Book Reviews,  Books & Guides & Writing

Book Review: An Hour from Paris

 An Hour from Parisby Annabel Simms

Hour from Paris Annabel Simms book
An Hour from Paris using the Navigo pass to all zones on weekends and holidays

Within the first five pages I was swept into a desire to quickly read the entire book grab my camera, my Navigo, a bottle of water and head out. The personal update acknowledgements that first meet the reader introduce me to the author, Annabel Simms. Her manner of explaining her method and the updates gives me the impression that what I am about to read in the book will be from her heart.

I noticed immediately its compact size and weight. The immediate clarity of the first map of journey times plants the travel seed. With the Pass Navigo valid for all zones on the weekends or buying a ticket on the RER,  she invites me to begin an inexpensive one-hour journey from Paris to a destination. I have already visited some of the destinations and they brought back memories

The fourth photo within the pages of An Hour from Paris is of the Abbaye de Royaumont. It reminded me of a spring visit a few years ago. I instantly recalled the mother swan and her babies paddling quietly in the water and the music CD we bought in their shop.

For another of her proposed destinations, Moiret-sur-Loing, we rented bikes in Paris and ported them on the RER. We rode around a peaceful countryside not far from Fontainebleau and during a festival in the village, stopped at the famous La maison des sucres d’orge. I am looking forward to seeing more in the Ile-de-France neighborhood by taking all of her proposed journeys to make new memories.

What’s in the book
The current edition is dated 2010. Annabel does, however, have an Updates to Visits page on her website. All of the proposed visits begin at the local train station. Annabel includes sections for getting there, when to go, the best days to visit, journey time, an alternative station if something changes during your visit, potential length of the visit during a day or half day. The distances are given in metric and then the linear equivalent. More details are in the “Using the Guide” section. She suggests a visit and supplies a map with with the walking route from the station to the destination. In her table of contents she provides with at least one reason why you would like to visit the destination.

The back jacket describes the “unique guide” as a book about the old-fashioned pleasures if you know where to look: discovering half-hidden châteaux, boating and dancing by the river, country houses, footpaths, family-run restaurants with 1950s decor and prices to match. “Unique and extensive practical information to discover places that are unknown to many Parisians.”
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This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on Colleensparis.com - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!