As a child, Diane Johnson was in love with Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, the story of the 17-century swashbuckling denizens of St. Germain-des-Pres, the famous area of Paris that sprang up in the ninth century around a large Benedictine abbey. Now, the bestselling author of Le Mariage and Le Divorce details both the history of this fascinating quarter and its unique daily life.
From her own perch in St. Germain, Johnson has discovered the houses and haunts of its many famous (and infamous) residents. It is these colorful characters and their stories that she describes in this delightful book, from the riveting tale of Reine Margot, whose 16th-century chapel dome Johnson views from her kitchen window to the postwar golden age of Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and other famous American expats. Best of all, we get an intimate view of this storied quarter through glimpses of Johnson's life there, her apartment and cat, neighbors and friends, the cafés and shops where she spends her time.
With her delicious imagination and wry, opinionated voice, Johnson's stories and ruminations bring this legendary quarter of Paris to life.
"Highly worthwhile and readable." Washington Post
"The best-selling author turns her hand to travel writing in an episodic, engaging evocation of Paris . Nothing is as wonderful as a trip to La Ville Lumière, but this is a good second choice." Kirkus