What the Critics Have to Say

Around and About Paris

There are guides to every aspect of Paris... and then there are Thirza Vallois's extraordinary Around and About Paris. This three-volume walking guide by a long-time resident unveils Paris arrondissement by arrondissement, street by street. Packed with history, anecdote and curiosity, it brings the city alive.
Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times, London.

I think we can safely toss all other Paris guidebooks aside. Paris is made for walking and Thirza Vallois' guides are made for Paris. There can be no higher praise than when I say they come close to the standard set of the world's greatest guide book, J. Link's 'Venice for Pleasure'... and they should soon achieve similar legendary status.
William Boyd, The Spectator, London.

If any city in the world deserves this kind of thorough. loving treatment adoration, actually - it certainly would be Paris. This three-volume guide is a complete course in what the streets have to offer and what Parisian history has been all about. Treat yourself to this treasure.
Booklist, The Library Journal, US.

Thirza Vallois' Around and About Paris has no glossy pictures... but its manner is every bit as alluring as its subject... It's an engaging geographic history, lithely written, full of details, anecdotes, characters - and worlds to discover, no matter how familiar you are already with Paris when you begin reading. Vallois captures - and opens up for all to taste - the incomparable sense of the past one experiences walking the streets of Paris. This is a book for those who think of Paris as an urban paradise - the curious gazer, the laid-back ambler, the wanderer, the seeker of this city's wonders.
Yes, Vallois provides never-ending temptation to go off and consult... a chapter of Marcel Proust or Simone de Beauvoir, to scramble off to listen to Maurice Chevalier or Edith Piaf, to admire the works of Auguste Rodin or Camille Claudel. For the armchair traveler, these are sweet temptations indeed - all the way, loftily, to the end of a fulfilling journey to the Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement.
Here's to Around and About Paris. On your next flight to Paris, don't leave home without it.
Boston Book Review, Patsy Baudouin.

. . . she [Vallois] has given us a series of guides which will last for years to come. Schools and colleges which encourage project writing will find the three volumes of estimable value for individual enquiry.
Alan Smalley, Francophonie, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.

Then again, it might be less strenuous to invest in a good guidebook.
Though this isn't the place to conduct a comprehensive survey, several new titles suggest the range of guides now available. For instance, a traveler already acquainted with Paris, or a first-timer who wants to supplement the standard. Fodor's or Blue Guide, now has Thirza Vallois's three-volume Around and About Paris.
Vallois, a Paris resident for 30-plus years, takes the reader through the city arrondissement by arrondissement, "so as to allow the city to unfold little by little before your eyes. The names of streets, the geographic location of the city's monuments, the social and ethnic distribution of the population will become meaningful and coherent. You will understand that it is not pure chance that draws the wealthy to the 16th arrondissement or publishers to the 6th. You will find out how and why haute couture started in the 1st arrondissement and why it has recently.
Washington Post.

For in-depth coverage of the sights, sounds and smells of Paris, nothing tops Thirza Vallois' Around and About Paris books...
Janet Delong, The Paris Free Voice.

For anyone who loves Paris and would like to know more about its historical and literary associations, this is a well-written and astonishingly informative companion.
The Times Literary Supplement, London.

Thirza Vallois comes much nearer the mark with her riveting tour history of Paris. It is an unpatronizing, anecdotaal, user-friendly, walking guide to the where, who and why of each building, park and street-name in Paris. If you live in Paris or are just fascinated by it, those books are for you.

The reader can sit back and enjoy her [Vallois] enlightening account of the city. She brings alive its sights, walks and gastronomic tradition and punctuates her guide with anecdotes of famous residents.
Lucy Yoeman, The European.

