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David Downie, A Passion for Paris, Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Mangoes have dazzled palates across the globe for centuries with their aroma, taste, texture, and seemingly endless shapes, sizes, and colors. In Miami alone there are over 250 varieties. Miami-based writer, critic, poet and educator Jen Karetnick is the award-winning author of nine books, including three this year alone: the recently published book Mango and two volumes  Prayer of Confession and Brie Season about to be released.
Jen’s nickname, Mango Mama, could not be more appropriate! Jen lives on the last acre of a historic mango plantation with her husband, two children; three dogs; four cats; and fourteen mango trees!  By the time July comes around, Jen uses mangoes in the most unexpected ways, in just about everything, cocktails, smoothies, savory and sweet dishes.
Along with her own recipes which she has developed over the years, the book Mango features recipes from a group of Jen’s buddies who happen to be Miami's most celebrated chefs.
From smoothies to cocktails, from mango blintzes to jerked grouper with mango-fig chutney, and mangozpacho (mango-infused gazpacho)--this book is  the ultimate book on Mango. It is delightfully written, based on serious research and highlights  all those chefs and mixologists who are striving to use our local products in their cuisines.
Click here for Jen’s recipe for frozen mango sangría, or “Mangría,” 


David Downie’s  Passion for Paris is matched by insatiable curiosity, encyclopedic knowledge of French history and literature, love for the arcane and as importantly, a good pair of legs.  His new book  “A Passion for Paris.” Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light ” comes on the heels of the best-selling book  Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James.

David Downie is a multilingual Paris-based American nonfiction author, crime novelist and a travel, food and arts journalist whose work has been published in national and international media. A native San Franciscan who moved to Paris in the mid-1980s he now shares his time between France and Italy, and his life with his wife, photographer Alison Harris. They both own and operate the Paris, Paris tours a tour guide and custom walking company of Paris, Burgundy, Rome and the Italian Riviera. 


David grew up in San Francisco in the 70’s. His love of Paris and French culture was sparked during  the no less fascinating social and sexual revolution going on in California at the time.  Listen as his explain why and how did 19th century photographer and bohemian character Felix Nadar influenced his life.

In the superbly written “A Passion for Paris,” history becomes alive as statues of kings and courtesans, writers, musicians and painters stare down on their successors in love and war.

Mr. Downie attempt to define what makes Paris romantic and he focuses on the Romantic period in Arts and Literature to establish that it is the people who lived in its curving cobbled streets and met at its sidewalk cafes and leafy squares, who talked and wrote about it, like Balzac and Flaubert, that make Paris romantic.   


Listen as he explains how Romanticism emerged from the horrors of the Guillotine and the French Revolution  to turn Paris into the City of Light, Love and Romance and how the padlocks on the Pont des Arts and the ritual of the key throwing in the Seine ensued.

david downie1In his book David Downie seamlessly glides from literary characters to historic buildings. He finds the most amazing things hidden away in courtyards, cemeteries, parks, and never hesitates to steal into a building, climb one of the legendary “hidden stairs”  to track the steps of a love affair that happened over 200 years ago.

Listen as he tells us about the famous Place des Vosges and the scabrous love triangle of Victor Hugo, Adèle – his wife – and Ste. Beuve – her lover.

Balzac, Gauthier, Hugo, Baudelaire and other litterati lived and loved roaming the streets of Ile de la Cité.  Did they all know each other, swapping wives and lovers?

They all ended at the Père Lachaise, the repository of the greats. Listen as David Downie takes us to the alleys and through the tombs of those who are eternally alive through their works.

He often says that changes must occur for the same to continue, here referring to the way he describes the “terrorist cell” of young revolutionaries under the reign of Charles X and the Battle of Hernani. How different was it then than it is today?


Want to know what inspired the carriage seduction scene between Rodolphe and Emma in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary?  

After reading A Passion for Paris, you will never stroll in the Luxembourg gardens in the same way. All the statues will come alive, from that of the beloved cursed poet Baudelaire and the painter Delacroix to the writer George Sand, the cross-dressing feminist and her lovers, the poet Alfred de Musset and Chopin, among others, and the sarabande of characters from Murger’s La Bohème heading to Café Momus, whose book “Scenes from Bohemian Life” directly  inspired the famous  Puccini opera La Bohème.  



For more information on the book and the walking tours log on to , and   






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