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

by Tilar J Mazzeo


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Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hôtel on Place Vendôme is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel 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 Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme—an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué 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 siècle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the Hôtel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, 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 Vendôme is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France—and all of post-war Europe—was transformed. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061791048
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 173,156
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Tilar J. Mazzeo is the author of numerous works of cultural history and biography, including the New York Times bestselling The Widow Clicquot, The Secret of Chanel No. 5, and nearly two dozen other books, articles, essays, and reviews on wine, travel, and the history of luxury. The Clara C. Piper Associate Professor of English at Colby College, she divides her time between coastal Maine, New York City, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters xiii

Prologue: The Hotel Ritz, the Mirror of Paris 1

1 This Switzerland in Paris: June 1940 7

2 All the Talk of Paris: June 1, 1898 23

3 Dogfight above the Place Vendome: July 27, 1917 39

4 Diamonds as Big as the Ritz: September 1, 1940 49

5 The Americans Drifting to Paris: 1944 61

6 The French Actress and Her Nazi Lover 75

7 The Jewish Bartender and the German Resistance 87

8 The American Wife and the Swiss Director 103

9 The German General and the Fate of Paris 115

10 The Press Corps and the Race to Paris 123

11 Ernest Hemingway and the Ritz Liberated 139

12 Those Dame Reporters: August 26, 1944 151

13 The Last Trains from Paris 163

14 Coco's War and Other Dirty Linen 175

15 The Blond Bombshell and the Nuclear Scientists 195

16 From Berlin with Love and Last Battles in Paris: 1945 205

17 Waning Powers in Paris: June 1951 217

18 The War's Long Shadow: May 29, 1969 227

Afterword 235

Acknowledgments 239

Notes 243

Selected Bibliography 267

Photography Credits 277

Index 279

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