Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the City of Light

Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the City of Light

by Gregor Dallas
     
 

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A history of Paris in twelve métro stops.

Métro Stop Paris recounts the extraordinary and colorful history of the City of Light, by way of twelve Métro stops-a voyage across both space and time. At each stop a Parisian building, or street, or tomb or landmark sparks a story that holds particular significance for that area of

Overview


A history of Paris in twelve métro stops.

Métro Stop Paris recounts the extraordinary and colorful history of the City of Light, by way of twelve Métro stops-a voyage across both space and time. At each stop a Parisian building, or street, or tomb or landmark sparks a story that holds particular significance for that area of the city.

Dallas takes us to the jazz cellars and literary cafés of Montparnasse and Saint-Germain-des-Prés; the catacombs at Hells Gate; and the Opéra during the days of Claude Debussy. A darker side of Paris emerges at the Trocadéro stop and a charitable side at the Gare du Nord, which highlights the work of Saint Vincent de Paul. Finally, our journey ends at Père-Lachaise cemetery with the little-known story of Oscar Wildes curious involvement in the Dreyfus affair, one of Frances greatest legal scandals. From Hell (the Denfert-Rochereau stop on the south side of the city) to Heaven (the Gare du Nord at the north end of Paris), Métro Stop Paris carries readers on a journey of the heart and mind.

Métro Stop Paris is a thinkers guide to Paris made up of "slices of life," little vignettes drawn from Pariss two thousand years of history. Taken separately, these are charming historic tales about a city known and loved by many, but read as a whole Métro Stop Paris goes straight to the heart of what is quintessentially Parisian.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This rather quirky book is likely to interest only the most serious Francophiles. Part travelog, part guidebook, part history, it can most accurately be described as a journey through the mind of its author, a prolific British writer (1945: The War That Never Ended) who now lives in France. Imaginatively and creatively conceived, the book takes us on a trip through the Paris Métro, making 12 carefully selected "stops." Each stop, and its environs, is described historically, architecturally, and geographically. Dallas gives close attention to how the environs fared or changed in the grip of political crises such as the Revolution, German Occupation, or Cold War years. More central to the author's purpose, however, are his lengthy ruminations on characters or individuals associated with each spot. Vincent de Paul, Anaïs Nin, André Gide, and Jean-Paul Sartre all find a place here. The chapter on legendary cemetery Père Lachaise, for example, leads to musings on Oscar Wilde, the Dreyfus affair, and the interconnections the author has found between them. Readers who are well acquainted with the geography of Paris may find this work fascinating, but its idiosyncratic focus, abrupt ending, and absence of a conclusion will make it a difficult read for most.
—Marie Marmo Mullaney

Kirkus Reviews
Seasoned historian Dallas (1945: The War That Never Ended, 2005, etc.) serves up exquisite slices of Parisian lore. Twelve Metro stops in the city of lights come blazing to life in this unusual tome. "There are many histories of Paris," the author writes, "but they won't fit in a pocket or a traveling sack." Instead he gives us "little vignettes drawn from Paris's rich two-thousand year history." Such a wide-ranging project might fail in lesser writers' hands, but London-born Dallas, a longtime resident of France, infectiously conveys his love and deep knowledge. From Metro stop No. 1, Denfert-Rochereau, the visitor to Paris can stroll in an area "once called Hell," considered in the 1800s "the most frightening, deserted part of Paris" (Dallas explains why). From there, he moves on to the Gare du Nord, Metro stop No. 2, and the "charitable mysticism of Saint Vincent de Paul," who in the 17th century established a group of homes for foundlings that was soon transformed by politicians into "a veritable industry of abandoned children." Metro stop No. 3, the Trocadero, was the stomping grounds of Dr. Otto Rank, "one of the great heretics of the psychoanalytic movement," a disciple and later a critic of Freud, and the lover of Anais Nin. Metro stop No. 7, Chatelet-Les Halles, is a place frozen in the late 19th century for any reader of Emile Zola's novel Le Ventre de Paris. Claude Debussy's scandalous life and his friendship with Marcel Proust are interwoven with a riveting history of the Paris Opera (Metro stop No. 9). The final stop is Pere Lachaise, the largest of the city's cemeteries, where Dallas intertwines the last years of Oscar Wilde and the imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus,the subject of France's most notorious miscarriage of justice. A recommended reading list rounds out this gripping guide for the intellectual tourist. Bravely drawn popular history: thoroughly researched, muscular with details and rendered in enchanting prose. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta/PFD New York
From the Publisher

“...exquisite slices of Parisian lore….Such a wide-ranging project might fail in lesser writers' hands, but London-born Dallas, a longtime resident of France, infectiously conveys his love and deep knowledge….gripping guide for the intellectual tourist.” —Kirkus Reviews

“an unusual but remarkably readable guide to Paris.” —Booklist

“confirms the notion that there is always something more to learn about France's capital….abundance of such tantalizing biographical tidbits…” —Caroline Weber, New York Times Book Review

“a well-researched, well-rounded book -- but it'll just whet your Parisian appetite,” —Bookslut.com

“If the dollar ever recovers and I can afford to visit Paris again, I'll be sure to take Métro Stop Paris with me. It's an elegant guide to the city and its history.” —Sara Gold, PW.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802719003
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
671,655
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Gregor Dallas is the author of many critically acclaimed works of European history. Born in London, he was educated in Britain and the United States, has taught in American universities, and now lives in France.
Gregor Dallas is the author of many critically acclaimed works of European history. Born in London, he was educated in Britain and the United States, has taught in American universities, and now lives in France.

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