Cities of Kings

Cities_Of_Kings_Cover_2a.225x225-75I have to admit to being a little nervous when I was approached recently for my views on the above book, Cities of Kings.  I have followed Bespoke Traveller for quite some time and didn’t want to spoil a good friendship.  I needn’t have worried. Atreyee Gupta and Jesse Japitana have done a great job.  Their passion and enthusiasm for architecture and history transmits readily to this self-publication, and I am delighted to be able to heartily recommend it.

London is a city which captured my imagination as a girl, and it has never really let it go.  I visit infrequently these days, but when I do it conjures the same excitement and sense of pride I felt back then.  I delight in the architecture, old and new, and in that skyline, pierced anew by gravity-defying creations.

With Paris, I have only a fleeting acquaintance.  That same starry-eyed girl boarded a plane and wandered the banks of the Seine with the same enthusiasm she had bestowed on the Thames.  Sadly, I have never been back, but reading Cities and Kings I feel the need to return more than ever.

St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge- courtesy of Mike Bradley

In the book the two cities are compared and contrasted and their architectural histories told.  Detailed photographs accompany the text, and I learnt many little intriguing facts.  I hadn’t realised how ignorant I was of parts of my own history! The stories of the kings and queens and their passions are expertly woven into the fabric of London and Paris.

I love it when enthusiasm for a subject shines through as it does here.  I don’t want to reveal too much and spoil a good read, but you can be sure that you will be taken to The Tower, and stroll in the gardens of Hampton Court.  In Paris, I particularly enjoyed my visit to the Louvre, and to the lesser known area of La Defense.

The book is concluded with a practical section on visiting and getting around in the twin cities.  All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read.  You can purchase the book on Amazon Kindle or at the Apple iBookstore.  I think it would make a rather good Christmas present.

Meantime I’m thinking that Paris would make a fine destination for our Silver Wedding next August.  What do you think?


  1. I love Paris and I know it’s cliche to say it’s the city of love, but it is. great place for an anniversary. So glad you liked this book. I’ll be reviewing it in 2014 and I’m looking forward to it!


      1. Paris will be relatively empty and I’m picturing myself strolling by the Seine and admiring the artworks in gentle sunshine. And the anniversary happens to be in August 🙂 Heat? I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like 🙂


  2. Your lovely review took our breath away! 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words. We were nervous too about the end result, but words can’t express what joy it gives that you enjoyed our little book. 😀


    1. Glad you liked it 🙂 I enjoyed the read, and also putting this post together so, “win-win” situation. Thanks for suggesting it to me in the first place. Good luck with the sales!


  3. sarebbe troppo faticoso per me leggere in inglese, anche io mi accontento della bella recensione che hai fatto
    ok ok Parigi è sempre Parigi, però da buona nazionalista mi permetto di ricordarti che la città più romantica al mondo è pur sempre Venezia 🙂


      1. Yes, I saw that in your new blog this morning. Such a shame! Why do people have to spoil things 😦 Why can’t they all be smiley (like me 🙂 )
        Andrew Petcher’s got another blog going because his old one’s full, so I assumed you were doing the same.


    1. It’ll make you want to visit, Amy 🙂
      Didn’t I read somewhere that you’re planning Spain next year? (Is Portugal going to be included? No, you should save that for a separate holiday)


      1. I love to read history and architecture books. I have visited France a few times, but England once… Thank you for the recommendation. Spain is on our plan. You’re right, we should save Portugal for a separate holiday 🙂 Love to meet you in Portugal 🙂


  4. I can’t say I’m that keen on London, but you know what they say about Paris “life is too short not to go to Paris as often as one can”
    and I can’t think of a more romantic place for a wedding anni
    Jude xx


  5. August, did you say? I got married in August, and we had our honeymoon in Paris. Despite the fact Paris largely shuts down in August, we had a wonderful time… Anyway, my restless friend, I am so pleased you mentioned Bespoke Traveler, I have had a great trawl around their blog and website, most interesting!


    1. I knew you meant August past tense, Sue. Paris being quieter is one of the big attractions. I want to do Giverny and Versailles and stroll about in the sunshine. (who, me?) 🙂


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