First! Ever! Giveaway! David Downie’s “Paris, Paris”

See that book right over there to your left?

For the re-release this week of David Downie’s “Paris, Paris: A Journey into the City of Light,” Broadway Books has offered to give away copies to three lucky blog readers. Details on the giveaway at the end of the post!

Of course I wanted to know more about the writer behind this collection of essays. After a quarter century in Paris, veteran author and journalist David Downie has plenty to say about the City of Light…and a whole bunch of other things, too!

You describe yourself as an “accidental Parisian,” meaning that you didn’t necessarily set out to make Paris your home. After 25 years here, however, part of your identity must now be wrapped up in Paris, even though you’re American. Can you elaborate on this feeling of being an “accidental Parisian”? What has kept you in Paris for so long? (Will you stay?)

Before moving to Paris my world was centered on the San Francisco Bay Area and Italy—Rome, Milan and Padua. My mother is Italian, I spent a few crucial years as a child in Rome, my second language – actually my mother tongue – is Italian… I fell in love with Italy as a boy and with France as an adult.

In the early 1980s I moved back to Italy after finishing graduate work in Italian literature at Brown University. After a couple of years and a roller-coaster marriage to an Italian artist I needed a change of scenery. So I headed to Paris to stay with friends. That was in Oct 1985. I had such a wonderful time – it was maybe the fourth or fifth time I’d been to Paris – that I decided, what the hell, I’ll move here and rent a maid’s room and write the Great American Novel – about Italy! I did. Luckily it wasn’t published.

At the end of the year I’d given myself I met a certain Alison Harris, an American born and brought up in Paris and Rome… and the rest is mystery. Alison and I have been together since 1987. That’s the main reason I stayed; it must be said that we spend about half the year in Italy, working on books, articles or photo shows.

Will I stay on and on in Paris? Probably. I don’t have anywhere else to go! Who can afford San Francisco? Or New York? I still find Paris about the best big city to live in – and I’ve lived in a few: SF, various parts of SoCal, New York, Providence and Boston, Milan, Rome.

As to feeling or not Parisian: I started out in the 1970s as a total stranger to Paris and the French language. Since then I’ve become a French citizen (I’m a dual national – I will never give up my US passport!); I’ve gotten married here; and dealt with the taxman and social security, hospitals, morgues and so forth. The whole nine yards. Of course life here has shaped me. I still love the city, and enjoy it, at times more than ever. But it’s home. I’m at home here, meaning I see the good, the bad, the sublime and the ridiculous. In a way, I’m glad I had few expectations when I arrived. Rome was my childhood passion. Paris I could take or leave. I took. I also gave back. The French government ought to give me a pension for all the books, articles, guidebooks and free PR I’ve done for this country!

I love the introduction to your book where you note that the word “paris” is actually the plural of the word pari – a bet, risk, challenge, or wager. What do you see as the challenges of living in Paris? (And then the pleasures – we risk in the hopes of reward, right?)

See above for part of the answer. The challenges are manyfold. No matter how long you live here, if you arrived as an adult you will never fully understand the underlying reasons for certain types of French behavior—the seemingly petty and maddenning aggressiveness, for instance. The posing. The mal-dans-sa-peau unease of this people said to be so full of joie de vivre. Forgive my skepticism. Perhaps they do enjoy life. But Parisians are also tied up in knots, are pernickety, difficult, quarrelsome, and famously tight-fisted—this is a gross generalization, naturally. We know some who are wonderful, relaxed, generous, full of smiles and warmth, etc… They are our friends, all three of them. I’m joking, of course. My statement goes with and against many stereotypes. It’s useful to know what the stereotypes are, so you can go beyond them and laugh with life (and not laugh at it, cynically).

As a Californian with a Roman mother, someone who grew up in the sun, surrounded by postive, mostly cheerful people (sometimes maddenningly cheerful and false), the Parisians are a constant challenge! And the language. English is sui generis and I’m glad I’m a native speaker. Italian is beautiful, logical, phonetic. French is torture; it mirrors French society and mores, and of course French history. I spent years trying to master it. Some say I have. Perhaps. What I really enjoy is being able to give it back to the Parisians, especially the functionnaires who run the often nightmarish bureaucracies.

