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Extended Audio Sample Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, by Graham Robb Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (724 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Graham Robb Narrator: Simon Vanc Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The secrets of the City of Light, revealed in the lives of the great, the near-great, and the forgotten—by the author of the acclaimed The Discovery of France

This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter.

An aristocratic woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map—there were no reliable ones at the time—Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.

Baudelaire, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt on himself in Notre Dame)—these and many more make up Robb’s cast of characters. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kerry | 2/13/2014

    " i wanted to read this because i thought the concept was interesting- a history of paris told through the years through the writings and bits of history of ordinary and not so ordinary people. with the exceptions of a few stories, i felt like it dragged and didn't include any explanation to actually interest me if i didn't already know something about the background. for example, the revolts at nanterre in the late 60s. i had never heard of them before and by the time i'd pieced together what was happening and why, i was just no longer interested. which is a shame because i was actually interested in the background. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Margaret Sankey | 2/1/2014

    " From a master historian of modern France, 1789-now in a series of amuse-bouche, biographically centered Parisian vignettes--a young Napoleon seeking the resumption of the mulberry tree subsidy on Corsica, Madame Zola on the personal cost of the Dreyfus Affair, Inspector Vidocq and the real Count of Monte Cristo, Marcel Proust's fascination with the Metro system, the Occupation of 1940-44 through the eyes of children and Marie Antoinette slowing the escape from the Tulleries by being lost in Paris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by James Meyer | 1/29/2014

    " I appreciated Robb's love for Paris, and even enjoyed it when I knew what--and who-- he was talking about; In short, I understood more of his references to Parisians than I did to Paris, but when I did understand one of the myriad geographic references to the city, I only then appreciated fully the love affair that Robb has with the city. Perhaps, after several more visits to the City of Lights, this book would mean more to me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Christina Dudley | 1/18/2014

    " Hard to rate this book because I found chapters of it fascinating and others slow-going. I love history and Paris but dislike short stories, and PARISIANS is structured like a series of history short-stories. My favorite: "Marcel and the Metropolitain," about Proust and the new Metro opening. Robb has an elliptical writing style, and sometimes I just wanted him to give me the story straight. Don't make me work for it! "

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About the Author

Graham Robb has published widely in French literature and history and is the award-winning biographer of Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Rimbaud. His other books include The Discovery of France and Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. He lives in Oxford, England.