Synopses & Reviews
Sex and travel have always been intertwined, and never more so than on the classic Grand Tour of Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today the Continent is still littered with salacious remnants of that golden age, where secret boudoirs, notorious dungeons, and forbidden artifacts lured travelers all the way from London to Capri.
In The Sinner’s Grand Tour, celebrated historian and travel writer Tony Perrottet sets off to discover a string of legendary sites and relics that are still kept far from public view. In southern France, an ancient text leads him inside the château of the Marquis de Sade, now owned by fashion icon Pierre Cardin. In Paris, an 1883 prostitute guide helps him discover the Belle Époque fantasy brothel Le Chabanais and the lost “sex chair” of King Edward VII. Renaissance documents in the Vatican Secret Archives point the way to the Pope’s very own apartments in Vatican City, wherein lies the fabled Stufetta del Bibbiena, a pornography-covered bathroom painted by Raphael in 1516.
With his unique blend of original research, sharp wit, and hilarious anecdotes, Perrottet brings us a romping travel adventure through the scandalous backrooms of historical Europe.
"Family in tow, Perrottet (Pagan Holiday) explores the vice palaces of earlier eras, from Scottish sex clubs to the buried brothels of Pompeii and the marquis de Sade's castle in Provence. Perrottet also tries to track down various infamous objects, including the lost sex chair of King Edward VII and a hidden room in the Vatican that contains legendary erotic paintings by Raphael. Along the way, Perrottet provides history, scenic descriptions, and a narrative of his attempt to keep two small children happy as they're dragged across Europe. The narrative works best as a scattershot pop history of the sexual antics of (mostly) wealthy Europeans over the centuries. There are fascinating anecdotes about everything from chastity belts to Mary Shelley's nipples. However, as a contemporary travelogue, the book falls short. Perrottet tries to drum up enthusiasm for his antiquarian encounters, but there's only so much excitement in describing a day in the stacks or a look at a few faded tiles of chubby nymphs. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
TONY PERROTTET is the author of four previous books: Off the Deep End, Pagan Holiday, The Naked Olympics, and Napoleon's Privates. He lives in New York City.