• by Edward Rutherfurd
  • Narrated by Jean Gilpin
  • 38 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the grand master of the historical novel comes a dazzling, epic portrait of the City of Light.
Internationally best-selling author Edward Rutherfurd has enchanted millions of readers with his sweeping, multigenerational dramas that illuminate the great achievements and travails throughout history. In this breathtaking saga of love, war, art, and intrigue, Rutherfurd has set his sights on the most magnificent city in the world: Paris.
Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalties, passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city - from the building of Notre Dame to the dangerous machinations of Cardinal Richlieu; from the glittering court of Versailles to the violence of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune; from the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the heyday of the impressionists, to the tragedy of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots to the Nazi occupation, the heroic efforts of the French Resistance, and the 1968 student revolt.
With his unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, Rutherfurd weaves an extraordinary narrative tapestry that captures all the glory of Paris. More richly detailed, more thrilling, and more romantic then anything Rutherfurd has written before, Paris: The Novel wonderfully illuminates hundreds of years in the City of Light and Love and brings the sights, scents, and tastes of Paris to sumptuous life.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Paris is always a good idea

When I bought Paris, I was skeptical - How do you fit millennia of history about one of the greatest cities in the world into forty hours? But with Rutherfurd’s other titles so beloved, I thought I’d give it an hour or two. Those two hours turned me into a believer.

Edward Rutherfurd illuminates pieces of Paris throughout her graceful aging – Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the student uprisings, even the Crusades – and builds a complete camera obscura through the lives of several protagonists: protagonists that I came to care more about in five pages than most authors can convince me to do in entire books.

It turns out what makes the history of a city so interesting is not the changing of the city itself, but the people who carve themselves into it, whether that be tradesmen building the Statue of Liberty or young men of noble lineage who do not deserve the great names bestowed upon them. Jean Gilpin is a smart narrator who never seems to talk down to you, despite any difficulty of the text, and I thoroughly enjoyed her brightening of the picture Rutherfurd has made for us. When you’re looking for something lush and enveloping to lose yourself in, Paris is always a good idea.
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- Erin - Audible

Rutherfurd's "Paris"--C'est très bien!

I have eagerly awaited this book for months--as I have been a great fan of Edward Rutherfurd's other books for many years! This one definitely does not disappoint in any way. It is written with the epic scope of all his other books, although he did not imaginatively stretch as far back in history as he has done with some others (and I did wonder why, since it would have been quite interesting to hear more about the Parisii tribe, which lent it's name to Paris).

The beauty of this book is that even while there is a train of stories of several families (interspersed with some actual historical people) who intertwine and provide continuity to the reader from the period of 1261 to 1968, it is Paris itself, who is always the main character in this book!

In his book "Sarum," Rutherfurd used the building of the Salisbury Cathedral--a magnificent tribute to God with it's soaring spire, as it exemplified the changing and developing religious values of England during that period as a background to his story. In "Paris," he uses the building of la Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) as the grounding point for the book. It seems to me that this tall structure (shocking to many when built), points to the changing times and mindset of the French people in the more modern Paris, moving away from traditional structures and ways of viewing the world. Throughout the book, Rutherfurd patiently creates the sense of strong tradition of social rules and expectations everywhere in French society. The building of this new sort of lofty tower (and his focus on the impressionist painters), both of which visibly break from everyone's expectations, seem to parallel the astonishing changes experienced by everyone as the old social structures and government begin to alter so radically in every way in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rutherfurd has done his usual masterful job of meticulous research, and it is often the tiny details that bring the reader directly into the city, feeling almost an inhabitant of the times he focuses on. The three main families who evolve through the book depict aristocrats, the bourgeoisie, and thieves who eventually turn into revolutionaries. It is typical of Rutherfurd to keep the same families in his books, which provides continuity for the reader who is moving through huge passages of history. Unlike other books, however, these families seem never to change in their social positions. However, Paris itself does move and change (or it feels that way) as the fortunes of the times (wars, religious disputes, changes of royal power, the shift to new kinds of government, etc) seem to create new ways of experiencing what it means to live in this great city.

The narrator has done a magnificent job--her ability to give varying voices to an enormous cast of characters is exceptional! Her voice quality is very engaging for the entire book. "Paris" is all that I had hoped for and more. I love Paris (the city)--and I could mentally see many of the places that were being focused on throughout the city. And I found that at times, I looked up some of the places (like Versailles, Montmartre, etc), on my tablet--to better visualize the parts of this magnificent story under focus, which made it almost like being back there again. I highly recommend this book! But give yourself plenty of time to listen to it, as it is quite long, and packed with so many details--that I am already planning to listen again (and again). Thank you Mr. Rutherfurd!
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- Kathi

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-23-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio