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The Paris Architect

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  49,038 ratings  ·  4,795 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, 371 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Sourcebooks (first published October 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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RoseMary Achey
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
The only thing this book has going for it is a good premise. Seriously, I love historical fiction, character development in trying times, and moral quandaries. (Also, architecture! And plots set abroad!) I wasn't expecting anything high-brow, just a good, plot-driven escape. But. Let me count the ways that this book failed:

1. The writing is atrocious. No, really, it's clunky and the dialogue is about as stilted as you can get.
2. Most of the characters lack the motivation for the actions they ca
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dubray, ww2, favorites
Kept me engrossed from start to finish. A suspenseful and heart pounding read that is full of dislikable characters and yet they were interesting and believable.

This book was recommend to me by bookshop employee who knew I enjoyed non fiction books set during WWII. While this is a fiction story it doesn't really stray too far from the reality of wartime Paris and I thought it was convincing and clever.

Paris 1942, Architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him little acclaim
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, france, arts, ww2, hf
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
B the BookAddict
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: GR
Shelves: fiction, holocaust

While the method of illuding 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Robuck
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, historical
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
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
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

----Winston Churchill

Charles Belfoure, a national bestselling author, has penned a heart-touching as well as enlightening and nostalgic novel, The Paris Architect, that accounts the story of an architect based in Paris during the world war II when German have occupied the city and was ordering the Jews out of the city, when this normal regular, law-abiding architect chances upon a golden opportunity to prove his worth by taking life-threatenin
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a five star read for me, although the subject matter was at times disturbing. I liked the idea of an architect building hideaways for the Jewish people of Nazi occupied France. What really really drew me in was the cover of the little girl looking out.
Lucien Bernard is the architect in this historical fiction novel. He is driven by money that is all he cares about. He works with the Germans to design modern factories, while also building places for the Jewish people who live in fea
This is one of my favorite in the World War II / German Nazis Ridiculousness genre. That is saying a lot. Because I don't know if you have looked under the hanging "Literature" placard lately in the bookstore, but I swear one quarter of them has to do with World War II. Certainly a quarter under "Memoirs" fall under that category.

Anyhow, on to why. Thank God for a book that takes a unique approach to this. It is not a weeping, depressing, fishing for empathy concentration camp narration, nor is
Amy | littledevonnook
Aug 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
An interesting perspective on WW2 and an enjoyable read.

We follow Lucien, an architect living in Nazi-occupied Paris. A wealthy acquaintance of Lucien's commissions him for a secret job that could be fatal to the both of them. Lucien shows little interest in hiding Jews but with so much money on offer how can he resist? As time moves on Lucien begins to take satisfaction from outwitting the Nazi's and plans on making more elaborate hiding places for the helpless Jews. But how far will he go? Is
DNF at 33%.

From the very first pages, I knew this was unlikely to be a book that I would enjoy. Right off the bat, I just found the main character, Lucien, to be insufferable and the douchiest of douchebags. I dislike everything about him. Everything. And at this point, I am quite sure that he will come to see the error of his anti-semitic ways, but honestly, it is too little too late, and I couldn't care less about his "growth" to bare-minimum-level human. I don't expect to LOVE a main charact
It felt like the author wrote this at breakneck speed in about three weeks – the prose was crude, clunky and lacking in imagination and sophistication. The research stuck out like muddy footprints on a carpet. I couldn’t get beyond page 100.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dana Moison
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the story of Lucien Bernard, an architect who resides in occupied Paris during WWII. Lucien struggles to find a job and fights to stay afloat financially until he receives an offer he cannot refuse: use his skills as an architect to devise secret hiding places for Jewish people persecuted by the Nazis. In return, he will receive substantial sums of money and prestigious job hires. Lucien agrees despite the tremendous fears that come with this decision. As time passes by, the decision tha ...more
Carol Brill
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story balancing inhumanity and humanity set in Nazi-occupied France. Lucien Bernard is an ordinary man, driven to work for the Reich by his need to make a living and pride in his ability as an architect. His assignments present unexpected and dangerous opportunities to challenge his design imagination.
There are so many strengths in this novel, Lucien's character development as he takes risks he never suspected he is capable of, his surprising friendships with a German officer, Manet,
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
The Paris Architect $4.99 ebook sale has expanded to include NOOK, iBooks, Kobo and Amazon Kindle platforms
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Diane S ☔
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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 architecture a ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Lucien, an architect, is hired to design hiding places for Jews in occupied France during WWII. At the same time, he’s also designing factories for the Germans. The overriding attitude among the French toward the Jews wasn’t glossed over, nor was the moral dilemma facing the French people. Seeing the growth and transformation of Lucien gave the story depth, while the historical detail, setting, and well-developed characters made the story come to life.

