Bestselling social historian Anne de Courcy reveals the glamour and grit of the Second World War on the French Riviera
Far from worrying about the onset of war, in the spring of 1938 the burning question on the French Riviera was whether one should curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor. Few of those who had settled there thought much about what was going on in the rest of Europe. It was a golden, glamorous life, far removed from politics or conflict.
Featuring a sparkling cast of artists, writers and historical figures including Winston Churchill, Daisy Fellowes, Salvador Dali, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Eileen Gray and Edith Wharton, with the enigmatic Coco Chanel at its heart, CHANEL'S RIVIERA is a captivating account of a period that saw some of the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the whole of the twentieth century.
From Chanel's first summer at her Roquebrune villa La Pausa (in the later years with her German lover) amid the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos in Antibes, Nice and Cannes to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during the Second World War, CHANEL'S RIVIERA explores the fascinating world of the Cote d'Azur elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Enriched with much original research, it is social history that brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.
Love a bit of real-life sex, disappointment and scandal from some of the 20th century's biggest icons (Chanel and her German lover, the artist Salvador Dali, the author Edith Wharton...) all set against an impossibly luxurious and elegant French backdrop? Then Anne De Courcy's biography of a very select time and place is for you. Providing insight into the occupation of France and its terrifying impact on rich and poor alike, you'll come away from reading it both better informed and utterly transported - STYLIST magazine
Anne de Courcy is one of my very favourite non-fiction writers (I wholeheartedly recommend that you investigate her backlist) and so I'm delighted that she's turned her attentions to Coco Chanel and what she got up to on the French Riviera before and during the second world war. With a cast list that includes the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, socialite and heiress Daisy Fellows and surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, Chanel's Riviera is a riveting read about the best and very worst of times and at the heart of the story is the morally ambiguous (some may say morally bankrupt) Chanel herself. - RED ONLINE
In Chanel's Riviera, Anne de Courcy has written a well-researched and compelling story. She maintains a remarkable balance between, on the one hand, Chanel and her world of the rich and famous and, on the other, the lives of ordinary people desperately struggling to survive in a country on the brink of annihilation. Drawing on an immense volume of material, she has succeeded not only in constructing an intriguing portrait of Chanel herself but also in expertly conjuring the two very different worlds that then existed side by side - LITERARY REVIEW
Entertaining ... Anne de Courcy makes a highly amusing guide to the shenanigans, foibles and affairs of the rich and famous at a time when it seemed anyone who was anyone spent weeks at a time on the Riviera
... De Courcy has dug deep into a rich seam of stories about the coastal region of France - HISTORY TODAY
Anne de Courcy is the author of thirteen widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including THE HUSBAND HUNTERS, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. In the 1970s she was Woman's Editor on the LONDON EVENING NEWS and in the 1980s she was a regular feature-writer for the EVENING STANDARD. She is also a former features writer and reviewer for the DAILY MAIL. She lives in London SW3.