France - History
Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Paperback      ISBN: 0385338457
Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?

- Is it possible Christ did not die on the cross?
- Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists?
- Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best-kept secrets of Christendom?
- Is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible -- they are probably true so revolutionary, so original, so convincing, that the most faithful Christians will be moved; here is the book that has sparked worldwide controversey.

"Enough to seriously challenge many traditional Christian beliefs, if not alter them."
-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Like Chariots of the Gods?...the plot has all the elements of an international thriller."
-- Newsweek
Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50
Left Bank
Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940-50
Paperback      ISBN: 1250231469

An incandescent group portrait of the midcentury artists and thinkers whose lives, loves, collaborations, and passions were forged against the wartime destruction and postwar rebirth of Paris.

In this fascinating tour of a celebrated city during one of its most trying, significant, and ultimately triumphant eras, Agn s Poirier unspools the stories of the poets, writers, painters, and philosophers whose lives collided to extraordinary effect between 1940 and 1950. She gives us the human drama behind some of the most celebrated works of the 20th century, from Richard Wright's Native Son, Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and Saul Bellow's Augie March, along with the origin stories of now legendary movements, from Existentialism to the Theatre of the Absurd, New Journalism, bebop, and French feminism.

We follow Arthur Koestler and Norman Mailer as young men, peek inside Picasso's studio, and trail the twists of Camus's, Sartre's, and Beauvoir's epic love stories. We witness the births and deaths of newspapers and literary journals and peer through keyholes to see the first kisses and last nights of many ill-advised bedfellows. At every turn, Poirier deftly hones in on the most compelling and colorful history, without undermining the crucial significance of the era. She brings to life the flawed, visionary Parisians who fell in love and out of it, who infuriated and inspired one another, all while reconfiguring the world's political, intellectual, and creative landscapes.

With its balance of clear-eyed historical narrative and irresistible anecdotal charm, Left Bank transports readers to a Paris teeming with passion, drama, and life.

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres
Paperback      ISBN: 0140390545
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres is a record not of a literal jouney but of a meditative journey across time and space into the medieval imagination. Using the architecture, sculpture, and stained glass of the two locales as a starting point, Adams breathes life into what others might see merely as monuments of a past civilization. With daring and inventive conceits, Adams looks at the ordinary people, places, and events in the context of the social conventions and systems of thought and belief of the thirteenth century turning the study of history into a kind of theater.

As Raymond Carney discusses in his introduction, Adams' freeedom from the European traditions of study lends an exuberance--and puckish wit--to his writings.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris
The Hotel on Place Vendome
Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris
Paperback      ISBN: 0061791040

Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The H tel on Place Vend me is the captivating history of Paris's world-famous H tel Ritz--a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance--from Tilar J. Manzeo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5

When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, the legendary H tel Ritz on the Place Vend me--an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqu flappers, playboys, and princes--was the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in the occupied city by order of Adolf Hitler.

Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin de si cle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vend me is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the H tel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann G ring, and home to exclusive patrons, including Coco Chanel. Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace's suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery.

Rich in detail, illustrated with black-and-white photos, The Hotel on Place Vend me is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France--and all of post-war Europe--was transformed.

--Bookreporter
Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-De-Siècle Paris
Proust's Duchess
How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-De-Siècle Paris
Paperback      ISBN: 0345803124
From the author of Queen of Fashion--a glittering look at fin-de-si cle Paris through the three women who inspired Proust's supreme fictional character, the Duchesse de Guermantes.

The three superstars of turn-of-the-century Parisian high society were Genevi ve Hal vy Bizet Straus; Laure de Sade, Comtesse Adh aume de Chevign ; and lisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, Comtesse Greffulhe. All unhappily married, these women sought fulfillment by reinventing themselves as icons, and their fabled salons inspired generations of artists, composers, and writers. Caroline Weber takes us into these women's glamorous lives, showing us not only the balls, hunts, dinners, court visits, and nights at the opera but also the loneliness, rigid social rules, and arranged marriages that constricted them. Marcel Proust, as a young law student in 1892, first worshipped the three from afar and later met them and immortalized them in his celebrated composite character in In Search of Lost Time.
The Age of Conversation
The Age of Conversation
Paperback      ISBN: 1590172140
Now in paperback, an award-winning look at French salons and the women who presided over them

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, between the reign of Louis XIII and the Revolution, French aristocratic society developed an art of living based on a refined code of good manners.

Conversation, which began as a way of passing time, eventually became the central ritual of social life. In the salons, freed from the rigidity of court life, it was women who dictated the rules and presided over exchanges among socialites, writers, theologians, and statesmen. They contributed decisively to the development of the modern French language, new literary forms, and debates over philosophical and scientific ideas.

With a cast of characters both famous and unknown, ranging from the Marquise de Rambouillet to Madame de Sta'l, and including figures like Ninon de Lenclos, the Marquise de Sevigne, and Madame de Lafayette, as well as Pascal, La Rochefoucauld, Diderot, and Voltaire, Benedetta Craveri traces the history of this worldly society that carried the art of sociability to its supreme perfection-and ultimately helped bring on the Revolution that swept it all away.
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
The Greater Journey
Americans in Paris
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 1416571760
The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring--and until now, untold--story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, "Not all pioneers went west." Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything. There he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life.

