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'Jonathan Miles’s Once Upon a Time World is a delightful, dizzying romp through the world’s most glamorous muse: the French Riviera. ... Reading this breathtaking account of the transformations of the French Riviera over the last two millenniums is like riding shotgun with a racecar driver in the Monaco Grand Prix....

The “democratized, Technicolor coast” that Agnes Varda celebrated in her 1958 documentary Du Côté de la Côte portrays hordes of happy French citizens on their state-paid summer vacations, crowding beaches beneath the villas and promenades of the dreamers. “What are they all looking for?” the narrator asks. Reading this book, you know the answer. They want to touch that“sea like quilted silk” that enraptured Katherine Mansfield; to see the “magical light” that transfixed Claude Monet; to lay out their own towel in paradise.'

Liesl Schillinger

The New York Times

Editor's Choice

‘filled with enchanting morsels’

Wall Street Journal

‘Miles, the author of a string of well-received books … obviously has a great time recounting the history of the Riviera, making the book an enjoyable, absorbing read.’  

Kirkus Review

In ‘Jonathan Miles’s new, thoroughly engaging book, darker episodes of the Riviera’s history provide a necessary contrast to the fun in the sun. Miles takes the reader through the hardships of the Great Depression and the horrors of World War II, and later demonstrates how the return of glitz and glamour in the 1950s gave way to sleaze, corruption, and organized crime …

Following on from a book on St. Petersburg, The Once Upon a Time World is, according to its author, the second volume of a trilogy about “phenomenal places created by strangers.” Whichever phenomenal place Miles visits next, it will be worth

accompanying him for the ride.’

Malcolm Forbes - The Washington Examiner

Everyone should go to the South of France. I cannot think of a better companion to the Riviera's past and present than Jonathan Miles's book. When you feel like a change from contemplating the unchanged sky and sea, Miles tells you in whose footsteps your flip-flops are flapping. They're all here, from Oscar Wilde being pelted with Champagne bottles to Jacques Cousteau escaping the madness for the serenity of a scuba dive. 

Dominic Green - The Washington Free Beacon  

Passages from the book are extracted


Air Mail, Salon, Town and Country &

Literary Hub

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