Artist Jill Butler's insouciant Wandering Paris: A Guide to Discovering Paris Your Way is a pocket-sized guide offering 14 themed adventures in the City of Light. Butler, who lived in Paris for 14 years, shares her insider's view, encouraging travelers to meander the city's arrondissements at whim. She eschews many practical travel how-to's, so Wandering Paris is best used as a complement to a more detail-laden guide, especially for first-time visitors. However, Butler's ideas for merging into Parisian life are excellent: allot a day each to explore the flea markets, take an architectural walk, boat upon the Seine and canals, nibble your way through bakeries or taste French wines in neighborhood bistros.
Brimming with Butler's whimsical watercolors and evocative text, Wandering Paris lures you down grand boulevards and into Paris' intimate quartiers. Many city secrets are revealed along the way, like Notre Dame's free Sunday organ concerts, where to dance in a Seine-side cafe and who sells the best ice cream. An appendix lists addresses, telephone numbers, operating hours and Paris Metro stations for each recommended attraction. The best advice in this little gem, however, might be Butler's suggestion to never decide what to do until after coffee. And, of course, a croissant.