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List of Maps xv
Prologue: Two Love Affairs 3
Part 1 The Middle Ages: Cathedrals and Fortresses
1 Saint-Denis: The Monarchy and the Gothic Cathedral 23
2 Laon: Early Gothic 48
3 Chartres: The High Gothic Cathedral at Chartres 54
4 The Coronation Ceremony at the Cathedral of Reims 68
5 The Louvre: A Late-Twelfth-Century Fortress 86
6 Angers: Blanche of Castile's Early-Thirteenth-Century Fortress 95
7 Sainte-Chapelle in Paris 111
8 Vincennes: A Fortress of the Hundred Years War 121
9 Joan of Arc: 1429 and the End of the Hundred Years War at Orléans 128
10 Rouen: Joan of Arc and Monet 142
Part 2 The Renaissance: Cities and Castles
11 Tours: The Rebirth of Cities After the Hundred Years War 157
12 Blois: A Sixteenth-Century Renaissance Château 170
13 Francis I and the Renaissance at Fontainebleau 183
14 Henry IV in Paris: The Hôtel de Sens, the Place des Vosges, and the Luxembourg Gardens 200
15 The Siege of La Rochelle and the End of the Reformation in France 213
Part 3 The Age of Louis XIV: Seventeenth-Century France
16 Magical Vaux-le-Vicomte 231
17 Versailles 244
18 The Secret Castle of Maintenon 254
Part 4 The Coming of the French Revolution: Paris in the Eighteenth Century
19 Parisian Sights: Palais-Royal, Hôtel Carnavalet, Hôtel de Soubise, École Militaire, the Panthéon, Place de la Concorde 267
20 The Petit Trianon of Madame de Pompadour and Marie-Antoinette 301
21 The Conciergerie 309
Part 5 The Empire and Restoration: The Bourgeois Century
22 Napoleon as Consul at Malmaison 317
23 Napoleon at Compiègne 319
24 The Restoration (1815-1848) at Chantilly 333
Coda: My Favorite Emperor and Me 345
Source Notes 353
Posted June 5, 2012
Even this devoted Francophile (who lived in Paris for 10 years) learned many interesting tidbits from reading Ina Caro's delightful book, with its novel way of looking at French history (through day trips from Paris to famous castles and towns, in chronological fashion). I especially enjoyed the chapter on Vaux-le-Vicomte (which I would put at #1 most beautiful French castle, while the author lists it among her top 3): as a college student in France many years ago, I wrote a paper on that famous night in August 1661 when Louis XIV visited Vaux; 40 years later, Ina Caro has filled in many of the blanks! One small quibble: the author could have omitted repeated mention of her lack of language skills: French pronunciation is not THAT hard! Otherwise, a very enjoyable read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 6, 2012
This is an excellent book, personal enough to be charming, yet accurate and filled with facts. It's so easy to overwhelm readers with historical information (and I admit, I'm still a little fuzzy about all those kings and their female companions) but Ina Caro manages to intersperse architecture and history with restaurant and hotel suggestions. (I saw one and two star reviews that had no text; I doubt the writers read the book.)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2012
I found this book fascinating and informative. In addition to providing historical background for each of the sites she visited, Caro gives useful travel information, including what to see and what to avoid. I seldom read every word (or even page) of a travel book; I could not put this one down. I highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2011
Whether you use this as a richly informative travel guide, or as a source of armchair enjoyment, this book deserves a place in your library. Caro maps out journeys from Paris to sites rich with historical importance -- and because she organizes the trips by chronological order of the historical importance of the sites, as you read you get a good feel for the sweep of French history. Delightfully readable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 17, 2011
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Posted August 1, 2011
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