The French Riviera: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)
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The French Riviera: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination)

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The French Riviera conjures up images of yachts on an azure blue sea; the dark green of pines and swaying palms; sports cars on the Corniche roads; the Monte Carlo casino and the Cannes film festival. But as Julian Hale reveals in this fascinating volume, there is another Riviera. Above Monaco towers a ruined reminder of Roman power, the Emperor Augustus' Trophy of the Alps. Monuments to Napoleon and Maginot Line forts testify to turbulent times, while statues and gravestones recall the belle Epoque. Churches and chapels along the coast and in the inland villages contain pictorial and architectural treasures from the Brea family during the Renaissance to Picasso and Matisse in the twentieth century. If the Riviera has had its critics-Somerset Maugham famously called it "a sunny place for shady people"-it remains the epitome of glamour. Julian Hale reveals how a piece of rugged inaccessible coastline was transformed into a byword for luxury and hedonism-but always with a special beauty of its own.

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