Amazing People of Paris

Amazing People of Paris

by Charles Margerison


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Have you ever wondered how the Eiffel Tower was built? Or what it would have been like to wander the streets of Montmartre a hundred years ago, meeting people like Edith Piaf and the famous painters? As you walk around the City of Light, you are travelling in the footsteps of inspiring people including Napoleon Bonaparte, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gustave Eiffel. In different ways, all of these amazing characters made major contributions, making the city of Paris what it is today. A city tour unlike any other, Amazing People of Paris from amazing People Worldwide® takes you on a fascinating journey with these icons of one of the world's most visited cities. You will meet those who contributed to the music, the art, the architecture, the politics and other vital aspects of the city's life. Come face to face with those who developed the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Tuilleries Gardens and other great places. Walk around the city with the stories of the people who created the sites we love to visit. Your tour of the people and places of Paris comes alive through BioViews®, a short biographical story, similar to an interview. These unique stories provide an easy way of learning about amazing people who made major contributions and changed our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781921752414
Publisher: Amazing People Worldwide
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Series: Amazing People Worldwide - Inspirational Stories Series
Pages: 146
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Educational psychologist and entrepreneur, Dr Charles Margerison, created the concept for the Amazing People series during a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, when he wondered what Shakespeare might say if he was interviewed about his life achievements. The series now features the stories of over 500 amazing people. As well as working in educational institutions for many years, Dr Margerison has consulted widely for global organizations. He was previously Professor of Management at Cranfield University, UK, and the University of Queensland, Australia. The author of numerous books, Dr Margerison is a member of the Royal Institution and the Royal Society of Literature.

Read an Excerpt

Amazing People of Paris

By Charles Margerison

Viewpoint Resources Ltd

Copyright © 2017 Charles Margerison
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-921752-37-7



c. 80 BC – 40 BC

We thought that we would be safe living on an island
It was a great place for fishing
That provided our main food
Our homes were situated between two banks of a great river
My name is Jacques of the Parisii tribe
We live a simple life
Other tribes had tried to attack us
None had been successful
The river was like a moat, and hard to cross
All that has now changed
People from the south, called Romans, arrived
Our flimsy spears made no impact on their armour
They have taken me and other men of our tribe as prisoners
We have had to forfeit our fields to them
Our women are at their mercy
They have made us slaves in our own land
What will happen to my family and our Parisii tribe?


Julius Caesar

100 BC – 44 BC

The journey from Rome was long and difficult
My legions marched in good order, day after day
With the battles en route, the distance was almost 1000 miles
It has taken us many months to reach what we call Lutetia
It is a place of strategic importance on a major river
It is my job to conquer the whole of Gaul
It has not been an easy task

Vercingetorix led the Gauls against us in fierce battles
In one town, over 120,000 people were killed
Our army lost many good men, but we won a great victory
A key to our success was to live off the land that we conquered
Now, we have arrived at an interesting place
In the middle of the river there is a small island
'Lutetia' means a mid water dwelling
We do not understand the language of the people
It sounds like a gurgling sound
They say they are from the Parisii tribe
Many of their men tried to swim away
We captured most of them before they could go far
The women stayed behind to look after the children
Some of my men have already taken local girlfriends
I shall try and establish order and civilize this place
It could be developed as a major city like Rome.


Saint Denis

c. 188 – 247

The Romans, led by Julius Caesar, arrived in 52 BC
Rough, tough and ruthless
Yet, they brought order and developed the area
Their ability to build is evident all around
Military barracks were constructed and well fortified
Temples to their pagan gods were constructed
They built many houses for their people and a market place
Public baths and an auditorium for theatre shows were created
The Romans were clever in their approach
Rather than impose their own gods, they linked them to the local ones
Also, the new buildings were paid for by extra taxes
While an army of occupation, they had a plan for integration
They have been here for over 200 years
Their men have taken local girls as wives
The children speak both Latin and the local dialect
Schools have been established, and also a hospital
The Romans have set up strong defences around the town
In 212 AD, they changed the name from Lutetia to Paris
It reflects the name of the local tribe, who still live here
In all, there are about 50,000 people in the community
I am also a Roman, but here to spread the teachings of Christ
The words of our Jewish leader will inspire people
The Roman Catholic Church will outlast the Roman Army
It will, of course, take time and patience
As the first Bishop of Paris, I will convert many people.


