Americans and the Making of the Riviera


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SKU: 9780786431601 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Led by Cole Porter in the 1920s, Americans demonstrated that the best season to visit the French Riviera was not the winter, as had been the practice, but the summer. With this shift, Americans became the dominant shapers of tourism on the Riviera in the 20th century, yet the American achievement in revolutionizing the economy of the South of France is largely unsung.
This insightful history details the American influence on the Riviera and the contributions of several individuals. It pays particular attention to such writers and artists as Edith Wharton, Gerald Murphy, Henry Clews, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, whose work drew energy from their stays in the Riviera and in turn helped to cement an idyllic image of the Riviera in the American popular consciousness.

About the Author(s)

Michael Nelson, formerly general manager of Reuters, lives in London. His website may be viewed at

Bibliographic Details

Michael Nelson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, appendix, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3160-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      3

1. Thomas Jefferson in the Land of Corn, Wine, Oil and Sunshine      9

2. The American Girls Were the Most Beautiful      22

3. James Gordon Bennett Jr., Princess Alice and Isadora Duncan      32

4. Edith Wharton at Hyères      53

5. Cole Porter and the Revolution of the Summer Season      69

6. Hôtel du Cap      78

7. Villa America      103

8. Tender Is the Night      126

9. Clews, Tucks, Goulds, GIs and Baldwin      139

10. Films, Jazz and Mansions      161

11. Epilogue: Sophia-Antipolis      182

Appendix: Riviera Streets and Squares Named After American People and Places      185

Chronology      187

Chapter Notes      189

Bibliography      205

Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating…this is a plumcake of a book, full of tasty morsels”—The Riviera Reporter; “a lively compendium of anecdotes”—French News; “an entertaining book”—France Magazine; “an new history guide…details America’s journey from a tourist minority to one of the region’s formative forces over a 200 year period beginning with the visit of Thomas Jefferson in 1787”—Let’s Go Riviera; “an enjoyable book”—Contemporary Review.