Once Upon a Time World: The Dark and Sparkling Story of the French Riviera (Hardback)Jonathan Miles (author)
From Coco Chanel to Cole Porter and Jean Paul Sartre to The Rolling Stones, Miles' deliciously gossipy and wickedly entertaining history of the French Riviera brings a tiny strip of coastline to glamorous life.
In 1835, Lord Brougham founded Cannes, introducing bathing and the manicured lawn to the wilds of the Mediterranean coast. Today, much of that shore has become a concrete mass from which escape is an exclusive dream. In the intervening years, the stretch of seaboard from the red mountains of the Esterel to the Italian border hosted a cultural phenomenon well in excess of its tiny size.
A mere handful of towns and resorts created by foreign visitors - notably English, Russian and American - attracted the talented, rich and famous as well as those who wanted to be. For nearly two centuries of creativity, luxury, excess, scandal, war and corruption, the dark and sparkling world of the Riviera was a temptation for everybody who was anybody. Often frivolous, it was also a potent cultural matrix that inspired the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Coco Chanel, Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, James Baldwin, Catherine Mansfield, the Rolling Stones, Sartre and Stravinsky.
In Once Upon a Time World, Jonathan Miles presents the remarkable story of the small strip of French coast that lured the world to its shores. It is a wild and unforgettable tale that follows the Riviera's transformation from paradise and wilderness to a pollution imperilled concrete jungle.
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 805 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 39 mm
'Jonathan Miles's evocation of the French Riviera is as fascinating in its historical sweep as its devotion to gossip and misbehaviour... Once Upon A Time World is a phenomenal work of research across hundreds of histories, biographies, memoirs and letters. It shifts with masterly control across a dozen arenas, from high art to low scandal, taking in fashion, sport, ballet and motor racing. It's utterly absorbing, indelicate to a shocking degree and I devoured every page of it.' - Sunday Times
'Jonathan Miles's entertaining history... corrals all the myths and legends into a bigger-picture mosaic... Miles writes in a rattling from-the-hip fashion, which only adds to the book's party atmosphere... the French Riviera emerges from this well-researched, enthusiastically shaped book as a constant temptation.' - Financial Times
'In this fabulous romp of a book, Jonathan Miles tells the story of how an 80-mile stretch of rocky shoreline from St Tropez in the west to Menton on the Italian border became history's first international playground for the rich and famous... Miles' hectic and choppy narrative gets this star-spotting mood perfectly.' - Mail on Sunday
'Entertaining and wide-ranging... effortlessly readable, Jonathan Miles's portrait of the sparkling but shady Cote d'Azur is complemented by a clutch of images gorgeous enough to grace a small guestroom on any Riviera oligarch's superyacht.' - Miranda Seymour
'Entertaining and comprehensive... seemingly all the people who made history passed through at some stage. Distant conflicts, revolutions and financial crises, as much as the oscillations of Paris fashion, all echoed on the Cote-D'Azur. Dr. Miles chronicles all this with a keen eye for piquant details.' - The Economist
'Miles' book, a chronicle of 'opulence, scandal, war and corruption', is crammed with hundreds of juicy anecdotes.' - Daily Mail
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