Saint Genevieve

c. 419 – 502

We had heard the rumours of a mighty battle
I could not sleep for fear, nor could my sisters
Attila the Hun and his army were nearby
Our Roman rulers were under attack
Calling the nuns together, I led them in prayer
It was the year 451 AD
Our local supporters and members were scared
Would they be punished by the invaders?
'The Roman Army will not be able to save us,' I told them
'Be brave and trust in God,' I said
We only had our Christian Faith as a defence
I encouraged them to pray and to fast
Our local villagers did just that
Saint Denis, our first bishop, would have been proud of us
I stayed awake all night, praying for our salvation
The next day, the Roman Army began to leave
It was hard to believe
They had been in Paris for over 400 years
Emperor Constantine supported Christian worship from 313
He allowed us to practise our religion
Now, what would happen?
Within a few days, our prayers were answered
Attila was more interested in the Roman Army than us
He followed their legions south and Paris was spared
For a time life was quiet, but other battles loomed
We continued our charitable work and prayed for peace.



c. 466 – 511

As King of the Franks, I united many tribes
It was the only way we could survive
However, the tribes from the east took no prisoners
They came to kill, not just conquer
Building a strong cavalry was essential for our defence
I was only around 16 years of age when I succeeded my father in 481
The men, at first, wondered if they should follow me
Setting an example in battle was the way to persuade them
Driving out the remnants of the Romans was essential
It was the start of my conquest of Gaul
Next came victories against the barbarians from the east in 491
Those battles continued at regular intervals
Seeing so much death, my soul was troubled
Listening to the monks, I converted to Christianity, seeking salvation
Becoming the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul
At Reims, in 496, I was baptized and prayed for peace
Yet, more battles were necessary to protect our land
Winning the hearts and minds for God was just as important
The priests spoke Latin, and many did not understand them
In the city and towns, we spoke a mixture of Latin and the Franks language
We needed a language everyone understood to unite Gaul
That was another of my efforts to bring about unification
Eventually, by 507, we had defeated the Visigoths in the Battle of Vouillé
Paris became my power base
Enabling me to unite the Franks into a new nation.


Charles Martel

c. 688 – 741

After the Romans, there were many other invaders
Some from the Nordic north
Other barbarians attacked from the east
Each time they brought destruction and death
But, there were other dangers
The Moors - invaders from the south - worried me the most
The Arabs brought religion with their cavalry
Muslims praying to Allah rather than Christ
Islam and the Shari'ah law, rather than Christian justice
The Muslim religious fanatics wanted to rule Europe
They had already invaded Spain and Portugal
Paris and our other major cities were under threat
'Defend your families and your land,' I cried
Men raced to join my army
Just south of the capital, a great battle took place
The Battle of Tours, as some called it
Also, a lot of the fighting was done near Poitiers
For eight days, in 732, my men fought against the Muslims
We were a mixed bunch from Germany and France
Fighting for freedom
It was a religious, as well as a political war
The believers in the Bible against those who chose the Koran
The Christian Church, therefore, supported our cause
We need their money, not just prayers
The fighting was hand-to-hand and very vicious
Eventually, the Muslims turned and fled
Paris and France had been saved
But, other invaders would no doubt arrive
Vigilance was essential.



c. 742 – 814

In all, I ruled for 47 years
During that time, I tried to bring about peace
In truth, it involved many battles and wars
It was necessary to keep out the invaders and infidels
Those battles took me to many cities and countries
In particular, there were long journeys to Italy
There, I protected the Pope with my army
In Spain, my troops fought the Moors
Battles were also conducted on Germanic lands
As King of the Franks, I had an Empire to rule
My rule united most of Western Europe for the first time
Yet, little of my time was spent in Paris
My capital was established at Aachen
Nevertheless, Paris benefited from my leadership
The victories improved the economy and standard of living
I insisted that education facilities be provided for children
Only in that way could the next generation improve
The practice of the Roman Catholic religion was enforced
Clear problem solving and communication were needed
I spoke Latin, Arabic and my native Germanic tongue
Albeit, I did not have the learning to write in those languages
My time was spent more in the fields of battle
Winning wars was the basis for improving the quality of life.


Hugh Capet

c. 940 – 996

I knew Paris well
My family owned considerable land on, and around, the Ile de France
Therefore, it was an honour to be elected King of France
My coronation was the start of a new era
One that signalled the coming together of our people, as a nation
Yet, we had many problems to face
Paris was growing, as a centre of trade and industry
More and more people flooded into the town
Developing roads, bridges and public buildings was costly
Finding enough new homes, also proved difficult
Many arrived and were homeless
It was even worse on market days
When disease struck it spread more quickly in the town
Conditions for people with families were poor
As the Count of Paris, I tried to extend the facilities for education
Charlemagne's grand vision needed development
But, apart from the Church, there were few teachers
Most of my time was taken up with political issues
There were many feudal baronies
Resolving differences between powerful people was a key task
But, an important start had been made
Paris began to prosper.


Maurice de Sully

c. 1120 – 1196

It was a long walk to Paris from my home
Born near Orléans, I became a priest
In 1140, I made the long journey to Paris
There were many poor people looking for work
Many resorted to crime in order to survive
Could my mission save souls and create work?
A major project was required
Paris needed a grand cathedral to the Almighty
My appointment, as the Bishop of Paris, was made in 1160
Within three years, I organized the arrangements
So, began, the construction of Notre Dame
Slowly, but surely, the church was built
It gave employment to many
They spent their money at the local market
The economy started to improve
Twenty years later, the Patriarch of Jerusalem visited
He consecrated the sanctuary
Thirteen years earlier, I converted a Jewish church
It was one of many projects
In the process, we developed religion and business.


