Bonjour, Paris! Our book of the month is The Paris Dressmaker and we’re touring the City of Light with award-winning historical fiction author Kristy Cambron. . .
Who wouldn’t love a jaunt to Paris in 2021? For we vintage-inspired story lovers, it doesn’t get more iconic than the City of Light. And while we plot and plan our next overseas adventures—when we can travel again for real—we can still fall in love with this storied city by traveling through the pages of a book.
Pack your umbrella, tuck in your très chic beret, and journey with me as we walk in the footsteps of characters from The Paris Dressmaker. Follow Lila de Laurent (our Paris Dressmaker), and Sandrine Paquet (our Parisienne version of “Monuments Men”) as their WWII story plays out in the streets of occupied Paris from 1939-1944. . . (And stick around to the end of this article for a fabulous Parisian surprise!)
TOUR STOP ONE: Boulevard Saint-Antoine No. 57
Our story opens as Lila de Laurent attends the 1 July, 1939 Circus Ball of socialite Elsie de Wolfe at her Versailles chateau grounds—an exclusive last hurrah for the Paris fashion elite before the world would slip into WWII. Step outside Paris to visit the Versailles garden grounds where names like Rothschilds, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Mary Pickford, and Vogue Magazine made up the guest list. And peek at the lavish gardens where Lila and René Touliard would have danced against the backdrop of Marie Antionette’s Petite Trianon.
TOUR STOP TWO: 31 Rue de Cambon
The Paris Chanel Salon has closed its doors and fashion workers Lila de Laurent and her friend, Amélie, are left without a job. As war looms and the world holds its breath, iconic fashion brands of Paris must soon fight to stay afloat as the city falls under the darkness of Nazi occupation. From couture gasmask bags and ultra-chic split skirts (for all those bicycle-riding Parisiennes) to the use of turbans to cover un-dyed coifs, fashion adapts to the growing desperation of war.
TOUR STOP THREE: 1 Place de la Concorde
Meanwhile, with an education in the fine arts, Sandrine Paquet finds herself plucked from her job as a bookshop manager in the Quartier Latin to being forced to work for the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg—or ERR, the Nazi organization for the cultural appropriation of stolen arts across the city. At the Jeu de Paume Galerie (at the Louvre Museum complex), she partners with real life French Resistance fighter Rose Valland to secretly track the Jewish stolen art of Paris and search for clues about her husband, Christian, who disappeared in the first months of the war.
TOUR STOP FOUR: 61 Boulevard de Clichy
A stone’s throw from the iconic Moulin Rouge windmill, visit the fictional Paris patisserie that becomes the secret French Resistance hideout for characters Lila, her lost love-turned-spy, René, and his British war correspondent associate, Nigel. While macarons, citron tartlettes, and pistachio galettes stock the display case, they must tread carefully to sell baked goods (and pass messages for the Resistance) while in a shop frequented by Nazi officers enjoying the Paris nightlife.
TOUR STOP FIVE: 7th Arrondissement
Will Lila and Sandrine’s paths ever cross in the city? Will Sandrine learn of her husband’s fate? And will Lila continue to dress Nazi officers’ wives by day and walk the tightrope of fighting for the French Resistance by night? Visit iconic locations such as the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier, the Gare de l’Est, the Louvre, The Ritz Paris, and even the catacombs. . . as the French people rise up and fight for liberation!
TOUR STOP SIX: The Kristy Cambron Experience Paris Tour (August 4-11, 2021)
What an incredible escape into the storied streets of Paris! Once you’ve read about the journeys of Lila and Sandrine through the war, wouldn’t it be thrilling to walk in their footsteps. . . for real? Visit Author Fan Travel to learn about how YOU can join award-winning author Kristy Cambron for an 8-day tour of Paris in 2021, to see all of these sights—and more!
The Paris Dressmaker is available now at your favorite book retailers:
And for those audio book fans. . . start your journey to Paris in Chapter One of The Paris Dressmaker, here.
** Photo credits: Unsplash.com and Pixabay, through Word Swag design.
Bon Voyage! And see you in Paris. .
KRISTY CAMBRON is a vintage-inspired storyteller writing from the space where art, history, and faith intersect. She is a Christy Award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut, The Butterfly and the Violin, and nonfiction, including the Verse Mapping series of Bibles and Bible studies. Her work has been named to the Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, received multiple INSPY Award nominations, and a 2020 Christy Award for her novel, The Painted Castle.
You can connect with her at: kristycambron.com