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TRAVEL WRITING: I See Paris, I See France

By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
MSNBC

Sept. 29 - From Paris to Antarctica, this season’s crop of travel books takes readers to the near and far, the exotic and the comfortable. Travel books are expected to feature gorgeous photos, and many do. Yet this season we also review some books that are all but photoless, relying on their prose to transport readers thousands of miles from their homes.

We'll always have Paris

Each traveler’s memories of Paris belong uniquely to them, but through “Paris in Mind,” edited by Jennifer Lee (Vintage, $13), all can share in the memories of 30 outstanding writers, from E.B. White to Thomas Jefferson to Dave Barry.

White’s piece is just one long paragraph telling of turning to an encyclopedia article on Paris upon hearing of its World War II liberation. Just one paragraph, yet it puts a lump in the reader’s throat.

Humorist Art Buchwald writes of his meeting with the man who wrote “April in Paris.” Ernest Hemingway ruminates on the glorious food.

And Barry’s two-parter is as funny and quick as his reputation, saying “Sometimes we Americans try to blend in to the cafe scene, but the French immediately spot us as imposters, because we cannot pronounce the Secret French Code letter, which is ‘r’.”

Pick up this slim paperback to read on the plane on your way to de Gaulle.

Copyright ©2004 MSNBC Interactive

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©2003 Jennifer Lee