Reviews/readers’ comments


The Sunday Business, 2 Dec 2002
A new guidebook in English virtually sold out at WH Smith on the rue de Rivoli in its first week of publication. Delightfully idiosyncratic and erudite.

The Independent, 3 Feb 2003
A kind of Ile de France Profonde. Its strength is that it focuses on relatively unknown places that you can reach by a local train ride from the centre of the capital. I suspect that they are equally unknown to many Parisians.

Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times, 16 Feb 2003
Simms devotes her score of itineraries to finding less obvious chateaux, key river ports, towns that inspired the likes of Victor Hugo and Erik Satie and, above all, a glimpse of what Proust called a temps perdu. Ground-breaking work.

The Daily Telegraph, 22 Feb 2003
The Ile de France has been variously feared, nourished, exploited and neglected by the capital. Its neglect is unlikely to continue much longer. Having read this guide, residents and visitors alike will want to rush out and make the most of it.

The Chicago Tribune, 2 Mar, 2003
After you’ve had your fill of Paris, consider the many pleasures that lie beyond its city limits. All the 20 or so places mentioned in the guide are an hour or less away by train.

The Washington Post, 16 Mar 2003
Following a walk outlined in Annabel Simms’s guidebook we walked past the tourist office and into Chantilly Forest, down a path lined with pruned trees, ivy and blackberry and populated with chirping birds – just five minutes after disembarking the train.

The Bloomsbury Review (USA),Mar/April 2003
Offers just enough historical, architectural and cultural background, along with practical details that the independent traveller needs.

A Common Reader (USA), July 2003
Annabel Simms had our sort in mind while writing this lovely guide.

Paris Notes (USA), July/August 2003
A tremendously useful new guidebook. The best get-your-feet-wet introduction to the Ile de France currently on the market.

Living France Magazine, Oct 2003
It just has to be our Book of the Month., Oct 2004
I stumbled upon this book while in Paris, and the daytrip I took was a highlight of my visit.
(review by Bill Marsano, American travel writer).

Financial Times, 8 Dec 2008
As the new edition of Annabel Simms’s idiosyncratic and witty guide book, An Hour From Paris (Pallas Athene), points out, Paris is not just a tourist cliché but a city endowed with delightful countryside and a rich history, connected by a peerless transport network.

Country Life, 24 June 2009
The timely reprint of An Hour From Paris will chime with anyone who spends longer amounts of time or is based permanently in the city…the lion’s share of this informative guide focuses on the little-known gems hidden in the French countryside.

France Revisited, October 2009
Most guidebooks these days are simply spiritless attempts to find a marketing niche or to promote an attitude, but An Hour From Paris appears to come straight from the heart of its author…an inquisitive and quirky traveler who truly wishes us well.

Huffington Post, July 2010
The most exciting travel guide I’ve read in years.

The Green Parent, Feb-March 2013
Does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives gems of information on wonderful places to visit just an hour from the city and you won’t find any with ‘Disney’ in the title.

Colleen’s Paris, April 2014
Within the first five pages I was swept into the desire to read the entire book.

Great destinations radio show, interview June 2017

Readers’ comments

It’s a fantastic idea and looks terrific. I intend to put it to use myself.
Bill Bryson, author of Notes from a Small Island

A classic.
Galignani’s bookshop, Paris

What a charming idea. It covers such a priceless heritage of properties in the Ile de France and is very attractively put together. I much look forward to using it!
Alistair Horne, author of Seven Ages of Paris

Maybe this will spur me to St Germain (-en-Laye) finally – and think of Edith Wharton and Henry James there.
Julian Barnes

I’m crazy about this book. Anyone with eyes to see and legs to walk, plus a yearning for the charming and the weathered and off the beaten track, would love it.
Polly Platt, author of French or Foe?