The other big challenge of living here is making a living. Paris is expensive. I’ve lived off my writing for 25 years. It’s tough. Nowadays I also give custom walking tours of Paris, since I’m an unabashed walkaholic and am insatiably curious about history, art, architecture, urbanism and the scrum of Paris life. Some also claim I’m a natural performer. That’s probably not true. I know very well when I’m putting on an act.

You divide “Paris, Paris” into three sections: Paris People, Paris Places, and Paris Phenomena. Can you share with us a personal favorite of each?

It’s cruel to ask a writer for his or her personal favorite anything. Without wishing to seem immodest, I am proud of all my Parisian word-children. But if pushed, I would say that in the People section the acid portrait of Pompidou seems pretty accurate and manages to be entertaining to boot; in Places, I am torn, because the Seine chapter seems to capture much, but so does the Ile St-Louis, and that odd chapter about Montsouris and Buttes-Chaumont, which are very strange places. For Phenomenon, it would be the chapter about Paris 1900, the Janus City: it also expresses much of what I feel about the cult and business of nostalgia, and its flipside, i.e. the wise habit Frenchmen and women have (and Italians too) of looking back and forward simultaneously. One of the expressions so dear to Americans is “and he never looked back.” That’s idiotic. We must look back. We need to remember the past, to learn from it, to love it, to respect it. The present is simply a continuation of the past; the future is the present a few moments from now. Europeans (and Asians and Africans) are much wiser than we when it comes to time, history and identity (though I am very much opposed to the politicization of the “French identity” by President Sarkozy).

Travel writer Jan Morris calls your book “perhaps the most evocative American book about Paris since A Moveable Feast.” High praise! Hemingway’s book focused on his years in Paris as part of a large group of expatriate American writers. Do you find there is still an expat literary community in Paris? What does being an American writer in Paris mean to you today?

Author David Downie

That’s many questions in one! I enjoyed Hemingway’s book. It was heavily edited and published posthumously, as you know. But my books on Paris – the ones that have really fired me – were not written by Americans. They were written by Frenchmen and women. The 19th-century authors are still alive in spirit, and their haunts are still here for our delectation. I do know a few expat writers in Paris. Some are American, others English or Italian. There might very well be an expat literary community in Paris today, but if it exists, I’m not part of it. The world has changed a great deal since Hemingway’s day. People live on the Internet. No one has time to sit in cafés all day, unless they’re working on their computer or BlackBerry. (I do not own a BlackBerry nor would I own one or an I-something either). Restaurants are ridiculously expensive. Even compared to the 1980s, when I first arrived, Paris is vastly different.

I’m a writer, period. Not an American writer in Paris, or an expat. I just happened to wind up here. And I’m unconcerned about nationality and passports. The more of them the merrier. It’s freedom of expression and lifestyle that interest me. So far, Paris has been very good at granting those, and it probably satisfied the needs of other writers too, which is one reason why they continue to come.

Your essays are more than simple vignettes about Paris – they are chock-full of information and history. What is the role of research in your writing? Do you start with certain facts first and then try to weave a narrative, or do you make a discovery on one of your many walks around the city and then dig deeper to find out more? Please describe your writing process in general.

Describing the process would take several pages, in part because the process changes constantly. I have a horror of formulaic writing. Paris also imposes itself on the writer; the city and its inhabitants dictate the way I research and write. But generally speaking, I over-research whatever I am writing about. I read, I interview, I visit and re-visit. Then I go back and ask the questions all over again. Usually it’s the second or third time around that people divulge the interesting stuff. What I  love is the chase, the hunt, the search for clues, for tidbits, for the pearls lying in plain view on the sand (that’s an image I’ve lifted from Gianbattista Marino, the 17th-century Italian poet who made his fortune in Naples, Rome and Paris).

Sometimes I read something juicy in an old book or a newspaper and off I go. Sometimes I see something on a façade or in a shop window or museum. My mind is a mystery to me. That scares me. But my quirky character has provided me with a livelihood so far, so I won’t complain.