The concept is an interesting one, but what
Jeanette Lewis
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lucien Bernard is just minding his own business walking along the street when he is almost bowled over by another man for which the first thing that comes to mind is the man's cologne, the same one he uses. As this happens there is a gunshot and the man falls to the ground. Even though the Nazis have occupied France for two years this is Lucien's first encounter with a killing. Frozen to the spot the shooter soldier starts having a go at him but to his amazement it's his suit that saves him with ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hist-fic-wwii
My Review: This was an impressive debut novel that hit all the major points that I love in a historical fiction read: vivid settings, wonderfully diverse, well-developed characters and a story line that was suspenseful and moved at a good pace. This book has officially gotten me out of my slight reading slump!

I'm an avid reader of WWII/Holocaust reads but this book surprised me by bringing a compelling premise to the table surrounding Lucien, the architect at the centre of the story who hid Jews
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Lucien is a douche. He lives for himself and only pursues things based on how they directly benefit him. When a high-risk commission lands in his lap that includes helping others, he finds himself in a bind. To be a douche, or not to be a douche, that is the question.

One word comes to mind when describing this book, predictable. From the moment I realized what the story was about (about a chapter or two in) I knew where it was headed. As each character was introduced, I knew instantly what k
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book read in conjunction with my book discussion group

Charles Belfoure's attention to detail, both architectural and historic, is fabulous. The story takes place in German occupied Paris during World War II. The architect, Lucien Bernard, ends up designing factories to make German armaments and hiding spaces inside homes and apartments for Jewish people on the run from the Gestapo. Bernard designs factories because he needs work and wants to use his creativity. He designs hiding spaces, at first
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
Amazing! This is not a literary masterpiece but I really enjoyed the story, characters and the pace. I loved how folks paths intersected to reveal unexpected outcomes. There was just enough build up and suspense to keep me anxiously waiting to see what happened next.

The shear hatred and brutality inflicted on the Jews during this time is sickening and it's never pleasant to read a story about Nazi occupied France. What I loved about Lucien is that his humanity eventually kicked in. A simple mat
Lewis Weinstein
Nov 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully crafted novel showing one man's transition from 'going along' with the Nazis occupying Paris to opposing them in a most unusual way. A moving story.

Belfoure's excellent novel provided frequent food for thought as I work on the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL which shows Berthold and Anna resisting Nazis from the inside of Reinhard Heydrich's terrifying secret police organization.
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Charles Belfoure is the New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect and House of Thieves. An architect by profession, he graduated from the Pratt Institute and Columbia University, and he taught at Pratt as well as Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. His area of specialty is historic preservation, and he has published several architectural histories, one of which won a Graham Foun ...more

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“think how the world would’ve turned out if Hitler had gotten into art school, thought Lucien.” 11 likes
“When all this madness is over, I hope we meet again,” said Lucien. “We will, I’m sure of it,” replied Herzog. “I never thought I’d ever say this to a German oppressor, but I’ll miss you. We made an odd team.” “That we did, my friend,” Herzog agreed.” 3 likes
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