Annabel 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 and rivers.
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 first appeared in 2002 and is now entering its third edition, as both print and ebook. Annabel combines teaching English to French executives and editing scientific articles written by French researchers with writing travel and lifestyle articles for the UK national press.
She 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. Half An Hour From Paris, 10 completely new daytrips around 30 minutes from Paris by train, will be published at the end of June 2017.