Two staunch friends, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse, worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Cooper writing and Morse painting what would be his masterpiece. From something he saw in France, Morse would also bring home his momentous idea for the telegraph.

Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans launched his spectacular career performing in Paris at age 15. George P. A. Healy, who had almost no money and little education, took the gamble of a lifetime and with no prospects whatsoever in Paris became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln.

Medical student Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote home of his toil and the exhilaration in "being at the center of things" in what was then the medical capital of the world. From all they learned in Paris, Holmes and his fellow "medicals" were to exert lasting influence on the profession of medicine in the United States.

Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all "discovering" Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city's boulevards and gardens. "At last I have come into a dreamland," wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom's Cabin had brought her. Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris and even more atrocious nightmare of the Commune. His vivid account in his diary of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris (drawn on here for the first time) is one readers will never forget. The genius of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the son of an immigrant shoemaker, and of painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three of the greatest American artists ever, would flourish in Paris, inspired by the examples of brilliant French masters, and by Paris itself.

Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens's phrase, longed "to soar into the blue." The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece.
The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris
The Bettencourt Affair
The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris
Paperback      ISBN: 110198449x
An NPR Best Book of 2017

The Bettencourt Affair is part courtroom drama; part upstairs-downstairs tale; and part character-driven story of a complex, fascinating family and the intruder who nearly tore it apart.

At the time of her death at age ninety-four, in September 2017, Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Or al fortune, was the world's richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life took a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade, when she became embroiled in a scandal that dominated the headlines in France.

The Bettencourt Affair, as it came to be called, started as a family drama but quickly became a massive scandal, uncovering L'Or al's shadowy corporate history and buried World War II secrets. It all began when Liliane met Fran ois-Marie Banier, an artist and photographer who was, in his youth, the toast of Paris and a prot g of Salvador Dal . Over the next two decades, Banier was given hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts, cash, and insurance policies by Liliane. What, exactly, was their relationship? It wasn't clear, least of all to Liliane's daughter and only child, Fran oise, who became suspicious of Banier's motives and filed a lawsuit against him. But Banier has a far different story to tell. . . .
Paris: Biography of a City
Paris
Biography of a City
Hardcover      ISBN: 0670033936

Paris has been the center of French culture and politics, the great stage of kings, poets, and revolutionaries, the inspiration of artists, and the prize of armies since the Middle Ages. More distinguished than London, more central to world events than Rome, Paris has long been the worldas capital of art, beauty, and ideas. British historian Colin Jones unfolds the entire history of Paris in a single splendid volume that is simultaneously exuberant and erudite.

Fluent in cultural as well as political history and keenly attuned to the ongoing drama of the cityas evolution, Jones brings to life the people, ideas, social movements, and architectural upheavals that have made and remade Paris. Beginning with the late-Stone Age settlement on the banks of a muddy river, Jonesas brisk, authoritative narrative moves through every epochafrom the Roman town loved by the Emperor Julian to the early Christian capital of Clovis and Clotilda, from the plague-infested alleys of the Middle Ages to the brilliant salons of the Enlightenment, and from the bloody epicenter of the revolution to the brilliant backdrop of Impressionism.

Caesar and Colette, Saint Louis and Gertrude Stein, Napoleon and Jacques Chirac take their places, along with hundreds of others, in this dazzling history of the worldas most glorious city.

Everything (or Almost Everything) about Paris: A Petite Encyclopedia of Indispensable and Superfluous Information
Everything (or Almost Everything) about Paris
A Petite Encyclopedia of Indispensable and Superfluous Information
Hardcover      ISBN: 1681371022

The almost 200 entries in the addictive Everything (or Almost Everything) About Paris are a witty and sophisticated treasure trove of facts, histories, lists, records, quotations, and miscellaneous oddities that go well beyond trivia to include significant cultural information and an enlightening glimpse of Parisian life:

- An explanation of the Parisian chant of disillusionment: "m tro, boulot, dodo;"
- Addresses and descriptions of vineyards within the city limits;
- Ten vintage aperitifs to order in bistros;
- Imaginary Parisian streets that appear in novels;
- The number of brothels, massage parlors, and "places of pleasure" listed in a 1922 guidebook;
- Famous poisonings that occurred in Paris;
- Mottos of the five greatest educational institutions in Paris;
- Fines charged for municipal infractions, from feeding pigeons (35 ) to appearing nude in a public place (35,000 and imprisonment);
- Histories of the cobblestones, the rooftops, and the trashcans of Paris;
- Names of the most famous can-can dancers of the mid-19th and early 20th century;
- The odd and scandalous history of villa F licien-Fabre in the 16th arrondissement;
- Thirty significant paintings displayed in churches in Paris

...and much, much, much more.