Given the terrible tragedy which befell the French capital in November 2015, there seems no better time to sing the praises of France’s uniqueness than now. This fun and witty photographic journal by Nicolas Guilbert has an excellent foreword by a famous Anglophile, Antoine de Caunes. Known in the UK for the TV show Eurotrash, but a far more serious figure in France, de Caunes reminisces about his 60 years in Paris and appreciates the work of Guilbert as being “unhampered by the often tacky veil of nostalgia”.
That sums up the freshness of the book’s subject matter – there are many reverie-inducing shots of Paris’s buildings in all their glory – but it’s the portraits of the residents at work, rest and play which truly reveal the wonders of the city as a living entity that’s always busy and ever-evolving. From kids splashing in a Place de la République fountain and a high-flying roller-skater on the Pont au Double, to a high-wire cleaner sprucing up a stuffed parrot at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and a costume designer (the author’s mother) in silhouette at her sewing machine, all of human life is here – and it goes on…
Unexpected Paris, A Photographic Journey. By Nicolas Guilbert. Published by Flammarion. List price is $45.
From France Today magazine