France - History
The Sun King
Louis XIV at Versailles
Paperback ISBN: 1590174917
The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, recreating the daily life of the King, his court, and his ministers during France’s golden age. Nancy Mitford introduces us to the architects, artists, and gardeners tasked with transforming a modest hunting lodge into the most magnificent palace Europe had ever seen, delves into the complex and deadly court intrigues afoot in the new capital, and chronicles Louis’s love affairs with a succession of mistresses including the brilliant feuding marquises of Montespan and Maintenon. Along the way we find Jean-Baptiste de Lully and his fiddlers, floating behind the King’s gondola on summer nights in Versailles; Racine translating Latin aloud to his insomniac monarch; the Premier Médecin du Roi, Guy Crescent Fagon, bleeding one royal after another to death—and at the center of them all the demanding, mercurial, but remarkably resilient personality of France’s sovereign for nearly three quarters of the Grand Siècle. Brimming with sumptuous detail and delicious bons mots, and written in a witty, conversational style The Sun King restores a distant glittering century to vibrant life.
Memoirs of Montparnasse
Paperback ISBN: 1590171845
Memoirs of Montparnasse is a delicious book about being young, restless, reckless, and without cares. It is also the best and liveliest of the many chronicles of 1920s Paris and the exploits of the lost generation. In 1928, nineteen-year-old John Glassco escaped Montreal and his overbearing father for the wilder shores of Montparnasse. He remained there until his money ran out and his health collapsed, and he enjoyed every minute of his stay. Remarkable for their candor and humor, Glassco’s memoirs have the daft logic of a wild but utterly absorbing adventure, a tale of desire set free that is only faintly shadowed by sadness at the inevitable passage of time.
When the World Spoke French
Paperback ISBN: 1590173759
A New York Review Books Original During the eighteenth century, from the death of Louis XIV until the Revolution, French culture set the standard for all of Europe. In Sweden, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Russia, and Germany, among kings and queens, diplomats, military leaders, writers, aristocrats, and artists, French was the universal language of politics and intellectual life. In When the World Spoke French, Marc Fumaroli presents a gallery of portraits of Europeans and Americans who conversed and corresponded in French, along with excerpts from their letters or other writings. These men and women, despite their differences, were all irresistibly attracted to the ideal of human happiness inspired by the Enlightenment, whose capital was Paris and whose king was Voltaire. Whether they were in Paris or far away, speaking French connected them in spirit with all those who desired to emulate Parisian tastes, style of life, and social pleasures. Their stories are testaments to the appeal of that famous “sweetness of life” nourished by France and its language.
The Hotel on Place Vendome
Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris
Paperback ISBN: 0061791040
Taking readers behind the doors of Paris's Hotel Ritz during the Nazi occupation of World War II, this extraordinary chronicle reveals a hotbed of illicit affairs, deadly intrigues, courageous acts of defiance and treachery and the people and events that made this opulent cultural landmark legendary. 25,000 first printing.
Wtf?! What the French
Think You Know France? Think Again!
Paperback ISBN: 042528347x
With Stuff Parisians Like, Olivier Magny shared his hilarious insights into the fervently held opinions of his fellow Parisians. Now he moves beyond the City of Light to skewer the many idiosyncrasies that make modern France so very unique. In France, the simple act of eating bread is an exercise in creative problem solving and attempting to spell requires a degree of masochism. But that’s just how the French like it—and inWTF, Oliver Magny reveals the France only the French know. From the latest trends in baby names, to the religiously observed division of church and state, prepare yourself for an insider's look at French culture that is surprising, insightful, and chock full of bons mots. INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS
Voltaire in Love
Paperback ISBN: 1590175786
The inimitable Nancy Mitford’s account of Voltaire’s fifteen-year relationship with the Marquise du Châtelet—the renowned mathematician who introduced Isaac Newton’s revolutionary new physics to France—is a spirited romp in the company of two extraordinary individuals as well as an erudite and gossipy guide to French high society during the Enlightenment. Mitford’s story is as delicious as it is complicated. The marquise was in love with another mathematician, Maupertuis, while she had an unexpected rival for Voltaire’s affections in the future Frederick the Great of Prussia (and later in the philosophe’s own niece). There was, at least, no jealous husband to contend with: the Marquis du Châtelet, Mitford assures us, behaved perfectly. The beau monde of Paris was, however, distraught at the idea of the lovers’ brilliant conversation going to waste on the windswept hills of Champagne, site of the Château de Cirey, where experimental laboratories, a darkroom, and a library of more than twenty-one thousand volumes enabled them to pursue their amours philosophiques. From time to time the threat of impending arrest would send Voltaire scurrying across the border into Holland, but his irrepressible charm—and the interventions of powerful friends—always made it possible for him resume his studies with the cherished marquise.
La Belle France
A Short History
Paperback ISBN: 1400034876
A concise history of France ranges from the invasion of Gaul by Julius Caesar to the events of the twentieth century, profiling the lives of the great political leaders, artists, philosophers, writers, musicians, and others who helped shape Western culture and thought, and examining the impact of important events, social movements, military campaigns, and more. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.
Everything (or Almost Everything) About Paris
A Petite Encyclopedia of Indispensable and Superfluous Information
Hardcover ISBN: 1681371022
"There are almost 200 entries in the addictive Everything (or almost everything) About Paris, a witty and sophisticated treasure trove of facts, histories, lists, records, quotations, and miscellaneous oddities that go well beyond trivia to include significant cultural enlightenment and a below-the-surface glimpse of what it means to be Parisian. Among the thousands of facts that most certainly haven't been assembled in one place anywhere else: the number of brothels, massage parlors and 'places of pleasure' listed in a 1922 guidebook; famous poisonings that occurred in Paris; addresses of the ten vineyards within the city limits; ten vintage aperitifs to order in bistros; imaginary Parisian streets that appear in novels; fines charged for municipal infractions (from feeding pigeons (35E) to appearing nude in a public place (35,000 E and imprisonment)); the history of the bikini, the cobblestones, the rooftops, and the trashcans of Paris; exploits staged at the Eiffel Tower from 1891 through 2010; innovative (unadopted) ideas proposed through the years to improve the quality of life in Paris: shut down museums and put the paintings in bars, turn churches into housing for the poor, and more...and that's just for starters"--Provided by publisher.
Old World, New Look
Hardcover ISBN: 1419726005
Exploring Richard Avedon’s fascination with France, Avedon’s France brings together a collection of spectacular photographs; selected interviews, letters, publications, and writings (including new material from the Avedon Foundation archives); and substantive essays by the authors. In addition to five portfolios of French sitters spanning a lifetime of portraiture, it looks at Avedon’s apprenticeship to his mentor, Alexei Brodovitch; his encounters with French fashion; his idealized version of Paris in the movie Funny Face; his fresh take on the belle epoque in his book on Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Diary of a Century; and his fruitful association with the magazine Egoïste later in his life. Avedon’s France offers a full account of Avedon’s restless pursuit of new ways of looking at the world, and it reveals a master image maker, a true artist for his time.