Annabel SimmsAnnabel Simms was born in England, of Hungarian parentage. She has lived in Paris since 1991, when she arrived from London on a year’s sabbatical from her job as a college lecturer in English literature and business English – and never left.

Her interest in the little-known Ile de France region dates from that first year, when she began to spend her Sundays exploring the nearest countryside accessible by train from Paris.

Armed with the Michelin green guide and the suburban train map,  she gradually discovered small medieval towns and villages, country restaurants, hidden châteaux and museums, parks, forests, canals and rivers.

Annabel Simms book signing at WH Smith
Signing copies at WH Smith in Paris at the launch of the 2008 edition

Finally, realising that this gentle provincial world less than an hour from Paris by train was unknown to many Parisians, let alone foreign visitors, she decided to write a guide to it herself. She illustrated her selection of favourites from the scores of places she had discovered with her own photos and maps, based on her experience of exploring on foot.

An Hour From Paris, a detailed guide to 20 lesser-known places in the Ile de France around an hour from Paris by train, first appeared in 2002 and is now in its third edition (2019). Half An Hour From Paris, ten completely new daytrips around half an hour from Paris by train, was published in May 2018.  10 New Trips An Hour From Paris is a further selection of ten new trips, available as pdf downloads either separately or as a set here.

Annabel lives in a studio on the Ile St Louis, from where she continues to enjoy making new discoveries in the Ile de France, as well as further afield.

View from Annabel's Paris studio window
View from Annabel’s Paris studio window