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Napoleon's Paris (Paperback)

A Guide to the Napoleonic Sites of the Consulate and First French Empire 1799–1815

Napoleonic Military

By David Buttery
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 70 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526749475
Published: 28th July 2020


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Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most influential rulers in European history. Renowned as a military commander, he was also a great statesman, administrator, lawmaker and builder – and his civic achievements outlived and arguably eclipsed his victories on the battlefield. Yet while there are a host of biographies and studies of his military and political career, few books have been written about his connections with Paris, the capital of his empire, where many remarkable buildings and monuments date from his time in power. That is why David Buttery’s highly illustrated guidebook to Napoleon’s Paris is such a timely and valuable addition to the literature designed for visitors to the city.

Many of the most famous sites in the city were built or enhanced on Napoleon’s instructions or are closely associated with him and with the period of the First French Empire – the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Hôtel des Invalides, Musée de l'Armée, Notre Dame Cathedral, Père-Lachaise Cemetery among them. David Buttery’s guide covers them all in evocative detail. His work is essential reading for every visitor to Paris who is keen to gain an insight into the influence of Napoleon on the city and the tumultuous period in French history in which he was the dominant figure.

For anyone interested in the history of the period, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book, equally, for anyone who has little knowledge of this period – as the author says in the introduction, “it is always dangerous to assume knowledge so this book is designed to cater for various levels of interest in Napoleon”. – give it a read, I think you’ll be richer for it – if nothing else, there’s lots of ‘pub quiz’, or more likely these days ‘Zoom quiz’ winning material hidden within.

I visited Paris as a child, this book has given me the enthusiasm to go there again, this time with a much better depth of knowledge. It has also given me an appetite to search out more works by the author, I was aware of him previously but somehow never read any of his books, given my Father’s interest in the period he covers – I’m not sure why!

Highly recommended 5/5

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

David Buttery's superb guide is as useful now as it would have been at the time these magnificent edifices were being erected.

Books Monthly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Being genuinely interested in the Napoleonic times and loving Paris, this book has been a real treat for me. It's informative and interesting while it also provides loads of useful information. The balance of text and illustration is perfect, too.

NetGalley, Flora Korompai

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well-researched guidebook. Definitely for someone with a basic familiarity with both Napoleon and Paris, but provided a nice overview of points of interest and some less travelled attractions (I specifically enjoyed the section on Pere Lachaise).

NetGalley, Kathleen Coleman

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Many times, Mr. Buttery refers to this book as a "guidebook" but it is so much more than that. Reading this book and searching for images of places, people, and objects mentioned, I feel like I've had a fully-guided tour of Paris and gained a great deal of knowledge about its history. Everything you could want to know is included (the length of the index tells you all you need to know) both before and during a trip to Paris. If I ever manage to get to France again, I will be bringing this book with me.

NetGalley, Dawn Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is more than a book. Buttery gives us a deeply humane and expansive look at Paris through places connected with Napoleon. But it's not just Napoleon, nor just his time. The interweaving of place, events, culture and lives lived, makes this a permanent reference of how a world develops and reaches across generations. Paris, Napoleon, France, wars, and how we relate to them and their significance is not singular. Buttery is a companion as we understand those relationships. A marvelous book, full of marvel. I would recommend this book to anyone.

NetGalley, Willy Marz

This book opened my eyes a bit more to what I've been missing. It was really good, and the authors perspective on the subject really came through. I highly recommend!

NetGalley, Alicia Goeser

I wish that I had this with me on my last trip to Paris, the book is a handy size to fit in your pocket and comes with some really great maps. I particularly liked the section on Père Lachaise Cemetery showing the whereabouts of the Marshalls. Richly illustrated with loads of facts and information as I have said in the title a must have.
Vic Powell
Portsmouth Napoleonic Society

Vic Powell

This is quite simply a superb guide to the places in Paris associated with Napoleon. It is history, geography and insight, coupled with excellent maps and images to ensure a full and meaningful visit to Paris. All I have to do is convince my wife that a visit to Les Invalides and Pere Lachaise is a necessary part of a romantic weekend!

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 David Buttery

About David Buttery

David Buttery has established a reputation as a leading historian of nineteenth-century British military history. He has made a particular study of the Napoleonic and Crimean wars. He has worked in newspapers and museums and has published extensively in many of the leading military history periodicals including the Victorian Military Society's journal, The Leicestershire Chronicle and Military Illustrated. His most recent books are Wellington Against Massena: The Third Invasion of Portugal 1810-1811, Messenger of Death: Captain Nolan and the Charge of the Light Brigade, Wellington Against Junot: The First Invasion of Portugal 1807-1808 and the Waterloo Battlefield Guide.

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