Book: Paris Movie Walks: Ten Guided Tours Through The City of Lights! Camera! Action!, by Michael Schurmann
I was going to say “You don’t have to be a movie fan to enjoy this book.” But who among us is NOT a movie fan? And who has seen a movie set in Paris and NOT wanted to glide right over the Seine?
It might have been the breathtaking chases of the Bourne Identity. Or perhaps you swayed to Gene Kelly’s dancing in American in Paris. Or romance, ahh, romance, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Somethings Got to Give (2004) or Keven Kline and Meg Ryan in French Kiss (1995) And the camera made love to Audrey Hepburn in many Paris films and I not only wanted to BE Audrey Hepburn, but I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn IN PARIS.
I can not list all of the movies made in Paris, and even Michael Schurmann, himself an American in Paris, does not try to list every movie ever made in this popular location. There are too many. But Schurmann’s book Paris Movie Walks give you ten ambles through neighborhoods, and each route crosses paths with several movies.
The tours cover much more than just ‘this chase scene took place on this street,’ or ‘this kiss on this bridge.’ Schurmann packs the book with value added. Although he promises “there will be no endless lists of French monarchs and their annoying mistresses, no stories about poets and painters about whom you know little and care even less” the book does include some references to history and the usual ‘Hemingway slept here’ kind of information. Inclusion of plenty of information beyond movie sets makes the book useful to more people and makes it more useful to all readers.
The book includes
- Tips on dining in Paris without going bankrupt. (Maxims charges €35 for a mousse au chocolat.)
- How to adapt to French culture
- A list of movies with Eiffel Tower shots. (Every apartment in a movie set in Paris has a view of the Eiffel Tower, he says.)
- The evolution of the use of locations rather than studio sets, with an aside on American in Paris. (Did they or didn’t they?)
- The student riots of the 1960s.
- Movies with scenes in or outside the Louvre.
- The best view (and most photographed view in movies) in Paris.
I love this book.
- I love the useful index that shows which of the walks show scenes from which movies.
- I love that each walk starts and ends at a metro stop and a metro map is included.
- I love the list of movies to see before you go.
- I love the depth of research that went into the book.
I would love it even more if the maps of each walk showed where the stops are, if the photographs had captions, and if there were not quite so many French language movies included which are unfamiliar to me. Sigh! I guess I’d better spend more time at the Loft Theater, Tucson’s foreign and indie film house.
But on balance, this is a valuable book for the movie lover traveling to Paris, or even the person who just wants to find interesting walks in the city of “Lights!” without the “..camera!action!”