Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Paris Les Boulevards from Rizzoli

Paris Les Boulevards is a new book from Rizzoli publishing that is perfect for anyone with a love or fascination for that most famous of cities, Paris. Paris Les Boulevards is actually a reproduction of a 19th century book illustrated by Charles Franck, who meticulously recreated some of the most famous boulevards in the city. A copy of the original book was discovered by book collector Neale M. Albert in a bookstore; there are, in fact, only two known copies of the original book still in existence.

The new edition also contains some new informational text by Pamela Golbin in addition to the reproduced full illustrations that show the beauty of the boulevards of 19th century Paris.  Each illustration is exquisitely detailed, down to the windows of each building and the elegant horse drawn carriages and 19th century men and women strolling amidst the grandeur of old Paris. In her introduction, Golbin rightly describes the book as being "like a Google map from a bygone age."

This new edition of Paris Les Boulevards smartly recreates the unique gatefold binding of the original, which can be folded out to reveal a panoramic of the entire boulevard, giving a much fuller view of the long and illustrious Paris boulevards featured in the book.

I was a bit worried that the unfolding and refolding each section would be difficult, especially since the book is on the smaller side; however, I have re-read the book a few times since receiving it and have had no problems with the folding. This is a plus if you, like me, enjoy viewing the illustrations as full panoramas.

Paris Les Boulevards is a charming, interesting look at the boulevards of Paris in all their 19th century glory. I recommend this book for anyone with a love of Paris or an interest in 19th century French history. I would also recommend it for anyone with an interest in rare books and reproductions.

Paris Les Boulevards will be available from Rizzoli on March 31st, 2015.

[I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher.]

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