The Paris Architect
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The Paris Architect

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,923 ratings  ·  688 reviews
Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly con...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 2013)
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The Paris Architect by Charles BelfoureThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierSummon Kassern by Azure BooneGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Next Read
1st out of 22 books — 10 voters
Seduction by M.J. RoseThe Aviator's Wife by Melanie BenjaminThe Firebird by Susanna KearsleyThe Midwife's Tale by Sam   ThomasTemple of a Thousand Faces by John Shors
Historical Fiction 2013
195th out of 581 books — 2,269 voters

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Community Reviews

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How do I put this one into words for my review?! It was gooooooood. A goooood novel. Not high literature, but damn it all I enjoyed it a lot. Exciting. It starts with great historical details of life in Paris during WW2, then the excitement builds and builds and builds. Parts are gruesome, but the ending left a big smile on my face. Yeah, tons of fun.

But I have to tell you this: the narration of the audiobok was t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e… Mark Bramhall. I mean his French and German dialects were laugh...more
Erika Robuck
From the moment I saw the haunting cover of this novel, I knew I had to read it. The small Jewish girl hiding in plain sight says so much about the work of gifted architect, Lucien Bernard, the flawed protagonist of Charles Belfoure’s THE PARIS ARCHITECT.

Lucian is fairly despicable at the start of the novel. He no longer loves his wife, he has a mistress, and he does not care about the Jews being plagued by the Nazis in occupied France. He only cares about surviving by making as much money as po...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Can you trust the people you used to trust? Can your life be normal? That question was asked every single day of Lucien's life and every single day of any French citizen living in Paris during the Nazi occupation.

Life definitely was not the same as before. You had to watch everything you said and did. Lucien had to make a decision about doing something he knew was very dangerous. Lucien was an architect and was asked to design hiding places for Jewish friends of Auguste Manet, a well-known busin...more
Undeservedly low ratings on Goodreads. In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard is leading double lives: a dull, loveless marriage while having an affair with a famous designer and accepting commissions from a Christian to design hiding places for Jews and to design factories for the Nazis. Living in terror, Lucien is afraid of the Gestapo (for helping Jews) as well as the resistance (for helping the German war effort), even though Lucien rationalizes his work as benefiting a post-war Fran...more
Bette BookAddict
Apr 05, 2014 Bette BookAddict rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bette BookAddict by: GR
Shelves: fiction, holocaust

While the method of alluding the Nazis mentioned in this book is one which doubtless would have been used, this particular story itself is fictional. These events are not drawn from one particular case; rather, the author says he got the idea from the story of Nicholas Owen, a Jesuit lay brother who devoted the greater part of his life to constructing hiding places to protect the lives of persecuted priests during the reign of Elizabeth 1.

In 1942 Paris, all Jewish people are being rounded up by...more

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a fast moving book, that captures your attention. The setting of Occupied Paris is richly drawn as is the lure of survival. The main character, Lucien is a character who changes as the novel moves, but not without struggles and betrayals. What he is doing is very, very dangerous and there is one German who is determined to capture this man who tricks and deceives the Germans

Lucien Bernard is an architect who is struggling, but then so many people are in...more
3.5 stars. I'm tempted to give this a four just because it became such a page-turner. The plot is the thing here. And if you're interested in architecture, the author is also an architect, so bonus. WWII stories always grab me in the gut because how can they not? I'm still amazed at what happened. I'm amazed at the evil and just plain insanity exhibited by the Nazis, and that so many innocent people were killed simply because one certifiable man was able to convince a bunch of sheep to join him....more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars. One of the things that I love about books about World War II is that many times they show the good side of human nature against the very dark events that happened during the war. "The Paris Architect" is a fictional tale but with all of the great historical detail and the well-rounded characters, the story feels very real and definitely shows those two sides of human nature that are so absolutely fascinating to me. This is the story of Lucien, an architect, who is sort of indifferent...more
Alyse Liebovich
I heard about this title at a Book Buzz event a few days before attending ALA and was so excited when I saw one of the publisher's booths at ALA giving away free ARC copies of it. It was recommended to people who like Ken Follett but enjoy reading about the WWII era.
When I excitedly asked if I could take one of the copies, the woman said, "Don't start it at 10pm like I did!" She was right. Although I enjoyed "Pillars of the Earth" by Follett, it was for way different reasons. I didn't have a ha...more
Rose Mary Achey
The concept of this book was excellent….an architect who retrofits spaces within homes to hide Jewish individuals during WWII. The writing left much to be desired. Filled with anachronisms, the narrative was so simplistic; it just did not fit the time period.

From The Paris Architect page 198:

“He felt as if he was in one of those dumb-ass American movies he’d seen. A character would be in a quandary over what to do. A miniature angel wearing wings and halo appeared on one shoulder telling him...more
Cynthia ☮ ❤ ❀
Review: The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Title: The Paris Architect
Author: Charles Belfoure

Genre: Historical Fiction
Themes: Relationships, Trust, Survival
Setting: Paris, France, 1942
Point of View: 3rd Person

Publisher/Publication Date: October 8, 2013 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Source: NetGalley
Rating: Four of Five Stars
Finished/Not Finished: Finished

First Line: "Just as Lucien Bernard rounded the corner at the rue La Boetie, a man running from the opposite direction almost collided with him."...more
Terri Lynn
Powerful! Exquisite! Heartbreaking! Heartwarming! This book was all of that and then some. I was completely blown away by the rare beauty of this story of an Atheist architect Lucien Bernard who lived in Paris during the occupation of France by the Nazis.

At first Lucien doesn't really care about what is happening to the French Jews when a wealthy gentile Monsieur Manet asks him to build a secret hiding place for a Jew. Lucien knows he could be tortured to death by the Gestapo for doing such a t...more
From the first word heard on this audio, I was a prisoner. I think the story held me more rapt than the reader; it moved along quickly, and totally consumed me. I never turned it off, until the end. It is about unlikely heroes, who rose above their own expectations, and it is about traitors, by design, as well as those who became quasi-traitors, those tortured into confessions to avoid more pain. It is about the German effort to seek out and find the hidden Jews in order to steal their wealth.
Diane S.
2.5 When this story begins Lucien is on his way to what he thinks will be an architecture job, one that will be prominent enough to enhance his reputation for the future. The Nazi& have taken control of Paris, Jews are being rounded up and sent to the camps, there are food shortages, ordinary Parisians are in fear of their lives and co-operate with the Germans superficially, while secretly hating them and what they stand for. The beginning was strong, the discussion and details of architectu...more
This was on someone-or-other's list of “best books of the year.” I think it was a writer that I very much like, so I trusted their recommendation.

It is a novel with fairly well-developed characters. Our protagonist is an architect in Paris (hence the not-too-creative-title) in 1942. He designs buildings for the Nazis and also designs hiding places in Paris apartments for Jewish people who can pay for them. The story begins when he is helping to hide the Jews only for payment, but as things happ...more
Jean-Paul Adriaansen
This is a book you won't have to reread because you'll remember it for a very long time.
Lucien Bernard, an unemployed architect during the German occupation of Paris, gets a big financial offer if he can create the perfect hiding spot for a Jewish fugitive. Although he is not particularly fond of Jews, he accepts the order. His employer brings him in contact with the German HQ and very soon Lucien is a rising star among the Paris architects by planning German war factories. But everything has it...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
There is a constant stream of novels written about the Jewish experience during World War II - a time that continues to both enthral and terrify us. It is of immense importance to keep the past alive through personal, human stories, in the hopes that we will be better prepared, better able to spot such atrocities today and in the future. Sadly we've seen that this is a nice theory that doesn't play out; however it's important to keep trying.

One area of WWII that is less explored but equally impo...more
Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading)
I started The Paris Architect not knowing if I'd like the book enough to keep reading it. The summary didn't wow me and I'm not usually a fan of a male main character. But, I ended up loving this book! I was completely drawn in by the story, the characterization, and the intensity of the characters' situation.

I've read several fiction books set in the WWII time period, and I have loved each one more than the last. From Sarah's Key, to The Book Thief, to Prisoner B-3087, and now The Paris Archite...more
3.0 out of 5 stars - Would you risk your life for a stranger?

