Regular price: $24.95

Free with 30-day trial Membership
Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free - plus an audiobook, on us.
  • 1 credit a month after trial - good for any title.
  • Easy exchange. Don't love book? swap it for free.
  • Exchange books you don't like
  • After your free trial, Audible is $14.95 a month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In one of the most inventive travel books in years, Ina Caro invites listeners on 25 one-day train trips that depart from Paris and transport us back through 700 years of French history. Whether taking us to Orléans to evoke the visions of Joan of Arc or to the Place de la Concorde to witness the beheading of Marie Antoinette, Caro animates history with her lush descriptions of architectural splendors and tales of court intrigue. “[An] enchanting travelogue” (Publishers Weekly), Paris to the Past has become one of the classic guidebooks of our time.

©2011 Ina Caro (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"I’d rather go to France with Ina Caro than with Henry Adams or Henry James." (Newsweek)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great listen!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I thought this book was so well done. It's done in chronological order and follows the same families throughout history while you also get general history about the town and castles she is visiting.

What did you like best about this story?

All the fun facts about the royal families she talks about.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh at times, but mostly it just made me happy. Every time I listened to it, it was like I was traveling through time with the author and traveling to France.

Any additional comments?

Great read, I really enjoyed it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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 planning a trip to Paris for next spring and I am all ears when it comes to suggestions that I was so enamoured by this book, but I think anyone could benefit from the ideas presented.

You can be sure this book will be a resource for every trip to France I ever make! The entire thing was interesting, but I really perked up when it covered places I’d already visited (most of Paris, Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chartres and Rouen) or the parts that cover things I plan to see and do on my next trip (more of Paris, Tours and Lyon).

It was a great book, and excellent idea, and a lot of fun to read! Can’t wait to get over there and follow in her footsteps!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

loved it

Would you listen to Paris to the Past again? Why?

I liked it so much that I bought the book. I've been to France without understanding the history. Now I am going back and this book has given me a great deal of insight

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of the two best books on France I know

One of the two best books on France I know. The other is Ina Caros book the road through history the predecessor to this book. If you are traveling to France or enjoy France you will love this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

History comes to life

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I love the history but am really quite uninterested in where the picnics happened, or which restaurants were eaten in. In this respect, I found the juxtaposition of personal preference for one diner over another very distracting. However, I used the historical information to plan a number of day trips when I was staying in Paris. I feel there should be two editions and I would prefer the abridged one with the non historical detail taken out.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ina Caro? Why or why not?

Also purchased Roads to the Past (hard copy) and used it as the basis for exploring the Loire

What aspect of Christa Lewis’s performance would you have changed?

Some of her French pronunciation was difficult

Did Paris to the Past inspire you to do anything?

Visited a number of the places after listening - including Chartres and Vincennes, and are planning quite a number of others in our next trip

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Brit
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 09-05-13

Wonderful stories of incredible people & places

This is the perfect book to have in your arsenal when planning a trip to Paris/France! Such great storytelling (and gossip) about the epic people,places, art, and food that one finds when travelling by way of French history. I can't wait to go to these places. Caro has truly whet my appetite and I am certain my travel experiences will be much richer because of each and every one of her lovely and thoroughly researched chapters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book

Great book and story but the constant mispronouncing of words like Notre Dame made it hard to get past

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A useful catalogue of historical sites in France

At bottom this is a useful catalogue of historical buildings in France with an outline of their history, relevance and, equally important, how to get there.

I liked that it gave me many additions to my list of places to visit, some of which I'd only been vaguely aware of, while others were entirely new to me.

My only reservation about this audiobook has to do with the amount of detail it includes about historical personalities which isn't really my thing.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Generation / Culture gap

I had high expectations for this book and plan to go through it again when I understand French history better. I cannot specifically say there was anything wrong with the book, but I kept feeling like it was my uptight great aunt taking me through France. I didn't get any of the romance of France within the pages. It left me a bit flat, but it could be personal. I'm a historian and such things don't usually bother me.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • J A Hibbs
  • 03-04-15

Fascinating but

A really interesting perspective and I learned a lot. It was more focussed on buildings than stories which was different to what I expected

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joy
  • 04-13-14

Gentle History

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Innovative way of recounting French history - by using the train to visit significant places in the evolution of the French monarchy. The author clearly is in love with France and its history. She brings her enthusiasm through in her story telling. This book will add extra interest and enjoyment to a French holiday - even if you think you know a lot about France.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Napoleon - until he got pretensions to become Emperor.

Would you be willing to try another one of Christa Lewis’s performances?

No. I found her style really irritating. I decided it's because I'm not used to listening to one American voice for extended periods of time. She sounds like Kim Catrall (who isn't American) so I had to keep out of my mind visions of 'Sex in the City'! I think it is a positive indication of the book that I kept listening!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Royal train through France

Any additional comments?

This is very much a history of kings and queens. There is very little insight into the lives of ordinary people so the French revolution comes as a bit of surprise - not that the author is uncritical of some of the excesses of the French monarchy.The one thing I didn't like about the book was the rather tedious detail about meals the author and her husband ate. There are also some irritating 'tourist guide tips for visiting Americans' which could have been put in an Annex and the listener could choose to skip over them (which is much easier when reading a book).I listened to this book while in the gym. I really looked forward to listening to the next installment - I don't usually look forward with enthusiasm to my visit to the gym! - and I didn't notice the hour passing.

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Eddie
  • 12-04-16

Took me straight back to the city

Would you listen to Paris to the Past again? Why?

I have only visited Paris twice and listening to the narration enriches my fond memory of this amazing city.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.