Chronicling two-hundred years of glamour, intrigue, and hedonism, this history of the French Riviera features a vast cast of characters, from Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel to Andre Matisse and James Baldwin.
Miles has extracted the gems from ample research but offers scant original reporting. As he moves briskly through the decades, the anecdotes pile up like Legos, yielding a result that’s colorful but chaotic.
Miles’s evocation of the French Riviera is as fascinating in its historical sweep as its devotion to gossip and misbehaviour ... The book becomes a delirious chronicle of excess ... a phenomenal work of research across hundreds of histories, biographies, memoirs and letters. It shifts with masterly control across a dozen arenas from high art to low scandal, taking in fashion, sport, ballet and motor racing. It’s utterly absorbing, indelicate to a shocking degree and I devoured every page of it.