mardi 21 avril 2009

Peeling back the layers of the familiar

There is no shortage of guidebooks written about Paris; this city of ours being one of the most visited in the world. Not to mention one of the most beautiful. Clearly, one of the most unique guide book I've ever had the pleasure of reading is Leonard Pitt's Walks Through Lost Paris. Its a relatively new book (published in 2006) and its simply fascinating. It details the author's exhaustive research into the way the city was rebuilt, in some cases from the ground up, during Napoleon III's reign. The fruit of his research is this book filled with pictures of the city before and after the massive works. In this case, these pictures are worth thousands of words as they manage to show modern readers the city that once was. It's really fascinating to see through the author's eyes. The other day, I walked down Rue St. Antoine, trying to picture in my mind the Hotel de Sully as it must have been and I realized that the facade is currently under renovation. I wonder if the city is restoring it to how it was before. Would it then resemble the Hotel de Sully in the book? Now everytime I walk around, I can't help but see bits and pieces of the unfamiliar medieval Paris. I wish I could share with you some of the great pictures that are in this book. But I guess you'll just have to come in and see the book I'm raving about!

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