Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hotel on Place Vendome is the captivating history of Paris's world-famous Hotel Ritz--a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance--from Tilar J.Read more...
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Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hotel on Place Vendome is the captivating history of Paris's world-famous Hotel Ritz--a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance--from Tilar J. Mazzeo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5
When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, the legendary Hotel Ritz on the Place Vendome--an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risque flappers, playboys, and princes--was the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in the occupied city by order of Adolf Hitler.
Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin de siecle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendome is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the Hotel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann Goring, and home to exclusive patrons, including Coco Chanel. Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace's suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery.
Rich in detail, illustrated with black-and-white photos, The Hotel on Place Vendome is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France--and all of post-war Europe--was transformed.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-25
- Reviewer: Staff
The Paris Hôtel Ritz evokes 20th-century glamour, smoke-filled air, and hard-drinking patrons with names like Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, and Chanel. WWII, however, brought Nazis, adding to the odd mix of Allied spies posing as German officers, members of the Resistance, and ambitious American journalists desperate to score the next scoop. Mazzeo (The Secret of Chanel No. 5) enthrallingly depicts a hotbed of both the magnificent and the mundane, the careless carousing and deep-seated tensions that kept the hotel a primary meeting place for both Allied and Axis agents. While the book doesn’t deal directly in scenes of intrigue between key figures, its colorful vignettes reveal the hotel’s role in the unsuccessful Valkyrie operation and the struggles of Coco Chanel and a one-name French movie star to survive their “horizontal collaborations.” The stories of the hotel staff members who publicly served Hitler’s trusted officials while privately supporting the Resistance reveal particularly heroic undertakings. Readers will enjoy Mazzeo’s fascinating collection of secretive, scheming historical characters, all under one elegant roof. 19 b&w photos. (Mar.)