Paris

Paris : City of love. City of revolution.  This thrilling and romantic story opens in La Belle Époque, the golden, hedonistic age of peace and joie de vivre. Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, passion, and long-kept secrets both fictional and true, set against the backdrop of the city - from the summit of Montmartre to the gothic towers of Notre Dame to the grand boulevards of Saint-Germain, from the medieval world of saints and scholars to the modern French ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité

The noble family de Cygne have served king and country through the ages, while their ancient enemies the Le Sourds embody the ideals of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. The two Gascon brothers come from the dangerous slums behind Montmartre, but while Thomas goes to work building the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, Luc makes a living in the underworld of Pigalle, near the Moulin Rouge. The Blanchards, ruined in the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon and help establish Paris as the centre of art, literature and style that it is today. The American Hadleys, the father a painter, the son a friend of Hemingway, find romance in Paris, while the Jewish Jacob family of art dealers, expelled in the Middle Ages, try to survive in the Second War.

The story of the city is rich indeed: From the days of Notre Dame and the mighty Knights Templar to the expulsion of the Jews;  from the age of heroic Joan of Arc, to cunning Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody conflict between Catholics and Huguenots; from the glittering court of Versailles to the Terror of the French Revolution; from the heyday of the Impressionists to the shame of the Dreyfus Affair, and the tragic mutiny of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots, to the Nazi occupation, and the heroism of the French Resistance.

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Did You Know?
Potatoes were made illegal in France for 24 years ! The French became convinced that the South American vegetable could cause a whole host of diseases, including leprosy, so in 1748, the cultivation and consumption of potatoes was strictly outlawed. It wasn’t until an imprisoned medical army officer named Antoine Auguste Parmentier survived in his prison cell subsisting solely on a diet of potatoes that acceptance of the food began to shift. After being released from prison, Parmentier went on to write a thesis about its health benefits, helping to overturn the law and re-introduce the potato to the French public in 1772. Within 20 years, potatoes became one of the most popular, and indeed, important foods in France. Even the ornamental royal gardens in Tuileres Palace in Paris - originally filled with flowers and exotic plants - were converted into potato fields.
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