April 28, 2015

Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James
ISBN: 9781928595502

Book 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.

I really enjoyed reading and looking through this book. For me it was like taking a trip to Paris and seeing the bridges first hand. It is a dream of mine to travel to Europe so for me this is a way to help make my dream even more vivid. The photography of this book is amazing. The colors are vivid you can feel as if you are there looking for yourself. This makes a perfect coffee table book that you will want to look at more than once. Another thing that I liked was the history and stories of each bridge that are included in this book.  When the book starts out you get the author’s perspective which was very interesting to read. The bridges are broken up by the types of bridges through the book. Then we end with maps of Paris. If I had to pick a favorite bridge I am not sure I could although the Island Bridges and the Palace Bridges are some of my favorite. Another of my favorites was the Pont D’Lena and I think it is because it the gateway to the Eiffel Tower and that is one of my favorite parts of Paris. I have really enjoy looking at this author’s photography and look forward to seeing more. 

Author's Bio:
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 ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Book Trailer:
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Where to buy the book:

Author website

Prizes: ​ Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16

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Guest Post:
Parisian for a Year ​ by Michael Saint James​

I just arrived back in the USA last week and miss Paris already. Parisians live at the pace I want to live. I move slower than most Americans and Parisians have mastered the art of slowing down and living in the moment, la joie de vivre (the joy of life). I figure even if my book only sells 100 copies, I’ll always have Paris.

I’ve been working for years designing other people’s books and it was time to do one of my own. The resolution to create a book on the bridges of Paris would not go away and I made a commitment to become a Parisian for a year.

But turning a dream into reality was challenging. I first had to convince Diana, my wife of 33 years. Fortunately, she is in the travel business, so it was not a hard sell. Our lives have always included unconventional global adventures. In the 1980’s, we sold all our belongings, quit our jobs, and globe-trotted—Asia, the Middle East, Europe—for nearly two years. The two of us plus our two kids and Grandma have seen a lot of the world since then.

The bigger challenge was convincing my less travel-oriented friends that this was a good idea. A year-long sabbatical to Paris was inappropriate, even crazy thinking, for a 57-year old married man. But I went anyways.

Money for travel has always been both a stretch and a priority for my family. We save money and are comfortable living very frugally, with a small house, recycled furniture and ancient cars, as long as we can also gratify our wanderlust.

I stayed mostly in a tiny student apartment in the 5th Arrondissment (district) or Latin Quarter. The streets are filled with Sorbonne students, and Ernest Hemingway’s former tiny hovel is around the corner. The Seine River is a five minute walk away.

My language skills leave something to be desired. Fortunately, during my past travels I have become skilled at the universal language of politesse. I learned to respect all cultures no matter our differences. By gathering the courage to speak bad French, get lost, and eat whatever I accidentally or on purpose ordered, I met the most delightful Parisians, as well as travelers from all over the world.

Why a year? I wanted to photograph the bridges in all seasons. Paris has over 300 bridges, but 37 cross the Seine and those were mine. I spent the year getting to know them intimately and found that each had a story to tell me. I admit that my favorite bridge is the small one that graces my book’s cover, the Petit Pont. It’s the site of the first bridge that ever spanned the Seine river, more than 2,000 years ago.

Sunny days and clear nights were glorious. I emulated the flâneur, the artist as lingering observer. I loved waiting, waiting, waiting for the perfect light, the right clouds, the lovers’ kiss, or the woman with the red umbrella to fill my camera lens. I shot hundreds of images.

Rainy days found me in my 5th-floor walk up apartment on my laptop designing the book, at the Musée Carnavalet (dedicated to the history of Paris) or a cozy café, writing the accompanying essays on each bridge.

And then, four seasons and many café crèmes later, I had created 350 original images and 39 essays and my coffee table book, The Bridges of Paris was done.

I am a happier artist for my Parisian pilgrimage and absence did make my and my wife’s married hearts grow fonder. My task now, of course, is to get word out on this little treasure I have created, but I can feel the flâneur in me still very alive, gazing at the horizon, awaiting another unique aspect of the world to photograph.

Tour Schedule:

April 13 - Readers' Muse - review / giveaway
April 13 - Girl With Camera - review
April 13 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
April 14 - Bound 4 Escape - review / author interview / giveaway
April 14 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
April 15 - Breath of Life - review / guest post / giveaway
April 15 - Bluerose's Heart - review / giveaway
April 16 - Bless Their Hearts Mom - review / author interview / giveaway
April 16 - 3 Partners in Shopping - review / giveaway
April 17 - Roughseaseinthemed - review / author interview
April 17 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / giveaway
April 20 - Lavish Bookshelf - review / giveaway
April 20 - Minnesota Girl in the World - review
April 21 - My Life. One Story at a Time - review / giveaway
April 21 - Hello, my name is Alice - review / author interview
April 22 - She Treads Softly - review
April 22 - Life With Katie - review / giveaway
April 23 - Posting for Now - review / giveaway
April 23 - View From the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
April 24 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
April 24 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
April 27 - Psychotic State Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
April 27 - TW Brown on zombies, Border Collies, and the Indie Writing Scene - review / author interview
April 28 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review / guest post / giveaway
April 29 - Chic Toronto - review
April 30 - Reading Authors - review / giveaway
May 1 - The Bookish & The Romantic - review / author interview / giveaway
May 1 - Thoughts in Progress - review / giveaway
May 4 - Ivory Owl Reviews - review / giveaway
May 5 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review 
May 5 - Impressions in Ink - review
May 6 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway
May 7 - Words and Peace - review / giveaway
May 7 - BooksatVioletCrush - review
May 8 - Create With Joy - review


  1. I enjoy photograph (and view as an art form). I think this book featuring lovely bridges of Paris sounds amazing! Thank you for a chance to win.

  2. Sounds beautiful. It's the closest I'll ever get to Paris.

  3. I would love this book as a way to relive my trip to Paris a few years ago.

  4. I love the photos. Never been to Paris myself but this could be the book that makes me go there. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  5. I love coffee table large picture books. The photos are just spectacular. I would love to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.