Quiet Corners of Paris – Paris au Calme by Jean-Christophe Napias (2006)

Quiet Corners of Paris: Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens

This is one of those books you will appreciate once you know Paris a bit better. When you visit for the first time you want to see the famous places but as soon as you have seen them and get tired of fellow tourists you might enjoy following the tips that you can find in a book like Quiet Corners of Paris – Unexpected Hideaways, Secret Courtyards, Hidden Gardens (you can open it by clicking on the photo).

I think there aren’t many things as magical as being in a big city with all the commotion and traffic, enter a passage, go through a door and find yourself in another world, almost outside of time, like a character in a fantasy novel. Many cities have places like this but they are hard to find.

Quiet Corners of Paris is informative and contains a number of lovely photographs. It’s a small book, rectangular in shape with nice glossy paper.

The book is structured along the different Arrondissements, starting with the first and ending with the 20th. Each arrondissement has other things to offer.

You will find some less well-known museums like the Musée Zadkine, Musée de la Vie Romantique, La Maison Balzac or the Musée Bourdelle, but also a great number of enchanted looking places like the Place Dauphine, the Hôtels du Marais, the Village Saint-Paul.

Parks are also mentioned, you will find the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Parc Monceau as well as the Buttes-Chaumont.

In any case it is a lovely book and will help you discover a hidden side of Paris that is as charming or even more so than the big Boulevards and Avenues.

This is a contribution to Book Bath‘s and Thyme for Tea‘s event Paris In July.

27 thoughts on “Quiet Corners of Paris – Paris au Calme by Jean-Christophe Napias (2006)

  1. What a lovely book! I wish i’d had this when I last visited Paris, many years ago, and had to rely on my husband and a very out of date guide book. Paris is such a beautiful city – one whose corners it is really worth seeking out.

    • It is a lovely book. I changed apartments five times in Paris and know a few different arrondissements but I still found quite a lot of delightful, hidden spots in this book. What is great is that you can be on a very busy boulevard and just walk through a passage and be somewhere green and quiet.

      • I am heading to London soon and I have every intention to see Paris (and hopefully it works out so I can). And I would love to get to know the quiet corners as well as the “must-sees.” I’ll have to check this book out before I go.

        • I’m really curious to read what you will think. There are London and there are Paris people, not many like both cities equally.
          The book is worth looking at. I’ll be reviewing another one next week that is also great.

            • I think I worded this wrong. I meant some people are more attracted by London, others by Paris. London used to be more “modern”. You would go to London to go to clubs and concerts and such things. Many people go to London or Berlin for clubbing and parties. I have never heard of anyone going to paris for that reason. Paris is more traditional but it’s getting more modern as well. All around the Bastille there is a lot of night life. Then Paris, like any French city, has great bistrots and street cafés where you can watch people stroll by, and everything is oriented towards the outside whereas in London that’s less the case. You can go everywhere in Paris by foot. London is much bigger. And a huge difference in the population due to different colonies.

    • What illusions did you have, I wonder? I will have to watch the movie, I guess. I’ll see if I can find it. Paris has two faces and when you live and work there you’re bound to see the darker side as well. All in all it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

    • The Paris of the film mentioned is violent, gritty and full of lowlifes. As you know there are many films that seem to feature Paris as a lovely backdrop. Paris Lockdown was an excellent film, btw, but it depicted the seedy underbelly. Forget the City of Lights–it was the city of Red Lights!

      • That does exist of course. I’ve seen many different faces of Paris but not exactly the one that film probably depicts. Was it any good, I didn’t get that?

  2. Thanks Caroline! Good thing that London and Paris are so close to each other. You can hop back and forth depending on what type of mood you are in and what you want to do.

  3. One time for a class we had to use Google’s Street View to “walk” around where a certain character was walking from a book. I don’t remember what story it was but I remember it took place in France. Then one time for fun I looked up Kilometre Zero and the Notre Dame cathedral and made a wish. So with this book it gives more ideas to put into Street View. This book seems really cool.

    • Exactly, you could pick a few streets and places and have a look. When you click on the amazon link you can actually see a list of the places he describes.
      Some of the streest are very hidden as they are not close to any tourist attraction and only locals, like Napias, know them. I know a few other places as well that he didn’t mention. Guess everybody has favourite spots in a city.

  4. This looks like such a gorgeous book! I have only visited Paris once so far so I have really only stuck to the main touristy destinations – but I hope to get the chance to go back many more times and explore much more of this beautiful city.

    • It is a very nice way. These are the places that are hardly ever mentioned in guides normally or then only with two sentences and you don’t really know what to make of it. You should add a flight from Edinburgh to Paris, even if it is only for a day or two. I’m sure you would like it a lot.

  5. Thanks for this. I knew La Maison de Balzac (though I haven’t visited it yet). I’m going to search for the other museums.

    To others: if you go to Paris, I recommend to visit the Musée Jacquemart André, 158 boulevard Haussman. It’s like visiting la Duchesse de Guermantes. Gorgeous.

  6. Thanks for your comment, Emma. Funny enough it isn’t in this book but they couldn’t have covered everything and the focus is more on hidden streets and places. I’ve been to the musée Balzac and a lof of other little museums that have been opened in the apartment of their former owners.

  7. What lovely photos! The last one doesn’t even look like what I would expect to see in Paris–a lovely little hideaway. I hope someday to return–I loved it there when I visited in the early 90s!

    • Thanks, Danielle. The last one is the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It’s in the 19th arrondissement. Not very touristy.
      I hope you can visit Paris again soon.

  8. It sounds like a lovely book and I love the picturess, especially the last one.

    By the way, I should write this in your movie blog…please be patience with my double comment. I always read my friend’s blog in my mobile as I don’t like reading on computer and lately, most of the time I have double comment 😦 Please edit it if that happen again. Thx

    • I love the book. Since I got it I’m constantly browsing it and planning my next trip. I thought this double commenting had something to do with the new comment format. i does happen to me as well and I only use my computer. But no worries, I’ll edit it if needed.

  9. Pingback: GOOD BOOKS FOR YOUR WEEK-END 07/30-31 « Words And Peace

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