Book: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
Destination: Paris, France
It is hard for me to believe that I have never been to Paris. And yet, every time we start planning a trip to Europe, Greece exerts its magnet pull and I go there instead of the usual places that Americans head for in Europe.
But we ARE going. Next year, the agenda is Paris and environs and Switzerland (mostly Bernese Oberland). The Switzerland part is because Mr. Traveler’s ancestors ALL came from the area of Bern. The Paris part is because, well, it’s Paris.
Traveler’s Bro. recommended reading Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame–not to be confused with the Disney movie of the same name.
If the size of the book (I have the 1833 version) deters you, skip directly to Book 3. There Hugo teaches a class in writing description, along with a class in the history of Paris and a few lessons in art and architecture as well. He tells us how it looked in the early 19th century, and recreates earlier versions of the city. Because cities never sit still. They are always under construction to meet the latest fashion.
As usual, Traveler’s Bro. was right. Although a few things may have changed between 1833 and 2010—armed with The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, today’s traveler will be able to see beneath the present day to historic Paris.
Please give me suggestions for books that will enhance my trip to Paris. What about Monet? A book from modern Paris? Hemmingway? Suggestions, please.
Photo of Notre Dame by night by Brian Duffy, from Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.
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