You seem like a rare breed these days: a writer who is able to make a living entirely from writing! Do you have any thoughts on the current changes in journalism and publishing? (The digital revolution, the rise of self-publishing, etc?) Are these trends affecting you in any way?

Nota dolente. You’ve touched a delicate spot. First, my wife and I live simply. We are minimalists. We hiked across France a few years ago and lived out of our little backpacks for nearly 3 months. I wouldn’t recommend the brand of perfume we brewed, but we confirmed our suspicions that 95 percent of what we own is unnecessary. And we own little. Very little. We live in a tiny apartment.

Alison’s priority is photography. She spends most of what she earns making prints or traveling and surviving in order to shoot film or digital images. I’m happy with crumbs and nuggets. What I value most is time—and peace and quiet. It’s not that we sacrifice. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

That said, the digital revolution has gutted the photography market: everyone is a photographer. No one wants to pay. The Internet is great—a wonderfully subversive way to exchange information and ideas—but it’s highly deflationary (and easily manipulated). That means it kills more jobs than it creates (and it’s a source of misinformation and disinformation). What applies to photography applies to writing. Print newspapers and magazines are dropping like the proverbial mouches. Internet publications—blogs, magazines—pay very poorly if at all. Publishers are struggling. People buy fewer books. Why would they? Everything is free on the Internet. This has warped the minds of many. Most people who aren’t in the writing or photography racket don’t realize they’re killing the geese who have laid all those delightful gilded eggs—the professionals who research and write (or photograph) useful and entertaining items, about the making of honey or the death of the honeybee, the glories of nuclear power and its dangers, the greatness of political systems (and the urgent need for their reform). And so on.

Technology is at the root of this revolution. But mainstream news and publishing are partly to blame for the current crisis. People have taken their interest and money elsewhere, because the mainstream is a reflection of the oligarchic world we live in. Experts are distrusted. Many readers want to consume and produce what they think of as spontaneous, unexpurgated, uncensored, “sincere” writing and photography. Bless them. Some of it is wonderful. But the world desperately needs experts and professionals who dedicate their lives to gathering and analyzing data, and present it in a succinct, enjoyable fashion. I’m not being very succinct so will stop.

Travel, food, and wine writing are your staples. Do you want to shine a light on how much hard work goes into your job or should we all just be jealous of how fabulous that sounds? :)

You’re better off imagining that it’s all a lark. If people realized how much work goes into researching and writing books about food, travel, history and so forth – not to mention works of fiction – they would be horrified. And they wouldn’t believe you if you told them. For instance, it took me over 10 years to put together the essays in “Paris, Paris.” Each one represents weeks or months of research and writing. My crime novel “Paris City of Night” took me years to write (it includes a potted history of photography from Niepce onward, among other things). The “Food Wine” guidebooks I’ve done – three so far – are the fruit of 20 years’ worth of reporting. So let’s leave the illusion intact, and raise a glass to madness and freedom. No one told me to be a writer. Everyone warned me that it would be more than difficult. They were right. But I have no regrets.

Any advice for struggling writers?

Most advice is bad advice. If anyone can convince you that you shouldn’t fling yourself into the fray, then they’re right, you shouldn’t. Mozart said that, much more elegantly.

What’s next?

You might want to address that question to my editor at Random House: I’ve written a book about our madcap hike across France, and the manuscript is on his desk. In any case, I continue to write for a handful of dead-tree magazines and newspapers, and for electrifying Gadling.com (in theory I am their European correspondent). I have my blog (http://blog.davidddownie.com) and with Alison I run my custom tours operation (www.parisparistours.com). So I keep busy. There’s also another novel in the works. And a couple of travel and food books. A man I met in Barcelona hadn’t slept more than 6 hours a night for 10 years. He told me, deadpan, “Sleep is for my next life.”

Thanks, David!

For a chance to win a copy of “Paris, Paris,” leave a comment by Saturday, April 16. You don’t have to think of anything clever to say (though please feel free!). Just a simple “I want to win” will do just fine. (And you don’t need to fill in your address, either – I’ll email you directly if you win!)

