Thursday, April 16, 2015

History Corner- Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James (Book Review and Giveaway)

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from iRead Book tours, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

                                      We're heading across the pond to Paris today!

Bridges of Paris cover


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.

Check out the book trailer:


My first though when I opened the box, was OH WOW! This is not a small paperback book- it is a large coffee table style hardback, full of LUSH, inviting and intriguing photos. I had to sit and start going through the pages immediately. If you've been to Paris, the memories will come flooding back. If you haven't, this book will make you yearn to visit and see all the bridges in the book!

Bridges of Paris sample page

Each of the sections on the bridges contains a map, showing which arrisdonment it is in, in relation to the Seine, which is helpful if you want to go see them all! Also included is a history (!!) and narrative about the bridge, and then the gorgeous pictures! 

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor sample pages

The pictures really showcase the old historical Paris and the new modern one. Saint James has done a great job in showcasing each bridge and it's uniqueness, and place in the history of Paris. He also shows us how what we tend to overlook can be a scene of great beauty! The book is a travel book, photography book, architectural book, history book and a love letter to Paris, all in one gorgeous, brilliant book. I can't recommend it enough- it hasn't left our coffee table since it arrived! 

This book would be perfect for a friend or family member who loves Paris or bridges! The book comes out in May, perfect for Summer birthdays, anniversaries and vacation planning!

Author interview with Michael Saint James

“How is your book different than other coffee-table books about Paris?” 

Many of the books are about the monuments, aerial views or artists of Paris and they felt a bit impersonal or academic. But the bridges for me are about the people and the neighborhoods connected by the Seine River bridges. Beyond capturing a portrait of each bridge, I also tried to shoot the people who walk or ride across the bridges every day — tourists and locals. I’d wait days for the right combination of faces, a red umbrella, kissing lovers, a purple jacket, school group, silly dog and goofy kid to come together. I avoided using artsy angles and digital editing effects, le Photoshopping<. I wanted to show Paris as if the viewer just came upon the bridge her or himself. I captured images in all seasons at different times of day and night.

"What did you learn from living like a Parisian for a year?” 

I treated my sojourn like a pilgrimage. I wanted to learn about the world from a different cultural point of view. I learn how important art is to Parisian culture. Not just paintings and sculptures but the way a table is set or how a garden is designed. Americans are more focused on making money, doing things in the cheapest way possible. In U.S. schools, the art program is always the first to get cut. For the French, life without beauty is no life at all, no matter how much money one has in the bank. Imagine being a Parisian school child who is able to go to Monet’s Giverny on a field trip and paint for the day amidst all those flowers!

"How did your wife and family deal with you being gone so long?” 

It was hard but I’ve been married for 37 years and my wife Diana has always supported my creative efforts. She owns a travel agency and travels a lot herself. She preferred the idea of long-term travel for self-discovery or art to the alternative mid-life crisis — buying an expensive red sports. She visited me in Paris and I came home for the holidays. Some of our friends thought our relationship was over, but really the separation strengthened our relationship. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Both our children are grown, one in college and the other teaching overseas. I wouldn’t have done this when they were younger.

"What advice would you give budding writers?” 

Write everyday. Don’t wait for inspiration, stalk it. Give yourself permission to write awful first drafts. Focus on verbs and minimize adjectives. A good story is all about action, so find good verbs.

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. Check out his WebsiteTwitter and Pinterest pages for more.

flashing Win


Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris
Open Internationally, Ends May 16!

Be sure to check out the rest of the book tour for more opportunities to win this book!


  1. I'd like to win this book because it would remind me of my trip to Paris!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  2. Read a lot of interesting reviews about this book. Would love to visit Paris.

  3. I want to win because i went to Paris


Follow Bless Their Hearts Mom