Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across
France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750
miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, their eccentric route takes 72 days on
Roman roads and pilgrimage paths—a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to
the sanctuary of Saint James the Greate ...more
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Knowing of my love (read: obsession) for narratives about pilgrimages along The Way, a friend recommended this book to me. I immediately discerned from the title that this wasn't the typical "Way" narrative, which usually starts somewhere on the edge of France, proceeds across the Pyrenees through Galicia, and ...more
The France described by David Downie also differed from the France descr ...more
"Gravel and rocks, polished by fifteen thousand years of scuffing feet, now sli ...more
The awe and spendor of the French countryside receive a cursory treatment at best. Downie has already seen most of the area by car, and as ...more
This is David Downie's recollection of his attempt to walk from Paris to the Pyrenees. His wife, photographer Alison Harris, is along for the pilgrimage. Downie is facing a health crisis and is searching for meaning in his ...more
Mr. Downie and his wife walk the “2,000-year-old Via Agrippa and pre-Roman, Gallic footpaths, routes predating Christianity, safe in the knowledge that, unbeknownst to most pilgrims, they underlie the Way of St. James just as surely as Paganism underlies Roman Catholicism.”
Downie meditates on the nature of pilgrimage, personal reconciliation of faith and family issues, and life in today’s France.
One passage illustrates the scope, insight and captivating interest of Mr. Downie’s commentary:
For some reason, I didn't connect the the narrator at all. On a book like this, I think the narrator needs to establish some sort of con ...more
This is not your typical hiking memoir - this couple doesn't go about hiking the usual path which puts them in some rather unusual places and circumstances and makes for an interesting read.
The 'skeptic' part is that he doesn't really believe in pilgrimages, he learns there are different types of pilgrims and different beliefs that are fed by the act of walking.
It's an interesting book.
The Morvan, whic ...more
Perhaps it was because I listened to the book instead of reading it but I found Downie's "skepticism" and his relentless suspic ...more
Paris to the Pyrenees goes on the list of books I liked. David Downie, the author and half of the couple who trekked around France, is opinionated, smug, whiny, snobbish, and a bit of a misanthrope. In his favor, his wife as he writes her, ...more
David Downie and his wife, photographer Allison Harris, hike the Way of St. James in France, following pilgrims' route in southwest France to the Spanish border.
The route is filled with Downie's musings on family, faith, the nature of pilgrims, politics, history - you name it, he has an opinion. He descriptions of the people they meet along the way are wonderfully alive. His own health probl ...more
His descriptions of the food & history, however, is where he shines. You can tell that he really values food & history. his descriptions make me want to do a pilgrimage through France as well...well, maybe a bourgeoisie vers ...more