"Paris Deluxe: Place Vendome"

Whenever the rich and famous are in Paris, they head for the city's most beautiful square, the Place Vendome, and the two elegant streets leading to it-- the Rue de la Paix and the Rue de Castiglione.

In this delightful book, a veritable paean to conspicuous consumption, Alexis Gregory reconstructs a wonderfully rich and varied tapestry of the changing life of the Place Vendome, originally conceived by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, first architect to the Sun King Louis XIV, as a tribute to the monarch.

In text and photographs, Paris Deluxe traces the history of the Place Vendome, from the square's beginnings as a high-risk property speculation, to its life in the twentieth century as Paris's center of fashion, jewelry, high finance, and art, a playground for international society that converges at the Paris Ritz, undoubtedly still the most elegant, expensive, and comfortable hotel in the world.

The cast of extraordinary personalities who have left their marks on the square covers the spectrum from fashion and jewelry-- names like Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Frederic Worth, Cartier, Boucheron-- to financiers J.P. Morgan and John Law, and every prominent name in art and high society-- Edward, Prince of Wales, the Vanderbilts, Baroness Guy de Rothschild, Lillie Langtry, Rene Lalique and the Crozats, whose art collection was bought by Diderot for Catherine the Great.

The presence of tycoons and crooks, dealers and collectors, couturiers and fashion plates, jewelers and their royal clients, politicians, Russian Grand Dukes, Indian Maharajas, and celebrities from movie stars to Ernest Hemingway has lent the Place Vendome an ineffable aura.

This luxuriously illustrated and evocatively written book will be cherished by every sybarite, francophile, and person of fashion.

Alexis Gregory


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