Paris hasn’t had the easiest of years in 2015 has it? As someone with a genuine love for this profound and inspiring city I found that by reading Vincent Mahé ‘750 Years in Paris’ helped to put recent tragic events into perspective as well as reminding me that the city of love can not be destroyed by hate. As a fan of graphic novels I was intrigued by the fact that despite telling the story over Paris over the last 750 years this book focusses on one single building and features no dialogue or narration whatsoever.
What it does do though is beautifully illustrate the evolution and transformation of Paris from the Knights templars returning from the crusades back in 1270 to the 4 million people who took to the streets in defence of freedom of speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre of 2015. Dates in between include the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the start of Hausmann’s dramatic renovation plans in 1848, the German occupation of 1943 and of course the student riots of 1968 as well as many more key events (including France ’98). A unique piece of art that works on several levels, being suitable for young kids studying European history as well as your hard-core historians, architecture geeks or complete francophiles like me who just appreciate having a really beautiful book to gaze lovingly into over a Pastis or two every once in a while.
Buy a copy here.