This book evokes Paris from the MIddle Ages through the twentieth century by tracing sixteen exceptional women whose lives intersected with Paris in remarkable ways and whose eventual fame depended on the city itself. Their stories bring to life medieval culture, Enlightenment ideas, the court of Louis XiV, the chaos of the Revolution, the nineteenth-century art scene, and twentieth-century breakthroughs in science and fashion.
The sites associated with each of these women are located in the central parts of Paris that most visitors explore. When visiting Notre Dame, the reader will see the tragic figures of Abélard and Héloise in its shadows, and know to look for the enigmatic sculpture of Genevieve on the cathedral's facade. Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun's paintings in the Louvre and Camille Claudel's sculptures in the Rodin Museum will be all the more fascinating after readers have learned of the controversy they provoked.
Even those women whom most people thought they knew may prove surprising. Who would have guessed at the relation between Coco Chanel's convent-school origins and her fashions? What are we to make of Emilie du Chatelet's fame as Voltaire's mistress when he touts her as a "great man whose only fault was being a woman"?
“Of course I’ve heard of Marie Curie and Sarah Bernhardt who both appear in this book, but there are lots of other remarkable ladies who are new to me. Geneviève, for example…And Elisabeth Vigée le Brun…and Madame de Maintenon…I enjoyed reading their biographies and their connections with parts of Paris, particularly as each is illustrated with a contemporary portrait.” —Destination France
"Each of the chapters in this attractive little volume is devoted to an exceptional Parisienne, beginning with Genevieve—the city's patron saint—and ending with Simone de Beauvoir. All include biographical information and a list of sites to visit." —France Magazine
"Liscio uses the lives of 16 French women, from Genevieve, the fifth-century patron saint of Paris, to Simone de Beauvoir, to create an original and lively narrative on the cultural life of this great city. " —The Daily Telegraph
"This handsome and unusual little book by Lorraine Liscio offers a new perspective on Paris as seen through profiles of 16 women whose lives intersected with the City of Light in ways both remarkable and inspirational." —Chicago Tribune
"Subjects in this attractive little book range in time from the 5th-century Saint Genevieve to the 20th-century Simone de Beauvoir, and include women of letters, artists, scientists, a political activist, and Louis XIV's second wife, Madame de Maintenon. Each chapter includes an excellent mini-biography (often with quotes from the women themselves), colorful illustrations and a list of sites to visit...A perfect gift for lovers of Paris, it's also an intriguing guidebook for unique pilgrimages through the city." --Vivian Thomas, France Today