In this novel, set in Paris during the 1942 Nazi occupation of the "city of light", architect Lucien Bernard is faced with that very question. He is a gentile in a world turned upside down as Jews and others who displease the Reich are rounded up, tortured, and killed for almost any perceived transgression against the German war machine. Lucien loves designing modern buildings, his wine, and his mistress -- he has no interest in becomi...more
A lot of WWII-related historical fiction has come out lately, but the Paris Architect offers a new perspective. I thought it was a fresh and intriguing idea to tell a story from the perspective of an architect who designs places to hide Jewish people trapped in Vichy France. Belfoure does a good job of exploring the everyday lives of French citizens during German occupation--the fear, the paranoia, and the impossible choices that had to be made.

Although Lucien does not start out as a very admir...more
I really struggled with how to rate this book.

On the one hand, I've read a ton of WW2 fiction and I loved how this presented a different perspective. The story was engaging and suspenseful, and in some passages so realistic that I felt sick to my stomach.

On the other hand, I really struggled with the narrative voice. Something about it just kept popping me out of the story. I also felt like Lucien's changes of heart and growth were not well explained - not so much growth as just a sudden unexpla...more
Ampersand Canada's Book & Gift Agency Inc
I have to say I read this book in 2 days (and it isn’t a short book). The story gripped me right from the start and it was great to see the changes in the eponymous main character. Lucien Bernard is a struggling architect in Paris during WWII and is asked by a client to devise a hidden hiding place that could hold a person. He realizes that it is probably for a Jew (he has ambivalent feelings about Jews) but he needs the money so he does it. As the book goes along Lucien comes to realize that he...more
Dottie Resnick
I had heard about this book and it sounded fascinating, so I searched for it. What a phenomenal read. Having always been a lover of 'spy stuff" (my husband and I try to pick out the spies in airports, train stations, etc) now I will forever be looking at buildings differently, trying to find hiding places! This book goes way beyond hiding spaces though, the characters develop in front of your eyes, becoming more complex, interesting, genuine and intriguing. I was pleased that it showed the good...more
Ariel Uppstrom
As a lover of Holocaust and WWII era novels, I greatly enjoyed this one. The story follows Lucien, an architect struggling to find work during the war in Paris. He is approached by a very rich man and asked to build secret hiding places in apartments around the city and countryside in which to hide Jews until they can be taken out of the country. In exchange, he is given the chance to design factories for the businessman that will be used by the Nazis. Though he initially fights getting too invo...more
I wish I could give it 5 stars but, while the story line is great, the author's technical skills don't live up to the promise.

Lucien is a thirty-something modernist architect (think Gropius or Le Corbusier) in 1942 Paris, France. Like others of his skill-set, Lucien is struggling financially. His marriage is childless and crumbling as well. Into his life walks uber-wealthy industrialist Auguste Manet with an offer. Build Manet a "priest hole" (an undiscoverable hiding place)in an apartment for a...more
Amy Hustead
Lengthier review to follow. I finally have finished this fantastic read and am left feeling as if I've just said good bye to great friends! What a wonderful read, literally had me hooked from the first chapter and held my interest throughout.
Andrea Rapp
Not the greatest literature perhaps, but a page turner; a novel twist for a Holocaust book, this one featuring an architect in Nazi-occupied Paris who is offered a commission to design a perfect hiding place in a home--one that the most ardent German searchers cannot find. Although it puts his life in danger, he takes the offer--the money was most generous-- and this sets him out on his life-altering, values-altering endeavor.
Thanks to Rachel Kamin for telling me about it at a convention.
If you...more
A good weekend read that you won't regret! Wonderfully written.
A friend gave me this book as a New Year present. She was kinda of speechless and did not know how to describe it. She said she could not understand all the prejudices and obscenities and horrors within the book. She is an academic and has a gentle soul, (that's why she's my friend). After I read it though, I understand what she meant. I was frustrated and was gritting my teeth when I read the opening pages. But what can you do about the spewing obscenities and a boot-licking, money-seeking main...more
The review on the front of this book says "I dreamed about this book." I didn't have any dreams about it, but every time I left it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Lucien Bernard isn't particularly likable when the book begins- as a struggling architect during wartime, he accepts the job of designing clever hiding places for Parisian Jews only for the money, not because it saves lives. His motivations eventually change when the secret job becomes more personal. It's suspenseful and fascinatin...more
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Charles Belfoure is a writer and an architect who lives in Maryland.
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“think how the world would’ve turned out if Hitler had gotten into art school, thought Lucien.” 0 likes
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