Paris

Paris : City of love. City of revolution.  This thrilling and romantic story opens in La Belle Époque, the golden, hedonistic age of peace and joie de vivre. Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, passion, and long-kept secrets both fictional and true, set against the backdrop of the city - from the summit of Montmartre to the gothic towers of Notre Dame to the grand boulevards of Saint-Germain, from the medieval world of saints and scholars to the modern French ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité

The noble family de Cygne have served king and country through the ages, while their ancient enemies the Le Sourds embody the ideals of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. The two Gascon brothers come from the dangerous slums behind Montmartre, but while Thomas goes to work building the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, Luc makes a living in the underworld of Pigalle, near the Moulin Rouge. The Blanchards, ruined in the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon and help establish Paris as the centre of art, literature and style that it is today. The American Hadleys, the father a painter, the son a friend of Hemingway, find romance in Paris, while the Jewish Jacob family of art dealers, expelled in the Middle Ages, try to survive in the Second War.

The story of the city is rich indeed: From the days of Notre Dame and the mighty Knights Templar to the expulsion of the Jews;  from the age of heroic Joan of Arc, to cunning Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody conflict between Catholics and Huguenots; from the glittering court of Versailles to the Terror of the French Revolution; from the heyday of the Impressionists to the shame of the Dreyfus Affair, and the tragic mutiny of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots, to the Nazi occupation, and the heroism of the French Resistance.

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Did You Know?
In Manhattan in the early to mid nineteenth century, scores of pigs roamed the streets – about 20,000 of them at peak population in the early 1820’s, a ratio of roughly one pig to every five humans ! Many of them belonged to families. The city was quickly growing in the nineteenth century – in population and wealth disparity. Despite rapid urbanization, non-wealthy New Yorkers continued raising hogs as a means of surviving. A family could always slaughter one of its pigs to feed itself, or sell one of them since pork was a staple of the American diet. Why pigs? Other animals weren’t quite so compatible with urban life. People could let their pigs wander the streets, rummage through trash for the piles of spoiled food that was left out on the street during the day, and count on them to return home in the evening !