Paris Insights: An Anthology

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Once you fall in love with Paris (and who doesn't?), it seems like you can't get enough - enough visits, sabbaticals, food, books. I've got the perfect book to help you get through the spaces between visits (and help planning them). We've interviewed Tom Reeves about sharing his love of the French culture with travelers through Discover Paris! (a travel service focusing on cultural travel to Paris), Paris Insights (a book and newsletter), and Paris Insights the blog, which is where I first found him, extolling some extraordinary Parisian Chocolates (see? HE KNOWS). Well, here is the promised interview about Paris Insights: An Anthology.

Paris Insights: An Anthology is a wonderful, inspiring love letter to Paris. It's full of insightful essays about 5 different aspects of Paris:
La Vie Parisienne, Americans in Paris, Churches and Cathedrals, Tasty Treats, and Paris, Past and Present.

Of course, when I first cracked the book, I first went to Tasty Treats. I am a foodie, after all. And these eight essays are to be cherished - and dreamt of. Urban bees? Teatime? Strawberries? The Macaron - they are all represented, and got me to thinking of planning our next trip to Paris, *just* to partake in these delights. Beautifully accompanied by black and white photos, I got hungry reading (and of course, had to go make crepes and hot chocolate).


Gariguette strawberries

Tasty Treats - Gariguette strawberries


The other chapters fare just as well, teaching about French culture, architecture, history, and more. One could base an entire month in Paris, just exploring each essay's subject.

We highly recommend Paris Insights: An Anthology to our readers - and without further ado, here's our interview with Tom, about Paris Insights...



WE: Please tell us about your book, Paris Insights: An Anthology

TR: Paris Insights – An Anthology is a collection of selected articles that I publish for my monthly newsletter Paris Insights.  In writing the newsletter, I endeavor to present Paris as a place of inspiration.  I introduce readers to people who make things happen and to cultural and historical aspects of the city that I think they will find fascinating.


Juan Sanchez, wine merchant

Juan Sanchez, an American wine merchant in Paris



WE: What led you to publish this book?

TR: After writing the monthly newsletter for ten years, I realized that I had enough material to form a book.  I reviewed the articles and selected a number that I thought would give a broad view of what Paris is like as I see it.  The book is an anthology of essays that probe beneath the stereotypes that are commonly held about the French capital.

I divided the book into five chapters:

·         “La Vie Parisienne,” which recounts some of the seasonal activities, as well as daily life in Paris;

·         “Americans in Paris,” which recounts how a number of Americans influenced art or literature in the past, or are doing interesting things with their lives in the present;

·         “Churches and Cathedrals,” which explores some of the overlooked houses of worship in the city, as well as looking at two of the best-know churches (Notre Dame Cathedral and Saint-Sulpice) in a new way;

·         “Tasty Treats,” which investigates a number of food items that one does not normally associate with Paris, such as strawberries, as well as giving helpful advice on wine and food pairing; and

·         “Paris, Past and Present,” a series of vignettes that briefly recount some unusual or curious things that are part of the Paris scene, as well as an event hosted at the Louvre by Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison.



WE:  What might readers be most surprised to find in Paris Insights?

TR: I think that they will be surprised to find that Paris is a more fascinating city than they had ever imagined!


Interior of Val de Grâce Church

Val de Grâce - an off-the-beaten-path church



WE: What did you love most about researching for the essays in this book?

TR: When I first started writing about Paris I quickly learned that if I was going to say something about the city that was not already on the Internet, then I would have to go to the libraries to research new material.  The libraries are an inexhaustible source of information about Paris, written in French for a French audience.  I enjoy narrowing a topic down, finding material about it, reading about it, and then using several sources to craft an article that I think that an American audience will find interesting.

I also enjoy reading what American writers and scholars have written about Paris.  For example, Elizabeth Anne McCauley’s book on 19th century commercial photography in Paris provided a wealth of information for my recent Paris Insights article entitled Nadar: From High School Dropout to Iconic Photographer.



WE: How can readers best use your book to plan a trip to Paris?

TR: While my book was not intended to be a guidebook, it will give readers suggestions for things to see and do that are not covered in standard guidebooks.  For first-time visitors it can be used in conjunction with a guidebook.  For people who have been to Paris several times, it will help them discover new things about places they thought they knew well, or never knew at all.



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

TR: My book was written with both travelers and armchair travelers in mind.  It gives an account of the vibrancy and spirit of the French capital as I have experienced it.  I hope that it will spark the curiosity of readers so that they make an effort to learn more about the cultural richness of Paris and the vivacity of its people.



WE: Thanks so very much, Tom!

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All photos courtesy and copyright Paris Insights.



Note: we received a review copy  of Paris Insights: An Anthology. Thanks!