24 March, 2014

Paris to the Past; travelling through French history by Train by Ina Caro [Elizabeth, Highland Park Library]

Image for Paris to the Past : Traveling Through French History by TrainThis interesting, informative and enjoyable book is perfect for anyone planning a holiday in France and Paris in particular, for armchair travellers and for history buffs.

For several years Ina Caro and her husband have spent a month each year travelling in France, with a particular focus on history. This book recounts a holiday in which most of their expeditions were day trips from Paris, or in Paris, and all using trains to reach their destinations. The chronology of their trips is historical and the chapter headings will give you a good idea of their content: The Middle Ages: Cathedrals and Fortresses; The Renaissance: Cities and Castles; The Age of Louis X1V: Seventeenth Century France; The Coming of The French Revolution: Paris in the Eighteenth Century; The Empire and Restoration: The Bourgeois Century.

The dust jacket information states that Ina Caro "is an authority on medieval and modern French history" and she certainly writes about it with an ease and a light touch that make reading this book a pleasure. Her commentaries on each destination include information on key personalities, historical events, architecture and what train to take and the chronological arrangement illustrates the progress of history and architecture.

My only criticism is that there is no table of French rulers to refer to when you are trying to memorise the sequence of Philippes, Louis' and Henrys (the author uses the English spelling). Auckland Libraries has an earlier travel book by Ina Caro, Road from the Past; Travelling through the History of France by Train, which covers destinations from Provence to Paris in a similar chronological order.

Title: Paris to the Past: Travelling through French History by Train
Author: Ina Caro
ISBN: 9780393078947 (hardcover)
Publication date: 2011
Publisher: W.W. Norton

- Elizabeth, Highland Park Library

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