Tory Historian returns

Posted by Tory Historian Sunday, June 29, 2008

The trip to Paris was very enjoyable, with plenty of excellent food and drink but also many long walks through Parisian arrondissements. In between all this activity the reading matter was a book by Professor Colin Jones, entitled "Paris - Biography of a City".

It is an excellent introduction to the history of this fascinating city and any comparison one might make with a "biography" of London gives one furiously to think as a certain Belgian detective used to say.

One interesting aspect of Professor Jones's book is the reminder that Parisian history has been fierce and violent throughout most of its existence. More so than that of London, whether one looks at the City or London as it expanded. There are many dark aspects to London's history but the almost continuous sequence of riots, revolutions and counter-revolutions, not to mention civil wars that fill Parisian history since the early middle ages far overwhelms our own peccadillos.

It is also worth recalling that Paris was often not just in opposition to the ruler or the many rulers but also in opposition to the rest of the country that occasionally took its revenge. For all of that, Henri IV was right: Paris was worth a Mass. or as "1066 and All That" has it: Paris is rather a mess.


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