I can't stop peeking at a new book on my desk, Casey O'Brien Blondes's Parisian Hideaways, a coffee-table photo essay on 30 exceptional small hotels across the city, with photographs by Beatrice Amagat. In my fantasy life, I spend at least one weekend a month in Paris and have no end of funds to splurge on boutique hotels. So this book is helping me get my imaginary fix.
Blondes knows her stuff. She has my fantasy life and then some: She's lived in France for 21 years, dividing her time between a restored farmhouse in the Loire Valley and a Paris apartment. She spent months exploring these hotels and interviewing their proprietors. She not only gets the inside skinny (and images) on the best rooms at the inns, but also the owners' "coups de coeur," their favorite nearby cafés and shops, including chef Yves Camdeborde's favorite local bookstore and cutlery shop. So this Saturday, when I'm exploring the rue de l'Odéon—in my dreams—I'll know exactly where to go.