Cover image for Paris between empires : monarchy and revolution, 1814-1852
Paris between empires : monarchy and revolution, 1814-1852
Mansel, Philip, 1951-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2003.

Physical Description:
ix, 559 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain by John Murray (Publishers) Ltd."--T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DC733 .M22 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Paris between 1814 and 1852 was the capital of Europe, a city of power and pleasure, a magnet for people of all nationalities that exerted an influence far beyond the reaches of France. Paris was the stage where the great conflicts of the age, between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, revolution and royalism, socialism and capitalism, atheism and Catholicism, were fought out before the audience of Europe. As Prince Metternich said: When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold. Not since imperial Rome has one city so dominated European life.

Paris Between Empires tells the story of this golden age, from the entry of the allies into Paris on March 31, 1814, after the defeat of Napoleon I, to the proclamation of his nephew Louis-Napoleon, as Napoleon III in the Hôtel de Ville on December 2, 1852. During those years, Paris, the seat of a new parliamentary government, was a truly cosmopolitan capital, home to Rossini, Heine, and Princess Lieven, as well as Berlioz, Chateaubriand, and Madame Recamier. Its salons were crowded with artisans and aristocrats from across Europe, attracted by the freedom from the political, social, and sexual restrictions that they endured at home.

This was a time, too, of political turbulence and dynastic intrigue, of violence on the streets, and women manipulating men and events from their salons. In describing it Philip Mansel draws on the unpublished letters and diaries of some of the city's leading figures and of the foreigners who flocked there, among them Lady Holland, two British ambassadors, Lords Stuart de Rothesay and Normanby, and Charles de Flahaut, lover of Napoleon's step-daughter Queen Hortense. This fascinating book shows that the European ideal was as alive in the nineteenth century as it is today.

Author Notes

Philip Mansel , who has lived and taught in Paris, is the author of, among other works, Louis XVIII, The Court of France 1789-1830, and Constantinople: City of the World's Desire 1453-1924. He coedited The French Emigres in Europe 1789-1814 , has written for numerous newspapers and periodicals, and is editor of the Court Historian , newsletter of the Society for Court Studies.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Closely examining the political and social life of Restoration Paris, Mansel keeps a frequently confusing scene in focus. The original French Revolution, and its Napoleonic succession, seemed overthrown for good with the return of Louis XVIII, but the king recognized that the ancien regime could not be wholly restored, especially since his own installation by the occupying Allies in 1815 was met with resentment from liberals, radicals, and Bonapartists. The tension between revolution and reaction, then, structures Mansel's narrative of the period, which he populates with the emigrenobles, journalists, and writers who flocked to the city and its salons, theaters, and art museums. This cast returned Paris to its ascendance in the cultural and sybaritic arts, while beneath the elite a proletariat formed, fated to be crushed in the 1848 revolution. Mansel affixes events to the particular streets, barricades, houses, or palaces where they occurred, and his image of the city, layered with contemporary commentary, shimmers with the skill of an author who knows Paris and this period to his fingertips. Fascinating fare for Francophiles. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

Historian Mansel (Louis XVIII) offers both the political and social history of Paris during the tumultuous period between Napoleon I and Napoleon III. The narrative begins in 1814, with the city in chaos at the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte and the celebratory welcoming back to the city of the Bourbon king Louis XVIII. Mansel shows us how Louis successfully navigated the unknown waters of constitutional monarchy. But the Bonapartist dreams of empire lived on. Indeed, the entire period covered by Mansel can be viewed as one long struggle between the contending ideologies of republicanism, royalism and Bonapartism, with revolution and restoration the period's dominant themes. The unpopular King Charles X was ousted by a republican revolution in July 1830 after he had suspended freedom of the press and dissolved the Chamber of Deputies. The July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe began with the promise of a "citizen-king" with republican ideals. Yet when faced with opposition in the press and in the streets, Louis-Philippe turned to repression. After several uprisings, a republican revolution came in February of 1848, and by the end of Mansel's skillful account, the Bonapartists have made a comeback. Louis-Napoleon was voted president of the republic in 1848, but by 1852 he'd become emperor Napoleon III. Into all this political history, Mansel weaves a large and vivid dose of social history: portrayals of how great men and women, from Victor Hugo to Chateaubriand, reacted to the major events of the day and sketches of Paris's theater scene, its rich literary culture, cafe society and salons. Mansel is especially adept at placing Paris's history within the context of wider European events. Illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Mansel, the author of a detailed and intelligent biography of Louis XVIII, has now written a scholarly study of Paris from the fall of Napoleon to the proclamation of Emperor Napoleon III. The period prior to the Franco-Prussian War was one of cultural flowering for Paris. Drawing from original sources such as journals, newspapers, and unpublished diaries and memoirs (there are over 100 pages of "Notes" and "Works Cited"), Mansel re-creates a time when Paris was the cultural capital of the world. Calling Paris in the period 1830-48 the "City of Ink," Mansel demonstrates the importance of journalists and writers to the political, social, and cultural life of the city and also covers the role of upper-class women, who influenced events through their husbands and salons. Equally important is Mansel's depiction of class warfare and the increasing chasm between rich and poor, which helps readers appreciate the ongoing struggle in France between revolution and royalism. This important addition to research and scholarly collections is highly recommended.-Herbert E. Shapiro, Empire State Coll./SUNY, Rochester (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.