This is a true insider's view of the most elegant houses of Paris, home of the rich and famous generally seen here for the first time.
No one could have better access than author Christiane De Nicolai-Mazery, whose family own one of the most beautiful medieval castles in France as well as a magnificent townhouse included in this extravagant book.
We are taken into a world of luxury and refinement beyond imagination: butlers setting a table for sixty in Baron Guy de Rothschild's palace, considered the grandest private house in France.
Or a summer's day on the edge of Hubert de Givenchy's left-bank garden, where a table of six is set in eighteenth-century silver and porcelain.
Visit the British Embassy, which still retains the decor and furniture of its erstwhile owner Paolina Borghese, sister of Napoleon.
Tour the history-filled apartment of the Permanent Secretary to the French Academy.
In some cases, the owners have refused to be identified, but that does not detract from the elegance of their interiors, the superb presentation of their food, or the fascinating descriptions of those who preceded them - including Madame de Stael, Proust's hero the Comtesse de Greffuhle, and a parade of now-departed bewigged grandees.
There have been other highly successful books on the great houses of Paris, but nothing this sumptuous or exclusive.
This volume will seduce every Francophile, society watcher, and Paris lover, not to mention every decorator and party giver.
Christiane de Nicolai-Mazery [text] and Jean-Bernard Naudin [photographs]
The Vendome Press