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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The Invention of Paris is a tour through the streets and history of the French capital under the guidance of radical Parisian author and publisher Eric Hazan.

Hazan reveals a city whose squares echo with the riots, rebellions and revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Combining the raconteur’s ear for a story with a historian’s command of the facts, he intr
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 6th 2011 by Verso (first published September 21st 2002)
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An intricate, detailed journey through the space and time of Paris. For Hazan, there's not much in the way of accordionists and la belle époque and all the ooh-la-la bullshit. It's more bloodied walls, barricades, faubourg slums, Blanqui, the communards, Baudelaire in his gloom. Which was, of course, the Paris I romanticized in my early twenties, when I thought I would have been at my happiest gleefully spraypainting situationist slogans on Latin Quarter walls. A bit older, a lot soberer, I can ...more
Randall Sellers
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paris
Highly recommended for urban studies enthusiasts and footnote fetishists who have a working knowledge of Paris or a desire to acquire said knowledge. Have a good map of the city handy when you embark on this erudite voyage.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish. The first part is far too detailed to be of much interest, the second flits around the periods and relies on a strong basis of knowledge of all the 19th century revolutions and the occupation in the 1940s, and the third is just dull. One for the completist Parisophiles
Feb 21, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Piper Martin. Learn more about Piper on the ACRL Insider Blog.
Lee McAulay
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As I read through the first section, I wanted to visit Paris and see for myself the places the author describes.
As I read through the second section, I wanted to move to Paris and live there for a month, doing nothing but wander the streets with the book in my hand, following the author's narrative.
By the end of the book, I realised that I'd have to live until I was 100 - and move to Paris tomorrow, never to leave - to fully explore the city and its history, culture, geography, mythology, people
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, paris
Knap werk, vooral door de belezenheid van de auteur; het boek is doorspekt met citaten uit vooral 19de eeuwse Franse klassiekers. In die zin brengt Hazan Parijs zeker tot leven, als een stad waar voortdurend en soms radicaal, niets ontziend aan getimmerd is. Naar mijn smaak ligt er net iets teveel melancholie naar het vroegere Parijs in, maar welk Parijs dan?, dat van de revoluties, dat van voor Haussmann, of dat van de jaren 50 van de twintigste eeuw (jeugdjaren van de auteur)? Ook als introduc ...more
May 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book will be most enjoyable if you have a comprehensive knowledge of Paris street layouts. I've lived in the city some years but still felt alienated. The trouble is just saying the names of the streets isn't really good enough if you don't tell the reader a story at the same time to orientate them. Plus I get a bit weary of endlessly hearing how cities lose their life because a certain area becomes more in demand. Or a cafe becomes unbearable because - heaven help us - 'ladies' who ...more
Nicky Reed
An impassioned account of how revolutions and uprisings, especially, colour Paris’ past and shade its present. The book gives a powerful overview of how forces of control, revolution and reaction have literally shaped Paris and influenced its topography and structures.
On a personal note the book reinforced how weak is my detailed grasp of French history.
Unless you have an impressive photographic/cartographic recall of Paris streets the book is probably best read with a decent map at your side.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Irresistible like a crême brûlée, it will make you want to book a trip to Paris tout de suite to see for yourself the incredible, beautiful, insane things it describes. It's primarily a book for hard-core Paris groupies. If you're not one yet, you will become one after reading it (there's a German translation, but I don't know if it is available in English).
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think that in order for this book to work one must have a significant background in Parisian arts, history, literature, and philosophy. A great undertaking and an excellent project for those with the knowledge.
Timothy Urban
This is no light read aimed at someone wanting a concise history of Paris. The quotes, casual references and throw-away tangental come thick and fast and unless you are familiar with every poet, writer and historical figure that has some association with the city, this book is very hard going.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is super; heady mix of history, literature, and geography, as well as a hefty later chapter less on the general theme of the book and more specifically about the history of street revolutions in Parisian history.
Guy Cranswick
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and really well researched. It's a tour of the city over time.
Justin Dirrenberger
Great book about Paris, especially the second part which deals with the social and political history of the city. A good knowledge of the city is mandatory to be able to enjoy the book.
Doris Raines
Nice. Book. Need. More. Detail's
Apr 22, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Another 'hidden histories of Paris' type of book. Verso put this out, and they usually do great books - so I am looking forward to this one.
Mary  Goodnight
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un livre sur l'histoire de Paris passionnant et foisonnant, engagé et éclairant. Indispensable pour tous les amoureux de la capitale.
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Robert  Baird
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Gracchus Babeuf
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Paul Abbott
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Gordon Saunders
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