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The other Paris by Luc Sante
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The other Paris (edition 2015)

by Luc Sante

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217589,896 (3.79)1
"A vivid investigation into the seamy underside of nineteenth and twentieth century Paris"-- "A trip through Paris as it will never be again--dark and dank and poor and slapdash and truly bohemian Paris, the City of Light. The city of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, of soft cheese and fresh baguettes. Or so tourist brochures would have you believe. In The Other Paris, Luc Sante reveals the city's hidden past, its seamy underside--one populated by working and criminal classes that, though virtually extinct today, have shaped Paris over the past two centuries. Drawing on testimony from a great range of witnesses--from Balzac and Hugo to assorted boulevardiers, rabble-rousers, and tramps--Sante, whose thorough research is matched only by the vividness of his narration, takes the reader on a whirlwind tour. Richly illustrated with more than three hundred images, The Other Paris scuttles through the knotted streets of pre-Haussmann Paris; through the improvised accommodations of the original bohemians; through the massive garbage dump at Montfaucon, active until 1849, in which, 'at any given time the carcasses of 12,000 horses were left to rot.' A wildly lively survey of labor conditions, prostitution, drinking, crime, and popular entertainment, of the reporters, realiste singers, pamphleteers, and poets who chronicled their evolution, The Other Paris is a book meant to upend the story of the French capital, to reclaim the city from the bon vivants and the speculators, and to hold a light to the works and days of the forgotten poor"--… (more)
Member:TylerWeeks
Title:The other Paris
Authors:Luc Sante
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
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The Other Paris by Luc Sante

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I thought that this would be another picture book, like his NY volume, but it isn't. Sante has clearly done a ton of research
on Paris and it is all here, from the battles for the city to the growth of huge enterprises. I thank he has some excellent points: one, the French are as racist and class haunted as anybody, and it is why America is the way it is, because we are made up of primarily European garbage. No one who had any reason to stay came to the US. Two: the city will have to change if it is to
become attractive again, at least to people of modest means. This city, like NY, is becoming a place for the rich and no one cares about this. One of the few books I have read that are actually easier to read at the end than at the beginning, ( )
  annbury | Jul 3, 2016 |
A fascinating account of the Paris that is not that well documented, covering prostitutes, criminals and other characters frequenting the seamier side of this lovely (on the surface) city!
An eye opener!
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Faber and Faber via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review. ( )
  Welsh_eileen2 | Jan 23, 2016 |
The Other Paris

As a historian I love social history and cities as it means we can be surrounded with historic themes that mean we can dig down and get our teeth in to something meaty. In The Other Paris, Luc Sante has written what can be considered a wonderful essay illustrated by some wonderful pictures and illustrations. Here Sante looks at the rougher edges of Paris rather than the refined Paris that is often portrayed in books and on film.

This is a wonderfully rich book, well written and researched written so it evokes the past harder edges of Paris that are now disappearing. This is no romantic view of the French capital, this lifts up those stones people would rather not let you disturb. This Paris is a city packed to the seams, seedy, criminal and alive, a city where hard knocks are just round the corner or up that alley now gone.

One has to remember Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities, where he describes the deprivation, the slums, people living on top of each other. The social deprivation the poor and the marginalised some of the strange trades that poor Parisians undertook, who has ever heard of an indoor goat farmer?

One thing that connects all the classes of Paris are the brothels, and Sante discusses the various refinements not forgetting the brothel for priests on rue Saint-Sulpice. Sante talks about the women who work in the brothels and is fascinated by them; especially as well as being a hard life it could also be quite revealing life of the dark heart of Paris.

One can see why Sante has examined the Other Paris, as the monied Paris of old is the same today as it ever was. In those parts of Paris the money and power has never left, the bistros and cafes are the same as they have always been. It must be remembered that the Gestapo and SS were based on the richer side of Paris during the occupation years, clearly not wanting to provoke the poor too much.

The Other Paris is part historical discourse and part a long lost travelogue, a love letter to a lost part of the City that is disappearing fast. One has to remember that with property prices and redevelopment work the poor are being moved from the centre out to the edges of Paris so they are no longer shoulder to shoulder with the rich. The modern Paris is for the rich and connected and the poor watch from outside rather like a Polo Mint. Sante notes that yes the poor Paris lived in poorly built buildings, but now there are endlessly bad buildings being thrown up around central Paris.

This is truly a wonderful book, not quite a love letter of the lost, but a reminder that you can try and forget the poor but they are there and part of Paris’ rich heritage. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Dec 8, 2015 |
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"A vivid investigation into the seamy underside of nineteenth and twentieth century Paris"-- "A trip through Paris as it will never be again--dark and dank and poor and slapdash and truly bohemian Paris, the City of Light. The city of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, of soft cheese and fresh baguettes. Or so tourist brochures would have you believe. In The Other Paris, Luc Sante reveals the city's hidden past, its seamy underside--one populated by working and criminal classes that, though virtually extinct today, have shaped Paris over the past two centuries. Drawing on testimony from a great range of witnesses--from Balzac and Hugo to assorted boulevardiers, rabble-rousers, and tramps--Sante, whose thorough research is matched only by the vividness of his narration, takes the reader on a whirlwind tour. Richly illustrated with more than three hundred images, The Other Paris scuttles through the knotted streets of pre-Haussmann Paris; through the improvised accommodations of the original bohemians; through the massive garbage dump at Montfaucon, active until 1849, in which, 'at any given time the carcasses of 12,000 horses were left to rot.' A wildly lively survey of labor conditions, prostitution, drinking, crime, and popular entertainment, of the reporters, realiste singers, pamphleteers, and poets who chronicled their evolution, The Other Paris is a book meant to upend the story of the French capital, to reclaim the city from the bon vivants and the speculators, and to hold a light to the works and days of the forgotten poor"--

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