If you haven’t already subscribed to the blog via email, signing up now will also count as an entry.

Good luck!

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106 Responses to “First! Ever! Giveaway! David Downie’s “Paris, Paris””


  1. 1 Sarah Hilary April 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I want to win! I would love to be living in Paris, or simply on holiday there. This book looks like the next best thing. Beautiful.

  2. 3 Sab April 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Great interview, and I’d love to get my hands on this book, which I would also review on my site, so there you go! A double whammy, as we Brits say.
    I like your blog, by the way; pleasingly eclectic – keep it that way :-Sab

    • 4 paris (im)perfect April 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Sab. Whoa. “Double whammy” is a British term? It’s been appropriated by Americans then, too! Also, thank you for the blog love. I have pretty eclectic tastes, so I’m glad the blog reflects that!

      • 5 Sab April 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

        Oh. Well maybe it’s not British after all. You live and learn. Personally my fav US expression is ‘go figure’. There are so many weird situations where that sums things up perfectly! Take care, :-Sab

  3. 6 OliveandBranch April 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    To accidentally live in Paris – nice accident! Lovely article.

  4. 8 Melanie April 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Loved the interview! And as always (although I don’t shout it out as much as I should), I enjoy reading your blog. Good luck to all the giveaway particpants and for all the Paris peeps – hope you are out enjoying this wonderfully sunny day! Great job, Sion!

  5. 10 Tara Lynne Groth April 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    A Moveable Feast is the next book I’m going to read – would love to read this one simultaneously!

  6. 12 pariskarin April 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    “We know some who are wonderful, relaxed, generous, full of smiles and warmth, etc… They are our friends, all three of them. I’m joking, of course.” BWAH HAH! :D

    This was fantastic to read: “So let’s leave the illusion intact, and raise a glass to madness and freedom. No one told me to be a writer. Everyone warned me that it would be more than difficult. They were right. But I have no regrets.”

    Amen. So let it be. Huzzah! Makes me think of that great quote by Jack Kerouac — what’s the one? About the mad ones… *searching now*

    This one: ““The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!””

    Okay, maybe Donwie’s words are a little less, uhhhhh, enthusiastic than Kerouac’s (lol), but the essence seems to be the same. Carpe diem.

    What a wonderful interview, Sion. I was really happy to learn more about the author of the book I also read for which I am almost finished with the review. :) Which reminds me — leave me out of the drawing as I have already been lucky enough to read the book. I just wanted to tell you how nice it was to read more about the author here in your post. I am also glad that I will be able to link your post up in my post as well.

    One other thing: I was really appreciative of the question and answer about writing and photography in today’s age of the Internet. I’m learning, kind-of the hard way, about some of the things Downie addressed regarding how “everything is free on the internet.” It does seem to be both a blessing and a curse. I’m grateful for the whole “Wiki” attitude of open and democratic sharing, but it does lead to issues of personal property and a (perhaps?) decline in accuracy and professionalism. All good things to think about/be aware of/continue to discuss and figure out. I’m having to think about the way I have approached my blog & photography because of these issues.

    Thank you, as always, for a writing job well-done!

    • 13 paris (im)perfect April 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Karin. Thanks for the comment! Looking forward to your review. I haven’t had the chance to read all of the book yet, but the chapters I have are chock-full of information. I just love getting into an insight into how authors work, so I went for the interview!

      Yes, writing and photography in the age of the Internet is a big thing. Part of me likes the democratizing element, but part of me sees how much harder it is to actually make a go of it now that everyone says they are a writer and photographer! Who I am to say who is an artist? But something is being lost in this age of rapid information and information overload. I think art takes time, attention to craft. Kind of easy to forget in the digital age sometimes.

      Thanks for stopping by. Please do link back to this interview when you write your review. I’m looking forward to it!

      • 14 pariskarin April 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

        I got your comment on my post and I JUST updated my post with information at the bottom about this interview and how folks can come here and win a copy of the book! I feel like a real dolt for forgetting. I was having this monster issue with errant and totally annoying tags here in WordPress effing the post up. It was making me nutball, and all I could think of was that it was already 5 pm, and I promised I’d post the review.

