Since the end of the 19th century, the Ritz Hotel in Paris has been an international symbol of luxury and glamour, home to film stars, celebrity writers, playboys and princes.
When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda maestro, famously declared that the capital would be gay and happy - or else! The Ritz was divided into two sections: one half becoming home to the highest-ranking German officers; the other half home to the rich and famous civilians who were in Paris during the Nazi occupation. There was Hermann Göring, Hitler’s morphine-addicted second-in-command, who spent much of the war at the Ritz, pillaging art and desperately trying to avoid Hitler’s brutal rages. Other guests included Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, wining, dining and being merry, oblivious to - and exempt from - the extreme cruelty and suffering the Nazis inflicted on countless others.
Penned by the bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot, this is a remarkable and intimate snapshot of WW2.