April 27, 2015

BRIDGES OF PARIS by Michael Saint James

Description:  Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

My Thoughts on The Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James

I am obsessed with Europe.  I haven't been (yet) but it's on my Absolutely Definitely Must Do List.  I have many locations I'd like to see and Paris is in my Top Five. 

I'm also a fan of gorgeous coffee table books and Michael Saint James' Bridges of Paris ticks both boxes. 

This book is a visual masterpiece.  The photographs, taken by Mr. Saint James, capture the beauty, the culture and the joie de vivre of Paris.  Readers are treated to stunning landscapes, tourists and locals, in daytime shots and electrifying evening shots. 

The luscious photography would be enough of a selling point for Bridges of Paris but Mr. Saint James has included history on each of the bridges featured in the book.  I had no idea Paris was littered with so many bridges -- and architecturally striking ones at that - -   so the information gave me a lot to chew on. 

Bridges of Paris is the perfect gift for the French lover in your life.  It has given me a new appreciation for France's capital city and stoked my desire to see this quintessential French city.

Bridges of Paris will be available for purchase at major booksellers and retailers on May 15, 2015.


Author Website



Tour Schedule for BRIDGES OF PARIS

Book Trailer:



    FTC Disclosure: The review copy of this book was provided by the author for the book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review.

With thanks to Laura Fabiani and iRead Book Tours for including me on this tour!

Win One of Fifteen Print Copies of Bridges of Paris
Open Internationally -  Ends May 16, 2015

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April 26, 2015

Guest Post: "Locks on the Seine: Love or Litter" by Michael Saint James

Locks on the Seine: Love or Litter?Unlocking Love in the City of Love
In the City of Love, two sweethearts stand on a bridge over the Seine River. They write their names on a padlock. They hook it to the bridge’s railing, and secure the lock—and they hope their love—forever. They toss the key in the river together.
While spending months photographing the bridges on the Seine for my new book, Bridges of Paris, I frequently witnessed this ritual with everything from beautiful engraved locks to bike locks to handcuffs, and was still helplessly charmed every time. After the key is tossed, most lovers kiss passionately at what has now become their favorite spot in the city. They wander off to celebrate that their love and the lock will surely persist for all time — or at least until the fence, under the weight of thousand of locks, rips free of the bridge’s parapet and tumbles into the Seine.
I heard one of Paris’s bridges collapsed!” a friend emailed me from the States in June 2014. When I arrived on the bridge, the Pont des Arts, I found only one small section of the chain-link railing, filled with locks, hanging over the Seine. It hung there until city workers removed it and covered the gap with plywood. The bridge’s integrity was never in question.
The Pont des Arts was the city’s first love-lock bridge, then Pont de l’Archevêché by Notre Dame. Both bridges were targeted because of their chain-link railings. Once they were full, the phenomenon spread to other bridges
One catalyst for this ritual was Italian author Federico Moccia’s 2006 teen novel, Tengo ganas de ti (I Want You). Two young Roman lovers declare their bond by securing a lock inscribed with their names to the Ponte Milvio, then threw the key into the Tiber River.
Locks have sprouted on bridges all over the world, including Brooklyn, London, Budapest, Serbia, Prague, Moscow, South Korea and China.
Treasure or trash? In Paris, the locks are now considered visual pollution. The locks damage the bridges and keys litter the riverbed. When the Pont des Arts’ railing tore, Parisians lost their tolerance. Paris has now launched a no-love-lock media campaign. Bridge wire railings are being replaced with clear acrylic panels. Though some still bring locks, the tide is turning.
The love-lock fad will fade away and the beautiful crossings over the Seine will regain their architectural beauty. Lovers will always meet on Parisian bridges, gaze into each other’s eyes and make commitments beyond their understanding.
When the time comes, I’ll go back to take photographs for the second edition of my book: Bridges of Paris Sans Serrures (“Without Locks”).
About the Author
Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries - doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.

As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.

The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael:  Website  

April 7, 2015


Hi Everyone! If you like to travel, especially to Italy...and especially to Florence, then you have to take a look at Laura Morelli's new Authentic Arts series. Today, I am spotlighting the second set of books in this series.

"Laura Morelli has set out to make you an expert in handmade crafts." --American Style Magazine

About the Book

Going to Florence, Italy?

Don't buy anything in Florence until you read this book!

If you're traveling to Florence, Italy, you want to go home with a special souvenir: a leather handbag, a piece of gold jewelry, hand-printed stationery, or one of the city's famous luxury fabrics. But selecting which jacket or which wallet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Florence, something made in a traditional way? How do you determine if you've fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Florence boasts some of the most famous artistic traditions in the world. Here's what you need to know about them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on quality and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli s Authentic Arts: Florence is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of the capital of the Renaissance. 

Artisans of Florence is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Florence: A Travel Guide to Fabrics, Frames, Jewelry, Leather Goods, Maiolica, Paper, Woodcrafts & More . Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Florence!

About the book

Artisans of Florence is the companion to Florence: A Travel Guide, bringing you inside the workshops of several dozen of the most accomplished makers of Florentine fabrics, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Florence! 

"Laura Morelli has set out to make you an expert in handmade crafts." --American Style Magazine

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Florence's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures. 

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Florence with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Florence in your suitcase. 

Where to buy the books

Meet the Author

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includesMade in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.


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