Would you like to have a personal guide to show you around Paris?"
How would you like to have a personal guide as your companion when visiting Paris? A guide that will not only give you a brief history of each and every "Arrondissement" from the first to the twentieth, but as the author states, "a journey into the depths of Paris" and "an invitation to scratch beneath its surface of dazzling vistas and imposing monuments and to probe into the souls and lives of the restless people." Author Thirza Vallois's three volumes entitled Around and About Paris accomplishes all of the above and more.
Most other guidebooks pertaining to Paris are merely directories that list where to stay and eat with a little history and antidotes thrown in. Vallois's tomes do not contain any listings of hotels, restaurants, phone numbers or web sites. They are, however, similar to information contained in college textbooks and would probably be suggested readings if a course were to be given entitled "Paris 101." Not only are they invaluable tools for the traveller to Paris but also for those of us who are so called "arm chair" travellers and who never intend to leave home.
Each chapter is devoted to a distinct Arrondissement describing their unique history and character. These introductions are followed by comprehensive descriptions of the walks you must pursue. After all Paris is made for walking!
Very often when visiting Paris we are too much concerned with the usual tourist attractions such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and various other well known sites. Consequently, we tend to loose sight of the history and background information concerning the area where we may be lodging or the areas where we are taking our promenades. We are also ignorant of the many "nooks and crannies" that make Paris a city of romance, drama, triumph, tragedy, crime and passion.
Vallois has lived in Paris for over thirty years. For eight of those years before writing these guides she "journeyed into the depths of Paris, walking its every street, reading in libraries whatever came my way" as she mentioned in an article appearing in Paris Kiosque No wonder the guides are so comprehensive and detailed.
To appreciate Paris is to understand its history and culture. Thanks to authors such as Thirza Vallois we can explore Paris with a greater understanding and enlightenment.
*Please note that there are three books: Volume 1 concerns the 1st to 7th arrondissements: Volume 2 the 8th to 12th, Volume 3 the 13th-20th. The ISBN numbersof Vol 2: 0952537834. The ISBN numbers of Vol 3: 0952537826 Copyright 2002, Bookideas.com. Orginally published at Bookideas.com
Reviewed by Norman Goldman
Courtesy Bookideas, at http://thebestreviews.com/review5281/

Thirza Vallois's Around and About Paris guidebooks are the ultimate walking tours of the city. She knows the history of every rock in the sidewalks, and it takes a daunting three books for her to share her knowledge. Reading them made me take on a cycle of French history books just so I could put some context around all the details she provides.
French Journal.











































































Aveyron, A Bridge to French Arcadia

Thirza Vallois is among the world's experts on Paris - her three volume work Around and About Paris placed her immediately in the pantheon of contemporary Paris connaisseurati. Aveyron, A Bridge to French Arcadia is an implicit acknowledgement that if you seek to understand Paris, you must go elsewhere than Paris. Part travelogue, part literary prose, all true, once again Thirza Vallois has made connections between all of those pieces that go into a place: its history, its cuisine, its relics, its towns, rivers, mountains, farms, crops, animals, and most of all, its people. [...] If the Aveyron is too far away for you to visit - do not worry. Thirza Vallois will bring you there with this latest flower in what is becoming a marvelous bouquet.
The Paris Pages.

This book is not written as a travel guide but a revelation. It delves so deeply into so much of the Aveyron that it brings it to life on the page. And it is so well presented by the author that every chapter is a fascinating read and hard to put down.
France on Your Own.

Thirza Vallois is no stranger to travel writing, and it shows. Her latest book, Averyon, A Bridge to French Arcadia, is an entertaining trip through an area often overlooked by visitors. Often using the present tense, the author creates the feeling that the reader is right there with her. Ranging freely back and forth from the distant past to the present, Vallois paints an inviting picutre of a place intent on preserving its rich history and traditions while opening up to the future.
France Today.

I would have fared better in history and geography with Thirza Vallois as my teacher. Drawing on her considerable insight into France from her specialist area of Paris – Vallois holds an agrégation from the Sorbonne and is the author of several acclaimed guides to Paris and of the entry on Paris in the Encarta Encyclopædia – she is drawn by a chance encounter in a restaurant to investigate the Aveyron, one of the last vanishing bastions of ‘la France profonde’. Each whimsical quest inevitably delivers a surprise, managing never to sound twee – José Bové and the realities of the 21st century are just as present as the burons and the Knights Templar – nor ever boring: quite a feat when she spends at least four pages on the engineering masterpiece that is the Millau Viaduct.
French News.

I always encourage folks interested in writing travel articles to read good travel writing -- you learn a thing or two by studying the masters. In Thirza Vallois, you couldn't ask for a better example. she's just written a spectacularly engaging book about the region called Aveyron, A Bridge to French Arcadia. I urge you to get your hands on a copy of her book and read it (or any of her books for that matter) with your writer's cap on.
Jen Stevens, The Right Way to Travel