Anne De Courcy
Far from worrying about the onset of war, in the spring of 1938 the burning question on the French Riviera was whether one should curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor. Few of those who had settled there thought much about what was going on in the rest of Europe. It was a golden, glamorous life, far removed from politics or conflict.
Featuring a sparkling cast of artists, writers and historical figures including Winston Churchill, Daisy Fellowes, Salvador Dali, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Eileen Gray and Edith Wharton, with the enigmatic Coco Chanel at its heart, CHANEL’S RIVIERA is a captivating account of a period that saw some of the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the whole of the twentieth century.
From Chanel’s first summer at her Roquebrune villa La Pausa (in the later years with her German lover) amid the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos in Antibes, Nice and Cannes to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during the Second World War, CHANEL’S RIVIERA explores the fascinating world of the Cote d’Azur elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Enriched with much original research, it is social history that brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.
Sparkling, anecdote-rich narrative -- Paula Byrne * THE TIMES * Fascinating ... By turns sunny and shady, this beautifully written book illuminates a harrowing and occasionally surreal episode in 20th-century French history -- Martin Williams * COUNTRY LIFE * De Courcy is very powerful on the fall of France - the sorrow and the pity ... De Courcy, in this gripping, rousing study, sees Chanel as a Marie Antoinette figure, simultaneously shrewd and other-worldly, protected by an armour of absolute self-interest. -- Roger Lewis * DAILY TELEGRAPH * Anne de Courcy's Chanel's Riviera gives us delicious gossip. France's leading designer was the epitome of chic. When she acquired a magnificent villa on the Cote d'Azur, the rich and famous - among them Jean Cocteau, H. G. Wells, Salvador Dali (and, after the abdication, the Windsors) - followed. They created a gilded and hedonistic world, which continued until the fall of France in 1940. -- A.W. Purdue * THES * A highly amusing guide to the shenanigans, foibles and affairs of the rich and famous at a time when it seemed anyone who was anyone spent weeks at a time on the Riviera ... De Courcy has dug deep into a rich seam of stories about the coastal region of France -- Anne Sebba * HISTORY TODAY * A well-researched and compelling story. Drawing on an immense volume of material, she has succeeded not only in constructing an intriguing portrait of Chanel herself but also in expertly conjuring the two very different worlds that then existed side by side -- Selina Hastings * LITERARY REVIEW * A riveting read about the best and very worst of times and at the heart of the story is the morally ambiguous (some may say morally bankrupt) Chanel herself. -- Sarra Manning * RED ONLINE * Providing insight into the occupation of France and its terrifying impact on rich and poor alike, you'll come away from reading it both better informed and utterly transported -- Francesca Brown * STYLIST magazine *
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