Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

Front Cover
W.W. Norton, 2010 - History - 475 pages
102 Reviews
This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction, of the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter. A well-dressed woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map—there were no reliable ones at the time—Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.

Baudelaire, the photographer Marville, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Adolf Hitler touring the occupied capital in the company of his generals, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt in Notre Dame)—these and many more are Robb's cast of characters, and the settings range from the quarries and catacombs beneath the streets to the grand monuments to the appalling suburbs ringing the city today. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel.

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I bought this for research and found a delightful read. - Goodreads
Something about the writing style really turned me off. - Goodreads
The writer of this detailed account is Napoleon. - Goodreads

Review: Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

User Review  - Rodney - Goodreads

This is a good book, but not one that is easy to recommend. I found myself wondering who the audience was for this. Someone familiar enough with, say, the Communards to follow a story told Memento ... Read full review

Review: Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

User Review  - Brandon - Goodreads

Some of the stories were great and I really enjoyed them, but the few that were bad were so bad that it almost ruined the book. The Miles Davis chapter was unbearable. Overall, really hard to recommend this. Read full review

About the author (2010)

Graham Robb's two previous books, "Victor Hugo" & "Balzac," were "New York Times" Notable Books. He lives in Oxford, England.

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