“Curiosities of Paris: An idiosyncratic guide to overlooked delights… hidden in plain sight”
What if—walking around Paris—instead of seeing only the Paris of 2017, you glimpsed Paris in Revolutionary times? Or Paris when it was home to 80,000 horses; or Paris lit by gaslight; or medieval Paris? What if—walking down a block in Paris—you recognized the signs, mosaics, pieces of hardware, and architectural details as relics of many centuries that have stories to tell of past eras? This is what Curiosities of Paris reveals.
Each of the book’s 800 photos of unique locations and architectural oddities—as well as utilitarian objects whose functions have long been obscured with the passage of time—discloses a previously unnoticed city. Even those who know Paris well might never have registered the thousands of details on every street that testify to the enduring presence of the past: the solar cannon at Invalides, street signs with the word “saint” and all fleur-de-lys removed; the unique features of Parisian street lighting. You’ll never look at an elm tree the same way again. And, with Curiosities of Paris as your guide, you’ll feel very in-the-know as you walk down the Champs-Élysées past all the auto dealerships.
Organized by subject—including fountains and wells; centuries-old shop signs; vestiges of wars and ancient Egypt; hotels of legend; remarkable trees; sundials and meridians; equestrian Paris; romantic ruins; unusual tombs, stairways, and passageways; religious relics; mosaics; public barometers and thermometers; and hundreds more urban elements and anachronisms—the book also includes three themed walks (along the city’s ancient walls, in the steps of Quasimodo, and through the French Revolution), as well as an index of street names.
This absorbing compendium is an essential addition to the library of the armchair traveler and flâneur alike.