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The Mistress of Paris: The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a…

von Catherine Hewitt

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813249,563 (3.61)2
"Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne was a celebrated nineteenth-century Parisian courtesan. She was painted by Manet and inspired Emile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel Nana. Her rumored affairs with Napoleon III and the future Edward VII kept gossip columns full. But her glamorous existence hid a dark secret: she was no Comtesse. She was born into abject poverty, raised on a squalid Paris backstreet; the lowest of the low. Yet she transformed herself into an enchantress who possessed a small fortune, three mansions, fabulous carriages, and art that drew the envy of connoisseurs across France and Europe. A consummate show-woman, she ensured that her life--and even her death--remained shrouded in just enough mystery to keep her audience hungry for more. Catherine Hewitt's biography, The Mistress of Paris, tells the forgotten story of a remarkable French woman who, though her roots were lowly, never stopped aiming high."--Provided by publisher.… (mehr)

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I had never heard of Valtesse de la Bigne before this book, but I do enjoy a good story about a Parisian lady who rises the social ladder while also stirring up plenty of scandal. This book made for fun reading and I appreciated how the author delved into details about life in 19th-century France, art, the theater, and the etiquette of a British tea to flesh out Valtesse's story. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in 19th-century Paris and who doesn't mind a scandalous lady. ( )
1 abstimmen wagner.sarah35 | Apr 29, 2017 |
2/5/2017 8:11 AM Recommended in times article on Paris books.
  ntgntg | Feb 5, 2017 |
A riveting biography of an amazing woman. The 1880/1890's were described in delightful detail as were the well researched goings-on of a courtesan; her lovers, clothes, villas, art and entertainments ("19th century Paris in all is hedonistic glory"). ( )
  siri51 | Jan 29, 2016 |
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"Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne was a celebrated nineteenth-century Parisian courtesan. She was painted by Manet and inspired Emile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel Nana. Her rumored affairs with Napoleon III and the future Edward VII kept gossip columns full. But her glamorous existence hid a dark secret: she was no Comtesse. She was born into abject poverty, raised on a squalid Paris backstreet; the lowest of the low. Yet she transformed herself into an enchantress who possessed a small fortune, three mansions, fabulous carriages, and art that drew the envy of connoisseurs across France and Europe. A consummate show-woman, she ensured that her life--and even her death--remained shrouded in just enough mystery to keep her audience hungry for more. Catherine Hewitt's biography, The Mistress of Paris, tells the forgotten story of a remarkable French woman who, though her roots were lowly, never stopped aiming high."--Provided by publisher.

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