No-one knows a city like the people who live there so who better to relate the history of Paris than its inhabitants through the ages? Taking us from 1750 to the new millennium, Parisians introduces us to some of those inhabitants: we meet spies, soldiers, scientists and alchemists; police commissioners, photographers and philosophers; adulterers, ...Read MoreNo-one knows a city like the people who live there so who better to relate the history of Paris than its inhabitants through the ages? Taking us from 1750 to the new millennium, Parisians introduces us to some of those inhabitants: we meet spies, soldiers, scientists and alchemists; police commissioners, photographers and philosophers; adulterers, murderers, prisoners and prostitutes. We encounter political and sexual intrigues, witness real and would-be revolutions, assassination attempts and several all too successful executions; we visit underground caverns and catacombs, enjoy the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, are there for the opening of the Metro, accompany Hitler on a flying visit to the French capital and much more besides. Entertaining and illuminating, and written with Graham Robb's customary attention to detail and, indeed, the unusual Parisians is both history and travel guide, yet also part memoir, part mystery. A book unlike any other, it is at once a book to read from cover to cover, to lose yourself in, to dip in and out of at leisure, and a book to return to again and again rather like the city itself, in fact. Praise for The Discovery of France: 'An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller' Daily Telegraph 'A superior historical guidebook for the unhurried traveller, and altogether a book to savour' IndependentRead Less
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Though a couple of chapters are slightly mystifying, Robb selects intersections in Paris where intriquing events in the past happened, matches the style of each chapter to its subject, and leads the reader on the most informed fascinating tour of Paris imaginable. I have French inlaws, and would even give them this book. It is splendid on all levels---a good read, important scholarship, unheard-of byways, shrewd analysis, and mysteries that make you finish each chapter without putting the book down.
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