Living in London by Karen Howes, with photographs by Simon Upton is different – better – than those coffee table profiles of our capital.

The reason is twofold: it is published by a French house, so it has a foreign slant, and it takes us inside the houses of the stylish and famous. Thus, there is Olga Polizzi’s small garden designed by George Carter, and Lord Snowdon’s green space; Diane Berger’s Georgian house (true to period) and Hugo Vickers’s library to lust over. I have enjoyed visiting a few of these houses – Christophe Gollut’s grand apartment, Keith Skeel’s eccentric space and Min Hogg’s charming one.

Otherwise, the book plunges into London’s villages and mens’ clubs, artists’ studios and small museums. Not just a treat, it is a fine portrait of a wonderful city.