By Vivian Swift
Bloomsbury Press, $24.00, 195 pages

Cheaper than a ticket to Europe, Vivian Swift’s Le Road Trip is the next best thing to the sights and sounds of France. Swift likens her travel to falling in love, beginning with anticipation. This book is about France but not in your practical, fact-filled travel book way. There are hundreds of watercolor illustrations that create a whimsical, charming book that instantly immerses you in the French-way. Swift infuses the book with some cute ideas such as the traveler’s scrapbook, an accordion folding pocket-sized scrapbook for your travel mementos.

Swift has an aggressive itinerary with Paris, Normandy, Brittany, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Chartres and back to Paris. After anticipation comes infatuation, where Swift debates the differences between her travel in 1975 and 2005 in France. She discusses food, buildings, gardens and the night light from the Northern Lights. ||As in love, nothing is perfect and Swift’s third phase wanders through some bumpy travel. During the honeymoon phase, Swift discusses all things romance and in phase five, survival tips for both love and travel. But ultimately, Swift’s book is about arriving in the comfort zone, which Swift calls being a vagabond…where the affair turns into a relationship. Sit down, have a glass of wine (from Bordeaux of course) and enjoy this book for what it was meant to be–a quirky visual record of Swift’s travel and love throughout France.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff