The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France

The Road from the Past Traveling through History in France Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris With Caro as an epicurean knowledgeable and delightfully opinionated guide we can always be sure

  • Title: The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
  • Author: Ina Caro
  • ISBN: 9780156003636
  • Page: 412
  • Format: Paperback
  • Caro takes us on an unforgettable driving tour of France, from Provence to the Loire Valley to Paris With Caro as an epicurean, knowledgeable, and delightfully opinionated guide, we can always be sure to find the most breathtaking vistas, the most extraordinary ch teaux, the most inspiring cathedrals, and the very best meals.

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      Posted by:Ina Caro
      Published :2019-02-11T20:39:16+00:00

    106 Comment

    • Ginny says:

      The writer tries too hard to give every detail of what she has experienced and at times gets repetitive. The editor for this book should have done a better job and saved readers' time. While I did enjoy the background history of many of the places I have visited and come to love in France I would have enjoyed this book much more if there had been more pictures and illustrations to tie into the long descriptions of sights and a lot less text especially the end of chapter recounts of each sight sh [...]

    • Jen says:

      I wanted so badly to like this book. I love history, I love France, and I'm going to Paris - this seemed like the perfect book for me. Unfortunately, for my reading tastes, it was just too dry. I fought through the book but the constant elitist snobbery and un-likability of the narrator made it very tough. I stomached the antic dotes where Ina can't imagine a life without white asparagus from France or when she faced "hell" in the form of tourists at Versailles but, just barely. The awkward inje [...]

    • Jenica says:

      I really enjoyed reading about the history but the way she talked about her own travels irritated me. She came across as very pretentious. Like when she only enjoyed Versailles when she was able to have a private tour, but when she had to deal with the crowds like all the common folk she recommends skipping it altogether. Skipping Versailles! Come on now. But I was reminded about and learned a lot of French history and for that it is worth reading.

    • Christine says:

      I couldn't get past the first 30 pages. This book is not meant for people who have a background in European history. The book just annoyed me with its broad generalizations and somewhat condescending tone. Maybe the book would be a good introduction to European history or travel, but unless you're new to those subjects, I would not recommend this one.

    • Justine says:

      While the history of France is interesting, I don't think Ina Caro can take credit for that. She can take credit for being repetitive and rather elitist however--though she does render some stories very compellingly.

    • Dawn says:

      I am not the biggest fan of non-fiction but every once in a while I come across a book that I have to try. Being a huge enthusiast of travel by train, a friend thought this would be my kind of book and she proved to be right. Ina Caro takes you on a journey from the 12th century to the 19th century without ever leaving the comfort of her rented Paris apartment. It is pretty obvious that the author loves France, she gushes about the food, the tour guides, the buildings, the history and especially [...]

    • Anna says:

      As far as a book about traveling through France and learning about French history on the way - bravo! We explore many eras of French history via stories and landmarks, and the book also serves as a guidebook for any real trip you'd like to take: all of the stops here are train trips that are easy to organize from a central location of Paris.I had to rate it down a star because about 1/3 of the way through the book, I found myself disliking our tour guide, Ina Caro. She's kind of a complainer, an [...]

    • Amy says:

      Not a guidebook to take with you. Read before you go, or read when you're at home wishing you were in France. A good starter for ideas for day trips. A light pre-read.An editor could have made the author's voice more consistent: either an approachable history lecture tone, or an intimate/personal story tone. Either be a docent, or be a bubbly Sister Wendy. The book alternates tone, as if the author keeps interrupting herself. I read snippets here and there, not the whole book (or even half), so [...]

    • Joyce says:

      What a wonderful book - if you are fascinated by France of the present and its history, as I am. I had read Ms. Caro's equally wonderful book, "The Road From the Past", a number of years, ago and own the paperback version. That book traveled through French history, starting in Provence and ending on the Ile-de-France, taking history in chronological sequence. I thought that was a wondrous way to travel, and it still is. Now Ms. Caro and her fellow historian husband, Robert, have based themselves [...]

    • Simone says:

      Day Trip From Paris? Look No Further!It’s a first hand account of the author’s travels through France, most sights and destinations are within a 90-minute radius from Paris, all accessible either by metro or train (regional train or fast train / TGV). The destinations are set up in chronological order in an attempt to educate the reader a bit about French History – it works! It’s a wonderful guidebook – although not the type you’d carry around with you.Perhaps it’s because I am pla [...]

    • Bap says:

      Take a trip with Ina caro with destinations within two hours of Paris by train. She loves France. Loves history. And loves the company of her husband Bob who wrote the Power Broker and the magisterial biography of LBJ. She divides her accounts by selecting the best places representative of the different ages of France from the middle ages to the Renaissance. And up through the two Napoleons. Thus the castle in Ankers is forbidding and clearly a defensive redout while the chateaus of the Loire ar [...]

    • Daniel Chaikin says:

      A mixed bag. On the nice side this is a quick and pleasant overview of French history from Caesar through the Middle Ages and up to King Louis XIV, highlighted with details of various castles and towns. Caro's enthusiasm and enjoyment is at least a little contagious. And I found it quite moving as she would cover her pleasant day in one location and then tell her version of the usually disturbing history behind the place.What I wasn't comfortable with was the narrow focus of the book directed to [...]

    • Rae says:

      I love travel narratives, especially travel narratives about France. So this was a delight. I've been reading it slowly since about November - and to tell the truth I still haven't completely put it down yet. I'm still dipping back into some of the early chapters that cover the early Middle Ages in the south of France. Caro takes you on a tour through France and French history from the Roman occupation through Louis XIV using architecture. My only complaints are that there are no pictures and th [...]

    • Richard says:

      I wanted to dislike this book. The elderly American author's breathless detailing of restaurants visited with her beloved Bob and self-satisfied tone almost had me flicking the 'abandon' switch.But perseverance allowed me to get caught up in Caro's love affair with French history - a weakness I share - and her well-considered itinerary through some fascinating towns and regions. Her enthusiasm is infectious, even if she remained to the end the slightly annoying person you have to sit next to on [...]

    • Dianne Hopen says:

      To anyone familiar with French history and many of the sites featured in that extensive history, this book reads like a biography. The reader can literally envision the detailed features that Caro so richly develops. Her research to provide information on the planning and development of each of these historical sites allows the reader to savor them like sitting down to a wonderful 5 course French dinner. For travelers to France this book could serve as a guide book to understanding and appreciat [...]

    • Jeff says:

      It was okay. The concept was great. Day trips from paris to the different cities, cathedrals and castles of France in chronological order.Unfortunately, the writing was not very good and the editing was worse. You could almost see where the author left off writing for a break and then returned, as she picked up and repeated the previous information. In the hands of a talented writer, this book would have been 4 stars

    • Kevin Leung says:

      It was fine. The content was very inconsistent from chapter to chapter: sometimes it was all history, sometimes it was gossip, sometimes it was her personal experience traveling, sometimes it was a detailed account of the objects at the location. If you're looking for places to travel by train from Paris, this is a solid book. If you're looking for anything more specific or comprehensive, it is hit and miss.

    • Mary Fox says:

      Highly recommended for anyone visiting Paris with enough time to take day trips. Very helpful directions on which metro, train, bus to take to historical towns and sites. Ina Caro candidly discusses interesting and pertinent French history and its leaders, culture, architecture. As I am about as far from a history buff as one can be, I learned quite a bit and appreciated the perspective offered about what we saw as well as the practical approach to touring a day at a time.

    • Debbie says:

      This is an excellent book. The author begins in southern France and moves northward to Paris, following the lines of history. For sites you have visited, it will fill in historical details that you will wish you had known when you visited and for sites yet unseen it will make you long to be in France agin.

    • Lucy Sutherland says:

      This is the best history of France from Roman occupation to present day, in a kind of travelogue format. So it's not like a typical history book at all, and quite short. Just so colorful and readable. The author is the wife of Robert Caro, the famous biographer. But I think she gets overshadowed a bit by him b/c he's so much more widely read. The book is wonderful & so evocative.

    • Tom Hitchner says:

      Charming travel guide to France long a route that encounters, in chronological order, remnants of its history from Roman times to the present. Full of useful touring suggestions and historical insights.

    • Marie Livingston says:

      An excellent book! Actually used it as a guidebook when I traveled to Paris this spring. Would love to visit all the places in her book. Did go to Saint Denis, Chartres, and Rouen.

    • Kelly says:


    • Mary says:

      Ina Caro has written a different kind of travel narrative centered around exploring France and its historic buildings. Using Paris as her base, she explores the art and architecture of French history via day trips by train. Every destination can be reached by a train ride of less than two hours. She also includes many sites within Paris. Starting in the early middle ages with the rise of the Gothic cathedrals, she explains the significance of the buildings and places them within the context of F [...]

    • Barbara von der Osten says:

      This book is described as “an unforgettable driving tour of France northward from Provence, where the Roman Empire once held sway, through the chateau-studded Loire Valley, where monarchs and nobles plotted for wealth and power, to Paris, where kings – and later, Napoleon – consolidated their autocratic reign.” Caro claims that the best way to encounter a country is to examine its landscapes, architecture, and history in chronological order. And that is what she set out to do with this b [...]

    • Amy says:

      The places visited in the book and the history I learned about was very interesting. The format of traveling through history, from the middle ages on, was brilliant. There were times when the author would say something, go off on a tangent, then come back to the original sentence or idea using the exact same wording. It got repetitive and slightly annoying. Also, the author sometimes had a snobby, almost high and mighty air. How dare a popular, well-known, and easy to get to place like Versaille [...]

    • Becki Iverson says:

      This has been on my list for ages and I thought it sounded so interesting. I was wrong. This is great if you want something that is very technical about castles. It may also be great if you're an expat living in Paris and are really interested in exploring historical sites and need help finding and navigating them. But honestly, this is just so dry and it really didn't teach me anything I couldn't have learned (and learned in a more interesting way) in an architecture class, from a guided tour o [...]

    • Diana Sandberg says:

      The book is over 20 years old, now, so I rather wistfully expect the restaurant and hotel recommendations are mostly out of date. I was somewhere between amused and irritated by Caro's abrupt dismissal of entire towns because she perceived a tour guide or a shopkeeper to be rude. Having travelled in France, I have observed over and over the kind of loud, peremptory, and "entitled" American behaviour that instantly brings out the frosty French reserve that the American then labels "rude". Still, [...]

    • Linda Howe says:

      Very much enjoyed Caro's approach to history and travel, her linking of particular regions of France with particular periods in French history. It makes remembering the movement of history so much easier, even though she doesn't get past the Sun King (Louis XIV) in Paris. Travel in reality can sometimes seem like a mish-mash as I try to pack all the great sights into a journey, and everywhere is a palimpsest of time. After a while I simply get confused, lose the plot as it were of my trip. While [...]

    • Katie says:

      I read this in Paris, which was of course wonderful timing. This is a really unique idea and I learned a lot from the book and got some great suggestions for future France excursions. It's part guide and part travel memoir, so keep in mind that there are opinions interspersed throughout.Really needs a better editor, both in development and proofreading. There's no excuse for a giant publisher like Norton to have made so many typographical errors.

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