        But, it’s remedied now. Thank you so much for reminding me. :)

      • 15 paris (im)perfect April 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

        No worries at all lady. Thanks for including the link back here. I thought people might want a chance to win a free book. And if they don’t, your review was so awesome I’m sure they’ll buy it anyway :)

        I can tell how much time you put into that post. Bravo.

  7. 16 Joy Searles April 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Please pick me. I’ve been a lover of Paris for over 50 years!!

  8. 18 Clare April 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    No need to put me in the comp as I have already ordered a copy. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the read. It is such a shame that the ‘Food Wine’ books take about 20 years worth of research. After ‘Food Wine Rome’, I have decided that I need one for every city!

    Ho Hum, I am looking forward to reading ‘Paris Paris’ and I am hopeful that it will then give me a decent excuse for a re-visit!

  9. 20 Linda April 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    David sounds like just the kind of writer I love to read! Yes, please, I’d love to win his book!

  10. 22 Jack McFarland April 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Il fait beau, c’est le printemps!

  11. 24 kyliemac April 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Oh, just saw Ann Mah’s post about this book too! I’m excited to have a look at it myself, so “I want to win”! I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. 26 snc April 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    What a fabulous interview!

  13. 28 Barbara Hall April 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Sion,
    What interesting and thought provoking answers David gave to your good questions! I definitely want to read his book. If I’m not one of the lucky random winners, I will buy it or check it out at my local library. Great post!

  14. 30 Suzanne Hurst April 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I would love to win a copy of PARIS,PARIS, signed by David Downie, of course. Then I would purchase 2 copies for 2 francophile friends of mine.

  15. 32 Tawna Soltysik April 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I would love to win a copy!! I really enjoyed reading this interview! Well done Sion!!! :)

  16. 34 Lee Isbell April 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    (What nice weather? I’m sitting here in California, after several warm beautiful days, watching giant snowflakes fall, not knowing whether I’ll have my usual “Thursday out.”)

    What a great interview! I would like to win the book and am planning to send a link to it to my best Friends of Paris.

    While I’m here, can you tell me how you pronounce your first name? When I refer you while telling someone about your blog, I give at least two imagined versions.

    • 35 paris (im)perfect April 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Lee. Well, I imagine California has better weather *most* of the time. We are all amazed by the sunny skies right now because they don’t happen a lot!

      And yes. You pronounce my name See-on. Just say those two simple words “see” “on” and you’ve got it!

  17. 36 Ted Liberti April 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    A better series of beautifully written vignettes into Parisian life, culture and place, one will not find. Best shared with fellow savvy travelers to Lutetia and France.

    Best bundled with baskets for food, wine and travel lovers – a great 2011 gift idea for your gala food, wine and travel events and festivals!!

  18. 38 Barb Best April 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Terrific interview with author David Downie, fascinating thoughts on technology and the digital revolution. Love your blog!

  19. 40 joy April 7, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    what a great giveaway! I`ve never been to Paris and my friend is urging me to go with her (it`s her home) this summer…hmm! I would love to have a copy of this book on my shelf :)
    I also subsribe to your blog by email :)

  20. 42 Res April 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Gosh, your interviews are tough, must start thinking of clever answers in case I am ever lucky enough to promoted to this illustrious group by my favourite blogger!

  21. 44 Carole April 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if life were only all about WINNING! ;-)

  22. 46 jennyphoria April 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Great interview and very intriguing answers. I’ll definitely have to read this book one way or another.

    And I love the idea of “Paris” being the plural of a risk or challenge. I’ll bolster me on those days when living here isn’t quite such a dream :)

  23. 48 Ted Liberti April 8, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Sion, What wonderful questions you asked David that made for a very interesting and informative read from the writer who is indeed as he so well says, not an ex-pat in Paris, but instead a writer who happens to be based in Paris. Your interview captured Paris’ multiple sides, both belle and edgy, that you both discussed. If you endeavor to revel in Paris’ different sides – Paris: Paris makes for excellent reading. I look forward to reading more here and welcome to my wine festivals anytime:)) It’s time for a tasting in Lutetia!!

