By Colin Jones
From the Roman Emperor Julian, who waxed rhapsodic approximately Parisian wine and figs, to Henry Miller, who relished its seductive bohemia, Paris has been a perennial resource of fascination for 2,000 years. during this definitive and illuminating heritage, Colin Jones walks us throughout the urban that used to be a plague-infested charnel condominium in the course of the heart a while, the bloody epicenter of the French Revolution, the foundation of nineteenth-century Impressionist painters, and masses extra. Jones's masterful narrative is greater by way of a number of pictures and have boxes—on the Bastille or Josephine Baker, for instance—that entire a colourful and accomplished portrait of a spot that has persisted Vikings, Black demise, and the Nazis to grow to be the center of a resurgent Europe. this can be a exciting better half for historical past buffs and backpack, or armchair, tourists alike.
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Extra info for Paris: The Biography of a City
This terror could be seen in the dungeons under the towers [which] are filled with a mud which exhales the most offensive scent. They are the resort of toads, newts, rats, and spiders. In a corner of each is a camp bed, formed of iron bars, soldered into the wall, with some planks laid upon them. In these are put prisoners whom they wish to intimidate, and a little straw is given them for their bed. Two doors, each seven inches thick, one over the other, close these dark dens: each has two great bolts, and as many locks ....
The increased strategic importance of this symbol in the formation of public opinion became apparent in the affair of the necklace, which speeded up the French monarchy's loss of reputation. It was discovered that a diamond necklace worth 1,600,000 francs, offered to the queen by the jewelers Bohmer and Bassenge in 1784, had not been accepted by her but had been turned into cash by Countess LamotheValois by way of forged signatures and scenes of disguise, and with the help of her connections to the Versailles court.
121Moreover, the demand for the "abolition of the Bastille and of lettres de cachet" 122in March and April 1789 proved to be a widespread concern of the grievance registers ("cahiers de doleances"), of the Third Estate in particular, for the approaching States General. l'" but also in the provinces. " The symbol justified, even provoked the symbolic act. 2. " Not so much its current significance as a state prison-which was minor- but its past role, deeply anchored in the collective consciousness, as an instrument of arbitrary rule was decisive in making the Bastille, situated on the eastern outskirts of Paris, of all places the goal of the rebels.