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Go beyond the guidebooks with this unique itinerary.

Book Review: Paris Insights: An Anthology by Tom Reeves

A photo-laden book that puts you on the inside track to the sights of Paris. The author, Tom Reeves, collected articles from his firm's newsletter into this 136-page travel guide.

Based on information from Paris residents, you'll find the most unusual delights. Without Paris Insights in hand, you may walk right past them, completely unaware.

Visit the inauspicious rue Gracieuse in the 5th arrondissement for La Maison des Trois Thés, an unmarked, mysterious looking place, with a treasure trove of tea inside.

Around one Paris corner is a modern drugstore. But go inside and you'll find what the author calls "a temple of contemporary art, interior design, and hi-tech kitsch for the rich, the famous, and the simply curious." This Drugstore Publicis holds two movie theaters, a tobacco/international newsstand, a French pharmacy, two restaurants, a gourmet food boutique, a cosmetic boutique, and a bookstore. Oh, yes… and two caves: one for wine and one for cigars.

The books sections cover the depth of the Paris experience:

1. La Vie Parisienne
2. Americans in Paris
3. Churches and Cathedrals
4. Tasty Treats
5. Paris, Past and Present

Reeves' writing will draw you in: "There exists in Paris a remarkable church whose interior is so beautiful and sumptuous that first-time visitors cannot fail to feel a sense of exultation upon entering its sanctuary." Is it Notre-Dame? Sainte Chapelle? No, it is Val-de-Grace, in a relatively isolated area, but worth seeking out.

Some of the essays are on the light side; more entertaining than informative, such as those on tea, or hot chocolate. The essay on Hemingway's years in Paris does a nice job of relating his experiences to portions of his books.

Paris Insights includes high-quality black and white photos and offers a nice blend of tourism, history and the fantasy of Paris adventures.

Use the book as your eyes and ears, and more importantly, your legs to find the best areas to see in Paris.

About Helen Gallagher

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