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Preview — Paris to the Pyrenees by David Downie
Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
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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 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
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:
Perhaps it was because I listened to the book instead of reading it but I found Downie's "skepticism" and his relentless suspic ...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
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
Some of the history was really interesting, the rest was self indulgent blah, blah, blah.
Some nice photos, taken by his wife are included.
I know two women who have done the pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Compostela and I was curious to compare this story with theirs. I have been there myself, but arriving as part of a tour/cruise, not as a pilgrim.
This book was not what I expected. Downie describes his walk, with his wife, a photographer, through the French part of the route, not even getting to the well-trod Spanish portion of the ...more