: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light, starts on April 21 when we fly from Paris to Boston. See below for our schedule of dates, venues and times.


About the book:

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.

Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists’ studios, cafes, restaurants and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation.

But the city’s allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures and challenges. Rarely do visitors suspect the glamor and chic and the carefree atmosphere of the City of Light grew from and still feed off the dark fountainheads of riot, rebellion, mayhem and melancholy—and the subversive literature, art and music of the Romantic Age.

Weaving together his own with the lives and loves of Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Balzac, Nadar and other great Romantics Downie delights in the city’s secular romantic pilgrimage sites asking , Why Paris, not Venice or Rome—the tap root of "romance"—or Berlin, Vienna and London—where the earliest Romantics built castles-in-the-air and sang odes to nightingales? Read A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light and find out.


When ordering please prefer your local Indie bookstore or use IndieBound.com, thanks!

 

Confirm with the venue closer to the date to make sure our schedule has not changed:

 

Books Events for A PASSION FOR PARIS

 

Sat, April 25, 7 pm, Northshire Books in Manchester Center, VT.

4869 Main St, Manchester Center, VT 05255 Phone:+1 802-362-2200

http://www.northshire.com/event-list


Tue, April 28, 7 pm, Harvard Book Store

1256 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA, (617) 661-1515. Toll Free (800) 542-READ

http://www.harvard.com/event/david_downie/


Tue, May 5, 7 pm, McNally Jackson Books

52 Prince Street, NY, 10012, 212 274 1160

http://mcnallyjackson.com/event

 

Friday, May 8, 7 pm, Curious Iguana,

Downtown Frederick’s independent bookstore

 

12 North Market Street, Frederick, MD 21701, 301.695.2500

 


Sat, May 9, 6 pm, Politics & Prose

5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20008, 202-364-1919 •  800-722-0790

http://www.politics-prose.com/event/book/david-downie-passion-paris-romanticism-and-romance-city-of-light


Tue, May 12, 5:30 pm, New Dominion bookstore

404 East Main Street , Charlottesville, VA

434-295-2552

http://www.newdominionbookshop.com/


Thurs, May 14, 6:30 pm, literary dinner at Piedmont Restaurant

www.piedmontrestaurant.com

click to see the menu and reserve, price includes your specially inscribed copy of A Passion for Paris

401 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701

(919) 683-1213

 

Friday, May 29, 7 pm, Lafayette Library and Learning Center

Distinguished Speaker Series

3491 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 385-2280

http://www.lllcf.org/


Mon June 1, 2015, 7 pm

Special Event with Left Coast Writers group @ Book Passage organized by Linda Watanabe McFerrin. Please let me know you are coming so I can add you to the invitation list for this event—all my friends are welcome!

Book Passage Marin, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. Corte Madera, CA 94925

415.927.0960, www.bookpassage.com


Wed, June 3, Noon lecture, The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco

Location: 555 Post St., San Francisco
Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program, 1 p.m. book signing

Note: ticket purchase required

http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2015-06-03/passion-paris-romanticism-and-romance-city-light


Sat, June 6, 11 am, Bay Area Book Festival,

Berkeley, details TBC, see http://www.baybookfest.org/

 

Sat June 6, 4 pm, Book Passage Marin

51 Tamal Vista Blvd. Corte Madera, CA 94925

415.927.0960 www.bookpassage.com


Tue, June 9, 7:30 pm, Powell's City of Books

1005 W. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97209 www.powells.com


Fri, June 12, 7:30 pm, Elliott Bay Book Company

1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

www.elliottbaybook.com/

206-624-6600 or 1-800-962-5311 Toll Free

 

Sat, June 20, 7 pm (doors open) 7:30 pm (event begins), Munro's Books

1108 Government Street
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada V8W 1Y2 http://munrobooks.com/

1 888 243 2464

 

Praise for A PASSION FOR PARIS

 

Red-star review in Booklist:

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

Downie, David (Author)

Apr 2015. 320 p. St. Martin's, hardcover, $26.99. (9781250043153). St. Martin's, e-book,

(9781466841253). 914.

David Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees, 2013) is a Paris transplant, a walking-tour guide steeped in Parisian lore, and an acclaimed writer. In A Passion for Paris, he seeks the source of the city’s celebrated aura of romance in those who fomented the “cultural revolt that turned Paris into the capital of Romanticism.”

Downie begins this intrepidly researched, entrancingly descriptive, ruminative, funny, and revealing inquiry by telling the uncensored story of prodigious Victor Hugo, who basically wrote the manifesto for Romanticism while navigating a truly “racy” love life. Downie also chronicles the complex romantic entanglements of Balzac, Baudelaire, George Sand (“the Great Woman of the Age of Romanticism”), and Henri Murger, whose Scenes of Bohemian Life inspired Puccini’s opera, La Bohème. Canny observations about Paris’ “spirit of freedom,” “permanent sexual revolution,” and embrace of melancholy, which “lies at the root of Romanticism and romance,” are laced throughout this provocative inquiry. With 115 photographs and many exquisitely written passages detailing his visits to historic sites and “romantic enclaves,” Downie presents a gorgeously discursive and affecting homage to Paris’ “great Romantics,” and to the city itself, redolent with art, literature, and longing.— Donna Seaman


Blue-star review in Kirkus:

 

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Join Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James, 2013, etc.) for a top-notch walking tour of Paris.

