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Paris in the Middle Ages (The Middle Ages Series) Hardcover – March 31, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: The Middle Ages Series
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812241592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812241594
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,784,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Simone Roux's new history of medieval Paris, beautifully translated by Jo Ann McNamara . . . goes far beyond cold administrative mechanics or economics, and digs down into the attitudes of workaday life. It is this anecdotal material that gives the book its human edge—too often absent from a period lacking in diaries and private letters."—TLS

"One feels the city in constant motion, going from funeral to carnival, wading along streets drenched with the blood of animals flayed by butchers, applauding jongleurs and their monkeys, even watching the legal trials of beasts condemned to death."—Le Nouvel Observateur, in a review of the French edition

"A wonderful and useful book for anyone who wants to know the history of the city from the inside."—H-Net

About the Author

Simone Roux is Professor of History Emerita at University of Paris-X, Nantes. Jo Ann McNamara was Professor of History at Hunter College, City University of New York. She was the author of Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trent P. McDonald on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book about life in Paris in the late Middle Ages giving a good view of how people lived during the time covered, which is roughly from the early 13th century to the end of the 15th. This isn't a narrative - it doesn't tell the history of the city in chronological order. It is more about how the people lived and how that changed through this time period. It's about the kaleidescope of life in a major (the major?) medieval city.

The book begins with an overview of Paris and how the streets and neighborhoods developed in the newly walled city. From there it went into various aspects of the lives of the people. There was a chapter for each of the 3 major power structures/hierarchies - based on money, religion and political power. It ended with a section on the nitty-gritty of daily life.

This book tried to talk about common people as much as possible. Unfortunately there are few sources so the various scraps of information we do know had to be compared with what we know about the rich and politically powerful, which really isn't very much either. Various records are cited and stories related to help us gain a better understanding.

I really enjoyed this book and got a lot out of it. One word of warning, though - you should have some background knowledge of the history of Paris, or at least France, during this period. This book assumes you already know the context, the broader story, the big canvas upon which these lives are painted. Events are often mentioned but only to give those with knowledge about them some context for what is being said.

If you are interested in how people really lived in Paris in the late Middle ages there is no better place to start than this book.
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