I want to tell you that I read it cover to cover and loved it. Your mix of history and architecture coupled with the detailed travel instructions and the clear plans are admirable.
J. McNaught, UK

Your book sounded too good to be true, but far surpassed my expectations.
R. Jones, USA

Guidebooks are often walk-based, but somehow uninviting. Yours is the opposite, so good in all its detail. Thanks for giving a lot of pleasure.
T. Powell, UK

We met an American at Ecouen who had picked up your book in Lexington, Kentucky and seemed to have come over for a week specifically to work through it. We are enjoying it. What a great idea and so well done.
N. Edwards, UK

Your book contributed greatly to our enjoyment. Thank you very much for an excellent publication.
M. and A. Reynolds, UK

It is a piece to be treasured. An Hour From Paris has given me a new perspective and a new appreciation.
J. Lindquist, USA

Just what I will want to bring back with me when I come to Paris again.
J. Bracker, USA

I love your book! I had an absolutely fabulous time exploring several of your suggested trips. It added so very much to my visit.
R. Kleiman, USA

We really enjoyed your book!
M. Bell, UK

I have derived much pleasure from it and recommend it whenever I can.
R. Lampard, Paris

A far cry from boring old Michelin. Please bring us another as good as this invaluable guide.
F. Portier, Paris

I love your book. We have gotten to nearly every place, all good solid recommendations so far. We find ourselves talking – and being treated – as travel experts on the Ile de France after just two trips. Thanks for giving us the status and for adding to our appreciation for the world.
F. Lauran, USA

It was great visiting the small towns. Thank you for the updates to your book.
R. Francies

Bought your book recently and already visited two places. My wife and I admire your taste.
S.Kumar, Paris

We had a wonderful time following some of your suggested day-trips. We have recommended your book to many others and look forward to book two.
M. Shelley, USA

I’ve enjoyed your book so much that I’ve tried to repeat the experience with other French walking guide books…after a few of these experiences we run back to yours. You’re not afraid to state when something is ugly or unpleasant, so absent in today’s uber-sanitized writing. Thanks again for showing us some of Ile de France’s most delightful spots.
K. Tilbury and C. Mitrache, Paris

I was so impressed with its thoroughness and comprehensiveness…it is a really good guide.
M. Jackson, UK

Thank you for writing a wonderful book about places to visit around Paris. Now that I’ve tried six of your recommendations I feel I might be up to trying places off my own bat. Looking forward to a second publication.
B. Crothers, UK

Retired BBC producer, UK

Your book is a treasure. Our friends, who spend four months of the year in Paris, consider it their travel bible for day trips from Paris.
M. Herb, USA

Your book is absolutely incredible. We’ve done all the trips and had such fun with it.
J. Brumpt, Paris

The details and suggestions are very accurate. I feel that this is one of the most rewarding guidebooks I have ever found and I highly recommend it.
Zoecat, USA, readers’ forum,

An excellent guidebook, thoroughly researched and chock full of practical information, as well as descriptions of the ‘sights’. If you want to explore near Paris, there’s nothing better. We’ll be moving up to the revised version for sure.
D. McMane, Paris

We loved your book and have used it several times when we were in Paris.
M. Burgess, Oxygen Books, UK (publisher of city-lit guides)

An Hour From Paris is a marvel.
David Burke, author of Writers in Paris,

We have used your book for ideas for the group. Your research is fantastic.
P. Leavy, volunteer director of The Friday Tour Group, Paris

Thank you for writing such a great book!
V. Hemovich

If you truly want to experience the French countryside, this book is essential. I recently did one of the visits and can’t wait to do some of the others.
G. Chanel, Paris

Je suis la propriétaire du restaurant Villennes sur Vins. Suite à vos mots nous concernant, des clients sont venus avec votre guide à la main, ce qui m’a beaucoup touchée, me battant tous les jours pour maintenir la qualité et l’accueil de mon établissement. Je vous remercie pour cette charmante nouvelle clientèle qui m’est offerte grâce à votre guide.
E. Grach, Villennes sur Seine

