Just as the children’s books show the landmarks of Paris, so too do photo books. Photo books provide overviews and details that can help tremendously with your Pairs List. You may enjoy looking at your friends’ photos from Facebook, but none can compare to those of professional photographers.
Additionally, most of these books provide descriptions of the subject alongside the photos so you can know what you are looking at. This can provide you with insight into whether you may really want to visit some of the places on your Pairs List. Or, they may make your list grow.
Some are in color and some are black and white. Color photos will prepare you for what to see, while the black and white photographs may present landmarks in a way that allows you to see details you would not have noticed. Several of the books are of photographs made before color was an option, so take that into consideration, too.
Take a look at this list and see which ones may strike your fancy. They may help you refine your Paris List. One picture speaks 1,000 words! Nowhere is that more true than for Paris photo books. Enough said, these are my recommendations.
Above Paris: A New Collection of Aerial Photographs of Paris, France
by Piere Salinger and Robert Cameron
Arresting photos of the City of Light that provide a sense of scale and a little orientation for your visit to Paris. This was published long before Google created its maps. Somehow it is more satisfying to hold the book and admire the overhead views on the pages, rather than on the computer screen. (click image to order from Amazon)
by Serge Ramelli
Dramatic contemporary black and white photographs taken throughout Paris. Very few images include people. A great souvenir for yourself, even before you go! Many reviews include descriptions of the cinematic quality of these photographs taken by the well-known French photographer. A true photo book, the descriptions do not distract, as some would say, from the photographs. (click image to order from Amazon)
The Paris Book: Highlights of a Fascinating City
by Monaco Books
Full-color book covering all the major sights plus a lot more. The sections are divided by Right Bank, Left Bank, Beyond the Center and the Paris area. Large reproductions of photographs taken during day, night and twilight. Captures the vibrant essence of the city in exciting photographs. (click image to order from Amazon)
Paris Changing: Revisiting Eugène Atget’s Paris
by Christopher Rauschenberg
Eugène Atget spent years photographing Paris buildings, parks, street scenes and people. His prolific output of enchanting photographs were taken at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Fast forward to the late 1990s when Christopher Rauschenberg re-photographed many of Atget’s images. The images taken from the same spot are presented together as a then and now set. The book also includes a map showing where the location of the sites so you can find the spots if you wish. Changes, of course. But, look what has barely changed! (click image to order from Amazon)
The Light of Paris
by Jean-Michel Berts
This book is always great to look at when thinking of Paris. My copy was given to me by a friend who I went to school with in Paris. It arrived in the mail one day, unexpected, and has been a favorite since then. Berts shot each image before sunrise or after sunset. The images are poetic, like the magnificent City of Light. The wonderful publisher, Assouline, turned this beauty out in 2006. (click image to order from Amazon)
Atget Paris (English and French Edition)
by Laure Beaumont-Maillet
Both of these hefty, small-sized books (about 6″ x 8” and really thick) by Ginko Press include hundreds of photos by these early photographers. Atget in the late 1800s and early 1900s and Doisneau in the 1940s through 1960s. Atget rarely includes people where in Doisneau’s work, people feature prominently. Once you study the monuments, whether in color or in black and white (or both), take a look at life in the city during these periods. (click image to order from Amazon)