We generally give up picture books as we age but perhaps that’s a shame. Sometimes a series of witty pictures can brighten and inform our world more than a whole stack of prose. Sometimes we just need to look. Vahram Muratyan, a freelance art director and graphic designer began making prints comparing the city he lived in, Paris, and the city he often visited, New York, and putting them on his blog, Paris Vs. NYC in 2010. The blog was a sort of travel journal which turned into a series of 105 illustrations that tell the story of each city with comparisons like bagel versus baguette, Bordeaux versus Cosmopolitan and Amelie versus Carrie.
The style is colorful and simple and the pairings inspire more than a chuckle or two. The book is a playful look not just at the two cities but about the things that define cultures. What we eat, who we admire, where we shop, these things and more define cultural identity in ways that we don’t often consider. New Yorkers and Parisians will smile knowingly.
The book, published by Penguin is on sale January 31 for $20. Should you want a larger version of one of the illustrations, Society 6 is also selling prints of some of the favorite illustrations online.