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An Hour from Paris [Anglais] [Broché]

Annabel Simms

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An Hour from Paris A guide to twenty little known destinations, all within an hour of Paris by train. Full description

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Annabel Simms was born in England, of Hungarian parentage. In 1991 she came to Paris on a year's sabbatical from her job as a college lecturer in London, and never left. She now works as a freelance journalist and English teacher.

An Hour From Paris, her 2002 guide to 20 little-known places in the Paris countryside accessible by train, was the fruit of more than ten years' happy exploring of the Paris region (Ile de France) by train and on foot.

She continues to make new discoveries on her weekend country walks, and her ongoing experience is reflected in the fully revised 2008 edition, reprinted with some updates in 2010 and again in 2011.

Her other publications include articles on yoga, bird-watchers, sailing and dancing, as well as on travel in and around Paris and elsewhere, for the Independent, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  21 commentaires
102 internautes sur 104 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Don't Leave Home Without It 3 octobre 2004
Par Bill Marsano - Publié sur Amazon.com
By Bill Marsano. Is it possible to be tired of Paris? Bored with it? Amazingly, it is, and at such times one may long for a brief escape, a short trip into the countryside. To the rescue comes Annabel, a Briton long resident in Paris who has obviously felt the same uneasy stirrings, because she has compiled a very attractive assortment of little breakaways, none of which takes more than an hour to reach, and deftly compressed them into her small but very useful pocket-sized book.

She's assembled--and thoroughly researched twenty daytrips, and most of them are bound to surprise even veteran Paris habitues. There's a thrice-moated town to the east, a cathedral in an ex-chocolate factory, canalside walks, and an huddle of peaceful islands at the end of a Metro lines. (And at the end she also throws in Versailles, Giverny and the like, just for lagniappe.)

Simms knows the territory very well; she writes briskly and supplies history, background and local lore as well as specifics on finding the tourist offices, restaurants and museums at each stop. There are good photos and maps, too. Being British, she also includes numerous walking tours, and being a walker myself, I liked that best of all.

All of these destinations are accessible by public transport, for which Simms gives excellent details. (All too often, a concierge or tourist office in Paris will reflexively urge you to rent a car.)

I stumbled upon this book while in Paris last month, and the daytrip I took was a hghlight of my visit. If you're planning to visit Paris, get this book before you go--you'll want to build at least one of Simms's recommendations into your itinerary.--Bill Marsano is an award-winning American travel writer.
55 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A guidebook with a difference 14 octobre 2005
Par Mr. F. Portier - Publié sur Amazon.com
Coming from a Frenchman who has lived in the Paris area for twenty-five years this may seem incredible, but An Hour from Paris has proved extremely useful and informative, it has helped me to discover places I didn't even suspect. Typical is the trip from Herblay to Conflans-Ste-Honorine : neither place is particularly outstanding but the riverside walk was truly a revelation, each step offering views like Impressionist paintings. Without the guide I would have never discovered this, and I have tried several other suggested trips with equal success. A far cry from the Michelin guide, especially the recent dumbed-down editions. Warmly recommended.
67 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting places, terrible directions 16 juillet 2005
Par M. J. WEST - Publié sur Amazon.com
I've now tried 6 out of the 20 recommended destinations in this book, and while the author has selected some beautiful and interesting places that I'd never have found on my own, and there's a nice historical background on each place, an annoying defect keeps appearing and ruining my day trips: her directions for walks are terrible. Reality just doesn't match up to what's in the book, so for example you might find yourself looking at a map that shows a straight path from A to B, and you'll be reading the accompanying text that says to just go left at the stream, but you won't find any stream and you won't find any straight paths. Not, that is, until you've gone way too far, you retrace your steps and then realize the author neglected to mention that there are two parallel paths within 10 yards of each other and it does matter which one you're on. (That particular scenario happens at Champs-sur-Marne. Creteil is surprisingly tough to follow, too.) Still a good book to have just for ideas on where to go, but be sure to bring a GPS system or a local with you if you want to find anything.
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A love letter to France 12 décembre 2009
Par Frank Lauran - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is the one guide I keep coming back to for my annual treks to the City of Light. I've bought several copies of this book -one I wore out and the others as gifts. The author introduces you to a part of Paris- the encircling zone, that you are not going to find out about in standard travel guides. This is a modestly elegant and rare book. It is for people who enjoy the unexpected and the things and places usually not revealed to travelers seeking the standard sights in a time-pressed way. In the six or so years I've been referring to this as a guide, I've found that it has provided, by its choice of recommended trips, insights into the French culture that would not have come as quickly. One helping note - I have found all the paths marked out in the book to be accurate - for that precise visit. If you choose to wander from that recommended path, and I am sure you will want to follow your senses, it is best to have an area map along. This book has helped to create rich memories for my family.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Do not think of going to Paris without this book 29 juillet 2010
Par Jesse Kornbluth - Publié sur Amazon.com
It may not strike first-time visitors to Paris, but one of the world's most civilized cities is also a theme park. Parisland, I call it. And not with derision. For those who love art, literature, music, food, high style and history --- that's you, and you, and most certainly me ---Paris just might be the ideal destination.

