Last week David Downie and his wife, photographer Alison Harris were in Victoria.
Author of A Passion for Paris, just out from St. Martin’s Press, David is an American
who has lived in Paris for 30 years. He and Alison run walking tours of Paris,
Burgundy, Rome and the Italian Riviera. David spoke at Munro’s Books to an
enthusiastic audience. A combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, Downie
asks why Paris is the world’s most romantic city – and has been for over 150 years.
Downie says the city’s allure derives equally from hidden sources:
querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past.
Rarely do visitors suspect the glamour 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. I am in!