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Chanel's Riviera

The Côte d’Azur in Peace and War, 1930-1944
Narrated by: Sophie Roberts
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Far from worrying about the onset of war, in the spring of 1938 the burning question on the French Riviera was whether one should curtsy 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 Dalí, 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 20th 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 prewar 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 lives of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2019 Anne de Courcy (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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Very detailed social history

The book is far more detailed than the title suggests: the accounts of the persecution of the Jewish people are heart wrenching as are the descriptions of the deprivations suffered by the population as all their fresh food was shipped off to Germany and they were left with little to eat and no clothes to wear. Chanel is a starting point for the book, but not a central person so, if you are hoping to find out more about her, this is not the book for you. However, it is a detailed, well written social history, as is typical of this author. I have heard all of Anne de Courcy's books on Audible and highly recommend each one.

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  • Ellen
  • 19-06-2019

Exceeded expectations

I really enjoyed this book my one and only complaint was the narration. Sophie Roberts voice improved as the story progressed and during extracts of first hand sources and recollections I found her accents to be very good, she brought warmth and emotion to the words. The text came alive but up to that point and in parts between I found her voice to be a monotonous drone that was flat and dull, sucking out all life from the book, it’s because the book was so good that my attention was held but at one point early on I almost gave in and stopped listening.
I am very pleased that I didn’t as she suddenly became much more animated and the book was over all very interesting and put across points of view I had not heard before.
Personally I do not like Coco Chanel, the book hasn’t changed my view of her but it has made her a more rounded figure. I definitely recommend despite the narration.