In search of what makes Paris romantic, the author takes us to the 19th century. Early on, he notes that Paris may be romantic just because writers, artists and musicians say it is. But romanticism is not just literary or artistic; it’s also political. Throughout the 1800s, there was a host of activists who mocked the status quo. Victor Hugo based his play Hernani, about adulterous lovers and their unfortunate end, on true life, and as Paris audiences often did, they rioted, opening the war between romanticism and classicists. Throughout the book, the author shares his love of places that he has explored for 30 years. He recounts the lives and loves of Hugo, Dumas, Sand, Delacroix and so many others in the romantic shrines of the Marais, Luxembourg Gardens and the Arsenal Library. Literature of this age reflected the essence of romanticism, where chronology and logical plots were reactionary. The French are complex, ambiguous and contradictory by nature, and they are proud of their weaknesses and faults. Understanding the romantics requires understanding Paris, and searching for the real Paris is part of the journey. On that journey, Downie is the consummate guide. Reflecting on Foucault’s pendulum, the author writes, “the real Paris is of the mind, so it doesn’t exist and can’t age.” The author’s encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its artists grants him a mystical gift of access: doors left ajar and carriage gates left open foster his search for the city’s magical story.

Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences.

 

Red-star review in BOOKLIST: 

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

Downie, David (Author)

Apr 2015. 320 p. St. Martin's, hardcover, $26.99. (9781250043153). St. Martin's, e-book,

(9781466841253). 914.

David Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees, 2013) is a Paris transplant, a walking-tour guide steeped in Parisian lore, and an acclaimed writer. In A Passion for Paris, he seeks the source of the city’s celebrated aura of romance in those who fomented the “cultural revolt that turned Paris into the capital of Romanticism.”

Downie begins this intrepidly researched, entrancingly descriptive, ruminative, funny, and revealing inquiry by telling the uncensored story of prodigious Victor Hugo, who basically wrote the manifesto for Romanticism while navigating a truly “racy” love life. Downie also chronicles the complex romantic entanglements of Balzac, Baudelaire, George Sand (“the Great Woman of the Age of Romanticism”), and Henri Murger, whose Scenes of Bohemian Life inspired Puccini’s opera, La Bohème. Canny observations about Paris’ “spirit of freedom,” “permanent sexual revolution,” and embrace of melancholy, which “lies at the root of Romanticism and romance,” are laced throughout this provocative inquiry. With 115 photographs and many exquisitely written passages detailing his visits to historic sites and “romantic enclaves,” Downie presents a gorgeously discursive and affecting homage to Paris’ “great Romantics,” and to the city itself, redolent with art, literature, and longing.— Donna Seaman

"Paris has been cherished, admired, analyzed for centuries, yet in his wildly entertaining, operatic A Passion for Paris, David Downie seems to offer up a whole new place. Writing with an engaging informality, he delves into this most romantic of cities, then and now, focusing particularly on the Romantic Age and its people. . . . Whether the author is leading us into Flaubert's study or onto the terrace of today's Deux Magots, there's a rare excitement in the air—as if Puccini's Bohemians were united in song, somewhere off stage." —Penelope Rowlands, author of Paris Was Ours


"Victor Hugo, Adèle and Juliette, Saint-Beuve, Nadar, George Sand and a host of other great figures of French history come alive in David Downie’s compelling and often wickedly humorous investigation of romance and romanticism in the City of Light. Most travelers agree that Paris is by far the most romantic city in the world but thanks to Downie’s extensive research, passionate sleuthing and inspired imagination, they’ll now know why. This unusual and exquisitely told tale of French romanticism is a must-read for true Paris lovers." —Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast and Joie de Vivre

 

"David Downie's wholly original new book is for true Francophiles in general and serious admirers of Paris in particular — there is so much packed into these pages!   Even those with an encyclopedic knowledge of Paris will discover a new quartier (like the 9th arrondissement's Nouvelle Athènes neighborhood and its Musée de la Vie Romantique that Downie refers to as "the most only-in-Paris of the uniquely Parisian places I know") or a little-known fact (most of the townhouses on the quai Voltaire in the 7th arrondissement are still standing and still sought after, "a testament to both the sturdiness of 17th century construction and the apparent idiosyncratic Parisian reluctance to embrace radical urban change").  A Passion for Paris is a love letter of sorts but it's also a thoughtful, carefully considered précis on an enduring theme.  Downie's other books on France, and Italy, are rightly acclaimed; but this is the book Downie was clearly meant to write.  Bravo!"—Barrie Kerper, author of The Collector Traveler series

 

 

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