    • 49 paris (im)perfect April 8, 2011 at 2:07 am

      Thanks so much, Ted! It is of course the author’s answers that make the interviews such a delight, but I do strive to ask interesting questions that can open up onto such interesting insights as David provided! And indeed. I do see the multiple sides of Paris. Which is why, of course, I named my blog “paris (im)perfect” !

      Thank you for the invitation!

  24. 50 Lupinssupins April 8, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Great interview, Sion! I loved my year abroad in Paris, but was glad I’d had 2 childhood years in France to give my French [at least the accent, I was too little to gain much vocab] a head start. J’aimerais bien etre Parisienne par accident (à part ces apparts petits;-) et j’aimerais bien gagner ce livre!

  25. 51 Lupinssupins April 8, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Sion- I just tried to share this post on my facebook page, but they blocked it, saying it had “spammy” content! J’en suis navrée! I tried again, this time deleting the exclamation points, the words “free” and “giveaway,” but it still blocked it. The box had a link to report if I think this is an error, and of course I filled it out, but no success yet, hélas.

    • 52 paris (im)perfect April 8, 2011 at 2:10 am

      Oh no! There’s nothing spammy on my blog! Why would Facebook do that? Perhaps because I’ve had so many comments on this post?! :)

      Maybe you could just post a link to my blog, not this particular post. This interview will be the first thing people will see and I won’t be posting again until next week, so they’ll definitely see the interview.

      I really appreciate you wanting to share this on your Facebook page and for taking the time to let me know about it. I hope you will be able to soon! And if not, thanks again for trying!

  26. 53 Lupinssupins April 8, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Sion- Ca va de mal en pire! Facebook won’t let me share anything from your blog! I tried Facebook’s link for bugs & issues and it says that if there is nothing spammy about the site that is being blocked: “If you believe there is no abusive content on the specific website you are trying to post, unfortunately, the web domain that hosts the website has already been identified as abusive. Facebook does not have control over content that is hosted by particular web domains. To request the removal of abusive web pages that may be hosted by this domain, you will have to contact the specific domain provider.”

    I took that to mean that their problem is with WordPress & furthermore, that they are passing the buck on it! I tried another WordPress site [Icanhascheeseburger, a silly, but favorite lolcat site], from which I constantly share to facebook, and suddenly, facebook won’t let me share those either! Nao ai haz an angry abowt the book of faces:-[

    • 54 paris (im)perfect April 8, 2011 at 3:27 am

      Aie! This is bad news! I was able to post this on my FB page this morning, but I haven’t tried since. Well, there are a whole bunch of WordPress blogs – they will have to fix the problem eventually! I’m so sorry for your frustrating experience. Thank you so much for letting me know and for trying so hard! Sheesh! (Facebook does make it easy to be annoyed with them. They change their policies all the time! And their privacy settings – don’t even get me started! But such a wonderful way to keep in touch with people and share – such a shame if it’s blocking the sharing now!)

  27. 55 Christy Bailey April 8, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Ooh! This would be the perfect gift for my friend who’s moving to Paris!

  28. 57 Lisa April 8, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Please put me in the hat! :)

  29. 59 Linda Zimmerman April 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I won $2 this week in the California lottery… maybe a book is next.

  30. 62 Franck April 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Paris est génial, on n’allait pas en plus être sympa ! Non, mais ! j’ai appris plein de mots nouveaux rigolos dans cette interview sympatoche tout plein.
    Merci.

  31. 64 Melaney Jordan April 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE put me in the drawing! Only for Paris would I beg :) I feel lucky to get to Paris once a year for just a couple of weeks, but that gets me through the rest of the year!

    LOVE your blog!

  32. 66 Andi April 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Oh goodie, a new book Paris – I must have it! Excellent interview!

  33. 68 Camille April 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Great interview! It was nice to meet you the other night, and I hope to see you again soon!

