Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train

Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train

by Ina Caro


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“I’d rather go to France with Ina Caro than with Henry Adams or Henry James.”—Newsweek

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 visions of Joan of Arc 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. “[An] enchanting travelogue” (Publishers Weekly), Paris to the Past has become one of the classic guidebooks of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393343151
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/16/2012
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 256,959
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

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.

Table of Contents

List of Maps xv

Prologue: Two Love Affairs 3

Part 1 The Middle Ages: Cathedrals and Fortresses

1 Saint-Denis: The Monarchy and the Gothic Cathedral 23

2 Laon: Early Gothic 48

3 Chartres: The High Gothic Cathedral at Chartres 54

4 The Coronation Ceremony at the Cathedral of Reims 68

5 The Louvre: A Late-Twelfth-Century Fortress 86

6 Angers: Blanche of Castile's Early-Thirteenth-Century Fortress 95

7 Sainte-Chapelle in Paris 111

8 Vincennes: A Fortress of the Hundred Years War 121

9 Joan of Arc: 1429 and the End of the Hundred Years War at Orléans 128

10 Rouen: Joan of Arc and Monet 142

Part 2 The Renaissance: Cities and Castles

11 Tours: The Rebirth of Cities After the Hundred Years War 157

12 Blois: A Sixteenth-Century Renaissance Château 170

13 Francis I and the Renaissance at Fontainebleau 183

14 Henry IV in Paris: The Hôtel de Sens, the Place des Vosges, and the Luxembourg Gardens 200

15 The Siege of La Rochelle and the End of the Reformation in France 213

Part 3 The Age of Louis XIV: Seventeenth-Century France

16 Magical Vaux-le-Vicomte 231

17 Versailles 244

18 The Secret Castle of Maintenon 254

Part 4 The Coming of the French Revolution: Paris in the Eighteenth Century

19 Parisian Sights: Palais-Royal, Hôtel Carnavalet, Hôtel de Soubise, École Militaire, the Panthéon, Place de la Concorde 267

20 The Petit Trianon of Madame de Pompadour and Marie-Antoinette 301

21 The Conciergerie 309

Part 5 The Empire and Restoration: The Bourgeois Century

22 Napoleon as Consul at Malmaison 317

23 Napoleon at Compiègne 319

24 The Restoration (1815-1848) at Chantilly 333

Coda: My Favorite Emperor and Me 345

Acknowledgments 351

Source Notes 353

Index 363

What People are Saying About This

Gay Talese

Ina Caro's Paris to the Past 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.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

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.

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