I would like to tell you how much I am enjoying An Hour From Paris.
F. Rice, USA

I’d like to thank you for your excellent book, very interesting and well written and researched.
M. Shannon, Paris

I will read and use it until the covers fall off (or I buy an update!)
J. Mills, Paris

My wife and I adore your book and have used it on previous visits to Paris. We now have the revised edition.
D. Hawkins, USA

I am very struck by the passionate devotion you have put into it and by your meticulousness.
J. Bloomfield, UK

Your book has been a source of much enjoyment.
M. Bernstein, USA

Thank you for a wonderful book and the very clear maps!
K. Leijon, Sweden

Your book is fast becoming our favourite guide. Thank you so much for such a wonderful way of extending our enjoyment of Paris.
C. and P. Bethel, UK

I’ve greatly enjoyed both editions of “An Hour From Paris.” Your work has been a valuable companion on my travels...Thank you for helping me get off that beaten tourist path!
J. Carlock, USA

I love travelling by train and always wanted a resource such as this.  You put a lot of time, effort, passion and caring into writing it and I just wanted you to know I appreciate all this!
R. Chiaverini, USA

We have just taken our third trip inspired by your wonderful and useful book…Not a tourist in sight! It was just the way we like to experience France.
B. and E. Walker, USA

We love getting out of Paris on wonderful day trips – largely thanks to your book.
W. and B. Smith, Paris and USA

I went to both Villeneuve Triage and Montmorency and had a great time in each. Again, your book has more than paid for itself!
J. Carlock, USA

I have used your book numerous times and enjoyed the day trips that you made happen; I have suggested it to many, many friends. Thank you.
R. Fox, Paris

We loved your book!
R. van Haarst, Amsterdam

We really enjoy your ‘Guided Tours’. Great fun and (we found) easily reached too (We have ‘done’ 5 so far!).
M. Bell, UK

Your book is exceptionally well written. Your prose style is impeccable, the photographs are appropriate and the maps and train information make it possible to do the walks with your book alone as a guide. I was surprised at how many of the places in your book I hadn’t visited!
R. Kenyon, Paris

I wanted to share with you my wonder and pleasure at all the destinations that I have visited, thanks to you, and as a result have come to love Paris even more.
S. Albouy

Your book is wonderful. Filled with very precise instructions, beautifully researched and with easy-to-understand maps…Thank you again for writing such a treasure!
R. Dearling, USA

We have had a very nice time visiting Paris and your book has contributed to our pleasure. Merci.
K. Riley, USA

Your book is incredible and contains exactly the information we were looking for. Please know how much joy you are giving so many people.
D. Chulack, USA

For a second year, ‘An Hour From Paris’ was the trusted resource.
A. Atheling, USA

Terrific book, a real achievement.
S. Scott

Went to Montfort l’Amaury and absolutely loved it. We will definitely be visiting some more of the locations in your book.
B. Werber

…dismayed by the traffic and crowds in Paris…we made daily trips based on your recommendations. It has saved this trip for me!
D. Wilson, USA

Your book’s proving increasingly useful to me…I’m exploring the Ile de France mainly by bike but still find your advice excellent.
A. Blackburn, UK

My husband and I have used your beautiful little book several times and we love it!
K. Cook

I have found your book a treasure! Chantilly must be a best-kept secret, hardly anyone there and it is like a mini-Versailles! Creteil and Ile du Martin-Pecheur was a most enjoyable and interesting excursion. Sceaux was magical and your suggestions made it all the more enjoyable.
R. Beckett, New Zealand

Wonderful book!
N. Naagos, Philippines

I am greatly indebted to you and your book, with which I began exploring the Ile de France some two years ago at the start of my university studies. I cannot thank you enough for having guided me, albeit unknowingly, to my current occupation as editor of Free Trains From Paris.
W. Inrig, American University of Paris, Université Paris-Sorbonne

