Carolyne Kauser-AbbottInspire

Paris Visitors: Don’t Miss Out on These Essential Art and Architecture Guides

Paris’s art, architecture, and fashion scenes have long influenced the rest of the country, including Provence. Ruby Boukabou, a passionate observer of Parisian art and architecture, has penned two indispensable books: The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris and The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris. These comprehensive guides, enriched with her insights and experiences, are a must-read for anyone embarking on a journey to the city.

Eiffel Tower Paris Architecture Guide

About the Author

As a part-time Parisian, Ruby Boukabou is not just an entertainer but a seasoned writer/reporter focusing on travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her extensive academic background, including an honours degree in the Arts (literature, theatre, film, French, classics), a Master’s in theatre, and a diploma in journalism, has paved the way for her years of experience as a freelance travel and culture journalist. Ruby’s work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, media stations, and websites worldwide, making her a trusted source for all things Parisian.

As a long-time arts reporter, Ruby’s passion for creative processes and products shines through in her work. She finds beauty and fascination in it all, whether it’s music, dance, theatre, film, art, cooking, or architecture. Her interest in architecture stems from its unique ability to shape our approach to our surroundings, a perspective she shares with her readers.

“I think art is essential for a fulfilled life, whether in the creation or appreciation of it. It’s nourishing, healing, insightful and takes us beyond ourselves. I’ve always enjoyed engaging with other artists and sharing and interpreting their offerings to a wider public via my interviews, articles, photos, and videos.” ~ Ruby Boukabou

When Ruby is not researching, writing or interviewing, you might find her tap dancing in Paris’s bars, music halls, theatres, and clubs and clips set on and around its bridges, streets, bookshops, and waterways.

Book Review: The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris

While beautiful and impressive, Paris is overwhelming in scope. No visitor to the French capital should miss the famous sites—the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, Les Invalides, the Louvre, the gardens, and so on. However, travel time constraints can make it challenging to see the highlights and take time to absorb the soul of Paris, her unique art and architecture.

The Art Lover's Guide to Paris Book Cover

The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris, published in 2019, feels like Ruby opened her address book and shares the highlights of the city’s art scene.

Since a backstory never hurts, the first chapter covers art history and what makes Paris unique. Perhaps the next chapter focuses on museums, the most obvious places for art in Paris; however, Ruby points out, “You could spend a month in Paris and not have enough time to see all the art on offer in the museums.” So, she provides tips and “don’t miss” highlights for these locations.

Whether you are tired of museums or prefer smaller venues, Chapter 3 highlights art galleries worth visiting. Are you more of a photography fan? Then, jump to Chapter 4 for ideas on where to see photography, including a few of Ruby’s pro tips on street photos. Chapter 5 highlights the architecture of some of the well-known and lesser-known sites in Paris, including places of worship. Perhaps often overlooked in traditional guidebooks are public art and street art; there are two separate chapters on these topics. In addition, you will find neighbourhood features for Montmartre and Belleville. If you ever thought attending an art auction would be fun, dive into Chapter 10. At 208 pages, The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris is an essential travel companion.

“Whether you’re already in Paris or considering a trip, I hope this guide will lead you to intriguing artworks, places, and people. While it was impossible to include everything, especially the thousands of great galleries across the city, I hope you’ll find yourselves well directed with plenty of ideas to give your visit a dramatic head start.” ~ Ruby Boukabou

Paris Art and Architecture Guides Street Vendor

Book Review: The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris

Ruby Boukabou intended these two books to serve multiple purposes. For the first-time visitor, these guides are terrific complements to traditional travel resources, adding context and depth to the sightseeing journey. However, for those fortunate enough to visit Paris often, or even people who live in the city, these two books provide a deeper dive into the city’s art and architecture.

The Architecture Lover's Guide to Paris Book Cover

The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris is divided into four (4) parts:

In Part One, Ruby shares a short history of Paris. The city started as a fishing village in 250 BC. When the Romans arrived 200 years later, they built in an orderly grid pattern. Following the Romans, religious influences impacted the city’s design. By the 15th century, French royalty was captivated by Italian Renaissance design commissioned structures such as the Notre Dame bridge and the superb Place des Vosges. A shift towards Baroque design peaked with King Louis XIV’s Palais de Versailles. Many stately monuments survive today, but the most significant impact on the Paris urban plan was Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who, under Napoleon III, had 12,000 buildings demolished to “aerate” the city and created the arrondissements. The book includes an architectural timeline.

If your stay in Paris is short, dive into Part Two, where Ruby highlights the matchless architectural features of famous hotels, department stores, bars and restaurants, and boutiques you can cover in 36 hours.

Part Three covers architectural elements that are both obvious and hidden in plain sight. These principal building blocks include arches, columns, rotundas, Belle Époque signage, and street furniture that shape Paris architecture.

While Part Four is the book’s last section, it may be where you want to start with Ruby’s ideas for self-guided walks. There are six walks, each with a small map, points of interest, and plenty of detail on what you see along the stroll.

The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris is your companion for your next trip to the French capital. This guidebook is the key to exploring Paris beyond the iconic sights.

“There is so much to discover in this city, and this guide was written to help you appreciate the details that you might otherwise miss as you rush from a restaurant to the opera or an underground jazz club, or from a shopping spree to the Louvre or an art opening. Yes, Paris urges you to keep moving, to take in as much in as possible on the run, but it also suggests that you slow down and appreciate the details, the city’s architectural accessories.” ~ Ruby Boukabou

Street Art in Paris

Who Should Buy These Books?

It took Ruby about a year to write each book, leveraging her experience living in Paris and art studies. All the travel writing and local knowledge helped her weave hundreds of extra tips into the books on how people can get the most out of a trip or enjoy and understand the locations and themes from home. Whether this is your first trip to Paris or you have visited many times, these books guide you through the city’s art and architectural highlights beyond the typical tourist itinerary.

Both books are available on Amazon here and here or via Ruby’s website.

Follow Ruby on her social platforms.

Instagram @rubytv
Facebook:  Ruby TV

Image credits: Ruby Boukabou provided all the photos published with her permission.

Parisian Architecture in Provence

While Provencal residents might want to ignore anything from the capital city, some inescapable elements have shaped the region’s art, architecture, and fashion.

The old city of Aix-en-Provence evolved from the Roman era into the Middle Ages, with small streets and alleys in a seemingly unplanned pattern. However, by 1646, the population was pushing the boundaries of the old centre. Michel Mazarin, then the Archbishop of Aix, received the royal orders to proceed with the city’s expansion. Italian architecture influenced an urban plan with broader roads in a grid pattern. This area of the town, known as the Quartier Mazarin, bears features of Hausman design.

Today, Hôtel de Caumont is an art centre in Aix-en-Provence. Built in a Baroque style, this mansion had no equivalent in Aix-en-Provence. It was the largest private property and the only residence with a gala entranceway (cour d’honneur) and a Versailles-style private garden.

In 1651, Archbishop Mazarin, the cardinal’s brother, laid out the famed Cours Mirabeau, which divides Aix’s old town into two sections. First, Elm and then Plane trees lined this elegant, central boulevard, but the trees were cut down due to disease. Houses and stores border both sides of this thoroughfare, and the street has several fountains designed by Jean-Claude Rambot.


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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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