Henry James said, 'Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes'. Rewned as the City of Light, Paris is celebrated for its beautiful city plan, its architecture, museums, bridges, cathedrals, parks, shopping, flea markets, sidewalk cafes, wide and luxurious boulevards, elegant cuisine, and numerous monuments. Once confined to an island in the middle of the river Seine, the Ile de la Cite, Paris, founded more than 2,000 years ago, quickly spread to both banks of the river - the 'rive droit' (right bank) and the 'rive gauche' (left bank). The right bank is kwn for being the commercial heart of the city while the left bank is home to the University of Paris and all that is intellectual and artsy. Paris has also been feted for its aura of romance and mystery and has been the setting for many vels (The Americans, The Three Musketeers and the Maigret stories) and movies (Last Tango in Paris, Ratatouille). This gorgeous new book in the successful Secrets series is divided into several geographical sections, from the Louvre and Champs Elysees, via Les Halles, Le Marais and Bastille, to Montmartre and beyond. It's a brilliant read for the armchair traveller and everyone interested in the history and the mysteries of the great cities of the world.
Michael Kerrigan is the author of Modern Art and 100 Great Art Masterpieces (both published by Flame Tree) and has written widely on European culture, literature and history. He lives in Edinburgh, where he writes book reviews for the Scotsman newspaper. He also reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian, London.