Thursday, March 31, 2011

City Guide Books

Incident on the Paris Metro - Photograph by Tim Irving
Incident on the Paris Metro - Tim Irving
My mention of Robert Doisneau yesterday has whet my appetite for a spot of Parisian photography. I have a meeting in Paris coming up, which I intend to extend by a couple of days to allow me to wander on foot and by velib.

Paris is very liberating for a photographer. Not only is it a very beautiful city, perhaps the most photogenic in the world, but Paris, and Parisians love the camera, or at least they are indifferent to it. I can't think of another place on earth where I feel so at ease photographing people as they go about their daily lives as I do in Paris.

My one issue when visiting a large city, not just Paris, is that the guide books don't suit me. I don't blame the guide books, they try to be all things to all travellers, sadly they're wasted on me. On my last visit to Paris I took a copy of "The Rough Guide". 440 pages, weighing more than my cameras and just slighly smaller than a London red brick. 99% of the contents are superfluous to me.

I need "A Guide For The No Nonsense Person". Pocket size with the following subjects:
  • Places to avoid
  • Keeping out of danger
  • Where not to eat
  • Useful phrases (Hello, I want, I don't want, Please, Thank you, Good bye.)
  • In case of emergency
  • Map
If you have any suggestions for the  "A Guide For The No Nonsense Person", I'd be happy to hear your ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Paris is 14 years behind me, so I'm unqualified to give advice. But I will anyway. Rick Steves guides are no-nonsense, brief, and unpretentious. And funny. He's American, writing for Americans, so if he can keep us from stumbling amiss, think how well a seasoned British adventurer like you would do.

    Cool photo. Brings back memories of the track clacking, lurching about while clinging to a pole, and avoiding eye contact. Also the unique odor and everpresent, skirt-lifting wind in the metro tunnels.

    That Velib thing is an awesome idea!



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