Synopses & Reviews
In one of the most inventive travel books in years, Ina Caro invites readers on twenty-five one-day train trips that depart from Paris and transport us back through seven hundred years of French history. Whether taking us to Orléans to evoke the miraculous visions of Joan of Arc, to Versailles to experience the flamboyant achievements of Louis XIV, or to the Place de la Concorde to witness the beheading of Marie Antoinette, Caro animates history with her lush descriptions of architectural splendors and tales of court intrigue. Organizing her destinations chronologically from twelfth-century Saint-Denis to the nineteenth-century Restoration at Chantilly, Caro appeals not only to the casual tourist aboard the Metro or the TGV but also to the armchair reader of Peter Mayle's . Caro's passion for and knowledge of France--its soaring cathedrals, enthralling history, and sumptuous cuisine--are so impressive that promises to become one of the classic guidebooks of our time.
"The French rail system makes the country and its history a day-tripper's delight in this enchanting travelogue. Historian Caro (The Road from the Past: Traveling Through French History) recounts daylong outings from her Paris base camp to points near, by MÃ©tro, or far, by high-speed train. French architecture and civilization unfold through the buildings and towns she visits: churches progress from the first Gothic cathedral at St.-Denis to the secular temple of the PanthÃ©on; grim medieval fortresses give way to airy Loire chateaus and splendiferous baroque palaces. Writing with a keen eye for the design and atmospherics of these places and their surroundings (especially local restaurants), Caro makes them way stations on a sprightly tour of French history, regaling readers with piquant stories of the people who built, conquered, and remodeled them. Almost despite itself, the book is a seductive evocation of the ancien rÃ©gime: aristocrats were rapacious brutes, Caro allows, but she can't resist their castles, tastes, and sexual intrigues. (''Kill him! Here, take my garters and strangle the wretch,'' was the sentence Marguerite de Valois pronounced to one lover who murdered another.) The result is a charming, rapturous guide to la Belle France that tells you where to go and why. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Ina Caro's has convinced me that I must visit France again very soon, and this time I know who my guide will be. Even the most hardened Francophobe won't be able to resist Caro's charms and infectious enthusiasm for the great stories of French history. This is one of the most captivating and original travel books in years." Gay Talese
"With charming humor and easy erudition, Ina Caro's is an exuberant journey from the City of Light to the outlying monuments of its storied, glorious, peculiar, and even culinary past. Ushered from Romanesque church to Gothic cathedral, from gilded bronze doors to walled cities, from Joan of Arc to Marie de Rohan to Rochefoucauld, we travel with our companionable, piquant narrator into the vagaries and unexpected corners of time and place. This is a gem of a book-- part history, part travelogue, part love affair--impossible to put down, until that is, we pack it for Paris." Brenda Wineapple, author of Genet: A Life of Janet Flanner
"It is hard to imagine a more enchanting or more brilliantly conceived book. With Ina Caro as your guide, you will fall in love with French history. Ancient castles and cathedrals come to life through her marvelous stories; biographical gems capture the lives of memorable kings and queens. But most of all, you will fall in love with Ina Caro herself--with her infectious love of history, food and architecture, her husband and life itself." Doris Kearns Goodwin
"This book is animated by love on every page: love of French history, love of ancient pageantry, palaces, and cathedrals, and love of the historian husband who accompanies her on her wanderings. is guaranteed to enrich the experience of both newcomers to France and veteran travelers alike." Ron Chernow, author of Washington: A Life
"Read Ina Caro's wonderful , fall in love again with the most beautiful city in the world, and start packing your bags." Robert Massie, author of Nicholas and A lexandra
"I'd rather go to France with Ina Caro than with Henry Adams or Henry James."--Peter Prescott,
About the Author
Ina Caro, author of the best-selling The Road from the Past, is an authority on medieval and modern French history. She lives in New York with her husband, the acclaimed biographer Robert A. Caro.