  34. 70 Deborah Lotus April 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Yes! I want to win the book! It is an accident that I was born in the wrong century and don’t live in Paris…sounds like this book could help assuage my longing…when I was a mere 20-year-old naive Vermont girl, I was whisked away to Provence and Paris by a much older world class ebullient musician who delighted in showing me his Paris of the left bank, an experience which forever shaped my aesthetic and Bohemian aspirations…now I am on the left bank of the Charles in a far more prosaic Cambridge, MA, —pining for the life I imagine that David and Allison live…great interview, great life!

    All of the zest,

    Deborah

  35. 72 Mary April 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Wonderful interview, Sion. Thanks for directing me to it!

  36. 74 Linds April 10, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Loved your interview and his candid responses. I want to win the book too ;)

  37. 76 jerome michaelson April 11, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I started to write that I never win anything…but that’s not really accurate…uppn further reflection, I realize that I am winning every day I awaken, enjoy all that life has for me, and to be able recall the wonderful memories of my experiences in Paris and in the French countryside…My heartfelt thanks to the woman upstairs..

  38. 78 Holly Le Du April 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    LOVE Paris! My husband says I’m more French than he is and he was born in Paris;-)
    Would love to win a copy!
    Great interview- thanks for writing it:-)

  39. 80 DeeAA April 12, 2011 at 4:35 am

    I really enjoyed your interview, which I linked to from nalienparisienne.wordpress.com. Both these reviews/interviews are compelling. I find myself really wanting to read this gem. It would be really nice to win one, of course, but c’est la vie.

  40. 82 Gail April 12, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Pick me…Pick me :)

  41. 84 Linda April 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Put me on the list please.

  42. 86 Beth Anderson April 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I have his first book and read parts of it aloud to my parents before I took them to Paris. Looking forward to reading the updated edition (hint hint). Heading back to Paris in two weeks’ time – will just miss David who will be on a US tour!

  43. 88 Annie April 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I am headed to Paris at the end of May, and I love reading about the city.

  44. 90 la fausse parisienne April 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while, but this post has given me reason to comment for the first time–I’d love the book!

  45. 92 Aya April 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    What a great interview, Sion! As a fellow “accidental Parisian”, I would love to read David Downie’s thoughts on the City of Light.

  46. 94 Buffy April 14, 2011 at 3:16 am

    I really enjoy the interviews you do. Happy Spring in Paris!

  47. 96 Lindsay April 16, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I wanna win! Sign me Up! Missing Paris like mad and having just finished the Paris Wife, could use even more Paris right about now.
    Yeah for your interview and all of your luck and love in the city of lights.

    • 97 paris (im)perfect April 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      Just under the wire, Lindsay! Name’s in the hat – I’m drawing the winners late tonight!

      I bet you’re missing Paris like mad. Must be hard moving back after so many years here! Best of luck to you!

  48. 98 Lil April 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    i agree with moving to paris as taking a chance at life, no safe bet but plenty of rewarding moments. i’m still in my honeymoond period perhaps but i love every moment that i’ve been here so far. ;)

    • 99 paris (im)perfect April 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Lil. Yep, there is definitely a honeymoon period. Good to remember for the hard periods! Hopefully there will be many more rewards than risks for you. Your website is *gorgeous* by the way!

  49. 100 Earl April 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I would like to win this book. Thank you.

    Earl

  50. 101 Sarah Towle June 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Excellent interview, Sion! Thanks for sharing the wealth! Can’t wait to read my autographed copy of David’s book. His thoughts here have already spoken to me.

    I’ll be back!
    Sarah

  51. 103 ideaphoric June 9, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Thanks Paris (im)perfect and Broadway Books! I love David Downie’s Quiet Places of Rome and can’t wait to see Paris, Paris. I ‘m hoping to go very soon and know the book will be a joy to read.


  1. 1 Special Report — PARIS, Paris: Journey into the City of Light « An Alien Parisienne Trackback on April 12, 2011 at 9:49 am
  2. 2 “Paris, Paris” Giveaway Winners « paris (im)perfect Trackback on April 18, 2011 at 11:07 am
  3. 3 Don’t miss this fascinating interview with David Downie about his new book “Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light” | The Rambling Epicure Trackback on October 26, 2011 at 10:21 am

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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