The unofficial ‘Navigo Dézoné’ guidebook.
Your guide has become even more valuable since the introduction of free trips anywhere in the Ile de France at weekends to holders of the Navigo travelcard. Thank you for the lovely escapes from Paris your book allowed me and my friends to have.
A. Koffler, Paris

An inspiration.
J. Hadley, UK

I had a wonderful day in Crécy la Chapelle. It was just the perfect break I needed away from the madding crowds for my month-long holiday in Paris.
K. Crowe

A brilliant guide and we are really enjoying it.
P. Stephenson and S. Magalich

Thanks for writing An Hour From Paris.
K. Gray, USA

I spent a lovely day in St Germain en Laye, and the chapter in the book helped me get the most out of a beautiful town.
P. Baker, UK

Absolutely love your book. We are 2 Australians who are “semi resident in Paris” and have enjoyed all the trips we have tried so far over 3 years. (mostly in winter). I am looking forward to some Spring/Summer walks this year. Your descriptions and directions are accurate and informative.
J. Titcombe, Australia

We are looking forward to Volume 2 of your excellent book.
D. and J. Young

What a gem!
S. Tucker, Fontainebleau

A delight to read, very interesting and very informative, particularly the chapters about Ecouen and Sceaux.
J. Seidler

Thrilled to know there is a third edition…we cannot wait to start exploring the new places you are working on.
W. Smith, USA and Paris

I love this book!
L. Kowal, USA

I love your book….The directions were very easy to follow.
E. Kelly

We have much appreciated the advice and guidance in your book.
C. Whittaker, UK

We’ve been doing your trips on the weekends. Love them!
T. Bennewies, Paris

My favourite guidebook.
S. Marzin, Paris

I loved your book and used it with great pleasure during a month in Paris.
M. Klingberg

I cannot thank you enough for providing such pleasure! You have given us simply amazing experiences in the past and great anticipation for more in the future.
E. Fisher, USA

I love your book!

Keep up the good work.
P. Morgan, UK

We can wholeheartedly recommend Annabel’s books.  They are very well thought out with everything one needs to know, such as trains (and which mainline station in Paris they leave from), duration of journey, info. about attractions, esp. useful things such as opening hours etc.  It’s obvious that the author has thoroughly researched her destinations, and understands exactly what the visitor needs to know.  The books are the perfect answer for those who know the city of Paris well and are looking to expand their horizons, without having to do an overnight trip.  Please pass on our appreciation to her—and we look forward to anything and everything she comes up with in future!
C and G Brooks, Sydney

We love your book.
J. O’Donnell and T. Post, San Francisco

Thank you for writing these books – they are such a nice addition to our travels in Paris!
D and G Banker, Oregon

My weekend bible.
U. Lemmin-Woolfrey, Paris

I own both books and find your trips delightful.
E. Glenn, USA

I don’t want to go to Versailles or Normandy and all the ‘Must Do’s’! Thank you for a lovely book that will definitely change my trip for the better!
T. Lojacono, USA

Love your book!
P. Nelson

I loved your book.
F.Green, UK

It’s not just the walks that I enjoy, it’s also your writing! I love how your words are a promenade in themselves.
S. Azerty, Paris

A friend briefly lent me her copy and I am now searching for my own copy! She treasures her copy and memories of all the trips she and her husband have taken.
K. Nelson, USA

I have been really enjoying your beautiful book.
A.O. Waterman, Paris

Your book An Hour From Paris is a gem. We have done almost all the outings you suggested and have enjoyed them all.
D. Kaplan, Paris

We have done almost all Annabel’s suggested trips from An Hour From Paris since 2003. We also have her Half An Hour From Paris. Both books are one of the first things into my Paris luggage.
I. and J. Cameron, Australia

Even if we can never take another of your trips or, indeed, if we had never taken one, I would be remiss if I did not tell you how much I have enjoyed reading (and rereading) your books. You truly capture so many aspects of France.
D. Hawkins, USA

Your book is fascinating and your writing a delight.
B. Miller

I find your guides excellent. Keep up the fine work.
T. Blair, USA