One – Visit Pere Lachaise the largest cemetery in the Paris’s city limits. Almost every important expatriate to have the misfortune of dying unexpectedly in Paris is buried there. Oscar Wilde’s tombstone is covered with lipstick kisses from admirers. Seems Wilde had to go since the wallpaper wasn’t. Isadora Duncan’s love of scarves was her undoing. Her scarf caught in the tire of the car she was riding in strangling her. When asked if the French would boot Jim Morrison’s body out when the thirty year lease expired, Doors’ organist, Ray Manzarek claimed Morrison’s grave was the third most popular tourist attraction in Paris behind the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.
Two – Museum d’ Orsay is more accessible and less crowded than the Louvre. The former railway station was saved from the wrecking ball and we are better for it. Lots of impressionist and post impressionist artists are represented. Van Gogh, Gauguin. Monet, Cezzane and Degas are all on display. The paintings are more approachable than the Mona Lisa which is hard to see underneath the bullet proof glass.
Three – La Realais de Venise for food is well known. Also known as La Entrecote Porte Maillot, the crowd outside can be endless in the summer. The smallish restaurant accepts no reservations and doesn’t have to. The menu is limited. Salad, beef steak (rare or very rare), pommes frites and wine (bottle or carafe). The beauty of the place, like mom’s, they offer second helpings on the steak and fries. That and the secret sauce which could make a tennis ball taste great, keeps Parisians and tourists lining up for a table.
Author Ges Milton writes about Edward Watkin, an Englishman who wanted to outdo Gustav Eiffel and his tower on his blog Surviving History. It’s a crazy story. I had never heard of the Watkin’s Tower before.
It was the crowning achievement of his career. And it was the beginning of a feud.
At the 1889 inauguration of his famous Paris tower, Gustav Eiffel was feted as a French national hero.
But among the few who did not appreciate his iron skyscraper was a patriotic Englishman named Edward Watkin.
Read the article at Giles Milton: A TALE OF TWO TOWERS: THE FABULOUS FOLLY OF EDWARD WATKIN.
The story of Marcel Petoit’s life is amazing. It is unbelievable that this real-life crime story actually happened during World War II. After being diagnosed multiple times for mental illnesses, Marcel Petoit was still allowed to fight on the front lines of World War I, as well as being elected to different positions in public office. Petoit then moved to Paris where he setup his medical practice and soon offers “escape” routes from the Nazis for Jews. Read about Cody Carlsons review of David King’s new book for the Deseret News.
It’s hard to imagine anything worse than the horrors of the Holocaust, and yet that is exactly the subject of “,” by David King, a wonderful amalgamation of history and true crime.
The book closely follows the terrifying exploits of Marcel Petiot, physician, veteran of the Great War and politician, who used the tragedy of the Holocaust to enrich himself by preying upon society’s most desperate and vulnerable citizens.
Claiming he was a faithful member of the French Resistance against the Nazis, Petiot was in fact nothing less than a madman who offered to help Parisian Jews escape the murderous policies of the Third Reich only to end up in the doctor’s own house of horrors in the center of Paris.
The book begins with the discovery of dozens of bodies of Petiot’s victims as his Parisian home burned down and neighbors noted the foul smell. The revelation that the house contained a torture chamber with body parts scattered about shocked the nation and ignited a major manhunt. King then follows the investigation, led by Inspector Georges Massu, who walked a fine line between finding the killer and outwitting the Gestapo.
Read more of the review at Book review: ‘Death’ is a frightening portrait of evil during the Nazi occupation of Paris | Deseret News.
When Hitler invaded Paris in June 1940, scuffles left a couple of German soldiers wounded outside the Gare du Nord; otherwise the French acquiesced in bewildered silence. The city’s new masters meant business. Any citizen found in possession of firearms or Free French propaganda would be jailed or executed.
The decision to enter the Resistance was not difficult for a handful of French women. Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier, niece of the creator of the Barbar children’s stories, felt a moral revulsion for the Jew-hatred of Vichy France. While she did not blow up any bridges, derail locomotives or eliminate members of the SS, she ran heroic risks in smuggling anti-Nazi propaganda past German blockades in Paris and establishing a network of underground contacts. Marie-Claude’s was among the first Resistance cells in occupied France and, miraculously, it never lost sight of a future beyond Hitler’s defeat.
Review by Ian Thomson
Southern California residents — and most Americans outside the Northeast corridor — can only envy the speed, comfort and ease of rail travel that the French have, especially the speedy TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). Ina Caro celebrates this mode of travel in “,” as she describes a series of trips to noteworthy places that are within a few hours of the capital by rail, allowing one to explore history and the countryside by day and return to Paris for dinner.
Caro, an American who loves French history (and is the wife of biographer Robert Caro), is an unabashedly enthusiastic guide. Her love for the places she visits is contagious, although her fervor sometimes trumps other considerations.
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Read More at ‘Paris to the Past’: Book review – latimes.com.
Review by Charles Solomon