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Modern St.-Germain is lively and prosperous, and fifty years ago its heady mix of jazz and existentialism defined urbane cool, but Johnson takes a longer view. "Beside the shades of Jean-Paul Sartre and Edith Piaf," she writes, "there is another crowd of resident ghosts... misty figures in plumed hats whose fortunes and passions were enacted among these beautiful, imposing buildings." From her kitchen window, she looks out on a chapel begun by Reine Margot, wife of Henri IV; nearby streets are haunted by the shades of two sinister cardinals, Mazarin and Richelieu, as well as four famed queens and at least five kings. Delacroix, Corot, Ingres, David, and Manet all lived in St.-Germain; Oscar Wilde died there; and everybody who was anybody visited sooner or later.
With her delicious imagination and wry, opinionated voice, Diane Johnson makes a companionable and fascinating guide to a classic neighborhood as cosmopolitan as it is quintessentially French.
Buy Into A Paris Quartier Reine Margot's Chapel and Other Haunts of St. Germain by Diane Johnson from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
Book DetailsISBN: 9780792272663
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