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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Places royales et faubourgs brumeux, enceintes, barricades et passages, c'est la trame serrée des quartiers parisiens qui organise cette déambulation proposée aux flâneurs des rues et des livres.

On y voit naître, au rythme des enceintes successives, l'éclairage public, l'enfermement des pauvres et des fous, le numérotage des maisons, les terrasses des cafés et la police de
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Verso (first published September 21st 2002)
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3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  138 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hazan takes the reader on a tour of Paris across time and space, blending psychogeography and history with great panache. I have a longstanding fondness for Paris and its revolutionary upheavals, so found this fascinating. Hazan’s narrative is dense with references and quotations, which reignited my interest in 19th century French literature. (I still haven’t read any Proust and hardly any Balzac, etc.) The book is structured in three parts, the first and longest a geographical tour of Paris Old ...more
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
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
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
Marina Bozzola
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Such a riveting theme, yet the text is not captivating. And to understand the book in its entirety and as it should be understood, one must know very well of Parisian history and geography. It is a book made for Parisians, and only those who have studied their city with passion.
Feb 21, 2017 added it
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
May 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: france, paris
Good work, especially because of the author's erudition; the book is interspersed with quotes from mainly 19th century French classics. In this sense, Hazan brings Paris to life, as a city that was always developing, sometimes in very radical ways. To my taste there is just a little too much melancholy in it, a longing for how Paris used to be. But which Paris?: the one of the revolutions, the one before Haussmann, or the one of the fifties of the twentieth century (youth years of the author)? A ...more
Nicky Reed
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Shelves: france
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
Fascinating and really well researched. It's a tour of the city over time.
Justin Dirrenberger
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nice. Book. Need. More. Detail's
Apr 22, 2010 is currently reading it
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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Aug 20, 2017
Robert  Baird
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Mar 15, 2013
Gracchus Babeuf
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Sep 13, 2013
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Sep 20, 2012
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Oct 17, 2011
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Dec 12, 2014
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Aug 12, 2012
Gordon Saunders
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Sep 26, 2017
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Jan 24, 2019
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