You probably have your own.
Walk, that is. The one you consider the most beautiful in the world. It may be close to home or somewhere you travel to often, it may be the one where you receive significant inspiration and peace, maybe the one you take every morning or saunter through every evening.
Nobody has yet found a better way to travel slowly
than to walk.
It requires two legs, nothing more.
Want to go faster?
Don’t bother walking – roll, slide or fly.
But once you are walking, it’s not performance that counts,
but the intensity of the sky,
the splendor of the landscape.
The author of this little book on Paris, John Baxter, a pedestrian in Paris, was thrust into the unlikely role of a professional walking tour guide in Paris, while an expat writer living in Paris.
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, is a memoir of his yearlong experience of giving literary walking tours through the city. It’s filled with musings on the art and pleasure of Paris, luscious antidotes from authors who’ve lived in Paris, their favorite cafes and haunts, a history of Paris and finally of Baxter’s own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
The first couple chapters (short that they were) started a little slowly, but once the author stumbled, so to speak, onto the idea of giving 2-hour walking tours, off the beaten paths as he knew them, filled with stories as he’d learned and experienced them, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my pleasurable time with the book.
There may be more agreeable ways to spend a warm Parisian Saturday than strolling from gallery to gallery, seeking the graceful drawings and lithographs of Henri Matisse.
None, however, immediately come to mind.
We began in the arcades, or passages, that, starting behind the Louvre, trace a crooked path almost to the foot of the butte of Montmartre.
And so his interactions with tourists, of all ages, interests, cultural awareness, levels of strangeness, etc, begin…..
Baxter includes a User’s Guide for visitors to Paris at the end of the book and a helpful map in the front.
You don’t have to have an interest in visiting Paris (although I can’t imagine such a thing) or have been there to enjoy reading The Most Beautiful Walk in the World.
I so appreciated the author’s intention, which he subtly writes near the end,
To find your place,
to share it with those you love,
and to be happy,
who could want more than that?