Robert de Sorbon

1201 – 1274

Having been born to a poor family, education was important to me
Through reading and study, I was able to become a priest
Eventually, I became the Canon of Paris
A major part of my work was to teach the Holy Scriptures
In 1257, I established the Maison de Sorbonne
This was named in my honour
Originally, there were only 20 students studying theology
Gradually, the school grew in size and stature
It was a privilege to both teach and preach there
As the founder, I became the chancellor of the university
All around, though, I saw how difficult life was
Education was limited to a few
Most people were poor and often hungry
Medical knowledge was very limited
When people took ill, there was little that could be done
Many died at a young age
As a priest, I was always busy
People wanted to be assured of salvation
I became the King's Confessor in 1258
A position of great trust, as I learned many secrets
Beyond the castle walls, Paris was growing
On market and feast days, there was a spirit of optimism
People crowded into the city
Tales were told and deals were done
The reality of life beyond the Church
In the University, we focused on the life to come
Looking towards Heaven
Trying to avoid the hell that lay all around us.


Étienne Marcel

c. 1316 – 1358

My father told me the history of our land
It had been passed on by word of mouth, as few people could read
Paris was becoming a city and had about 25,000 inhabitants
France reflected the Franks people and their influence
Change was slow, but the monarchy and the church grew in power
The peasants paid tithes and churches were built
In Paris, Abbot Sugar expanded the St Denis Cathedral in 1136
St Denis became the patron saint of Paris
Bishop Maurice de Sully decided to build another cathedral
Commenced in 1163, it was not finished until about 1345

It was called Notre Dame Cathedral
A magnificent place of worship, wealth amongst the poor
More people went to the city searching for work
Paris had grown to about 250,000 citizens by that time
Families worked on the cathedral for generations
It took over 200 years to build
Another great development was the University of Paris
Founded in 1200, it became a centre of higher learning
Followed in 1257 by the Sorbonne University
Education was mainly for the nobles and their families
The merchants grew stronger and elected me as their leader
As a businessman, I made money buying and selling
In effect, I became the first Mayor of Paris in 1357
Together with colleagues, we built the first Hotel de Ville
Paris was becoming a city of standing.


Claude Sanson

c. 1461 – 1523

As a city administrator, in Paris, I had a good job
There were many problems
For about 100 years, France was at war with the English
Since 1328, they had been trying to control France
Also, we had a civil war, which made life difficult
Armagnacs and Burgundians started battles in 1407
It enabled the English to invade
In 1415, they won the Battle of Agincourt
King Henry V of England became the King of France
His troops entered Paris
They were walking around the city, as if they owned it
Many of them said they had the right to do so
After all, they were of Norman
descent and French by heritage
They had returned to claim their birthright
It took a young girl to rouse King Charles VII
Joan of Arc, in 1429, persuaded the French army to fight back
Victory was followed by other defeats for our army
Men, women and children were killed
So it went on, until 1475
In between, many people died from the plague - the Black Death
Other diseases were common, and had the same effect
Some said it was God's judgement on our lifestyle
The events all took a heavy toll on the population in Paris
Spreading from street to street
In 1500, Paris had only about 200,000 residents
Many people fled to the countryside
My wife and young children died
There is nothing left in Paris for me
Tomorrow I will leave, before it is too late.


King Francois I

1494 – 1547

At the age of 21, in 1515, I became King of France
My aim was to restore pride in our country
Investment was required in buildings
Through those initiatives people gained work and income
Major projects in Paris were commenced
One of the projects was the Louvre
It was a place where I could live and house my art collection
Another was the creation of the Paris Hotel de Ville
It became our town hall administrative centre
As well, I expanded the Royal Chateau at Fontainebleau
A place in the countryside for peace and quiet
I also developed Chateau de St Germain-en-Laye
But, what could I do to help my citizens?
Illness was common in the city and there were few cures
To assist, I founded the Imprimerie Royale
In addition, in 1530, the Collège Royale was established
It was a place to advance research and education
In 1539, I declared French as our national language
Replacing Latin, 1000 years and more after the Romans had left
In Paris this was warmly welcomed
But, tensions between Catholics and Protestants arose
I favoured the Roman Church
The population had increased to about 275,000
My focus moved the nation from wars to art
Leonardo da Vinci accepted my invitation to visit Paris
In his baggage, he carried the Mona Lisa painting and other works
He was a renaissance man for an era of exploration and expansion
That is what I encouraged
Paris was to become the centre for new ideas and style
But, I feared religious arguments would cause conflict.


Excerpted from Amazing People of Paris by Charles Margerison. Copyright © 2017 Charles Margerison. Excerpted by permission of Viewpoint Resources Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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