But what if you tire of the glories of Paris?

What if you want a change of scene?

The answer is not to pack your bags and move on to the next urban wonderland.

It's to stay in Paris --- and visit France.

That is, the Ile de France, the well-kept secret of the French, not often visited by travelers. And this is mystifying, because here you can find chateaux and gardens and beautiful walks and picturesque but not expensive restaurants and --- against all expectation --- unfailingly friendly people. Oh, and fresh air. Oh, and no crowds.

Those lovely, bucolic, culturally rich destinations --- nature and history's own theme parks - are all within an 80-kilometre radius of Paris.

All are accessible by train.

All are an hour from Paris or less.

That's why "An Hour from Paris" [to buy the book from Amazon, click here] is the most exciting travel guide I've read in years. Its author, Annabel Simms, is a Brit who moved to Paris and developed a deep knowledge of the fifth arrondissement. Business took her to the modern, soulless inner suburbs. Then an urge "to get into the countryside, any countryside" led her to discover France's excellent network of commuter trains --- and what she was looking for. The 21 day trips of this book, which has been revised and updated several times, are the happy result.

Ms. Simms is not an exuberant writer. She doesn't need to be. Descriptions, directions, a granular guide to each destination --- these more than suffice.

There are, of course, chateaux. But there are also four small islands near Cretail. There's a lovely walk along the canal through La Ferté-Milon. An open-air restaurant on an island (Ile du Martin-Pecheur) where everybody --- and that will, apparently, include you --- gets up and dances. A village (Moret-sur-Loing) beloved by Impressionist painters. Sunday lunch at the Guinguette Auvergnate, a "French 1950s time warp" just 9 kilometres from Paris.

Slow down and walk, and other charms are revealed. The village of Andrésy, for example. Simms writes: "Continue along the river as far as the Rue de Trélan. There is a little jetty with an electric bell to the right which you press to summon the small speedboat opposite...There is a little riverside garden in which you can eat outside in the summer (where I saw a red squirrel) and the tiled floor, lace curtains framing the river and the old-fashioned oak furniture make for a cosy retreat inside."

That red squirrel --- who else would tell you about it?

You can't read this terrific book without noting a painful irony. A fifth of the total population of France lives in this region, yet only 15% of the land can be considered "urbanized." A remarkable 23% is still considered "forest." Simms writes: "Huge tracts of land are given over to intensive agriculture and it is possible to walk for miles without seeing more than a handful of people. Villages such as Seugy or Belloy-en-France seem completely untouched by the twenty-first century...."

Compare that to what you find an hour outside any major American city, and you'll want to weep --- or, looking at the bright side, make many more day trips to the wonders of France beyond your beloved Paris.
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