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HIGH SEASON: How One French Riviera Town Has Seduced Travelers for Two Thousand Years

Founded by seafaring Greeks, colonized by Romans, and transformed by spoiled English aristocrats into an elegant stop on the Grand Tour, the city of Nice has beguiled travelers for two millennia. Once the winter playground for Russian royalty and an inspiration for Matisse, Isadora Duncan, and Picasso, Nice is now one of the capitals of mass tourism, overrun each summer with a motley international crowd of pleasure seekers. In High Season, acclaimed writer Robert Kanigel recounts holw and why Nice came to define the nature of vacation itself -- liberation, exoticism, sun, sex, and sensuality.

For centuries Nice slumbered beside the Mediterranean in beautiful serenity -- an amalgam of French, Italian, and Provencal cultures built over tantalizing classical ruins. Then, in the mid-eighteenth century, English traveler Tobias Smollett exalted the splendors of Nice in a bestselling travel chronicle -- and overnight, high society descended. Jefferson visited the city. F. Scott Fitzgerald partied in its seaside villas, and both Nazis and Jews took refuge there during World War II. Though the rich and famous now often turn elsewhere, Nice remains the queen of the Riviera: seductive, complex, stylish, dazzling in its light and loveliness.

Written with wit, verve, and originality, High Season is a tour de force of contemporary nonfiction -- and a must read for anyone captivated by the beauty of the Mediterranean.

-- From the dustjacket of the Viking hardcover edition, 2002

From Amazon U.K.

4.0 out of 5 stars
Nice little gem of a book, 14 Sep 2008
By Philip Newbold "PNSurrey" (Surrey)

This is a really pleasant easy read. The book itself varies between a history of Nice, the story of tourism in Nice and interesting anecdotes from Nice. It really feels like the book shouldn't work but oddly and delightfully it does-throughout the author evokes the ambiance and pleasant climate of Nice through his fluid and very readable prose.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Just a wonderful read, 22 Mar 2010
By S. Peck (Glasgow, UK)

I wasn't sure what to expect, I bought this for my father and he just loved it, he enthused so much that I also read it but I have to return it to him!! The history of this city is quite amazing and Robert Kanigel captures the je ne sais quoi of Nice.
Love it, love it, love it.

Publishing History

Viking hardcover, 2002
UK hardcover [High Season in Nice] Little, Brown, 2002
UK paperback, Abacus, 2003

Newsweek, Best Beach Reads, 2002
Chicago Tribune, Summer Choice, 2002

Selected reviews: New York Times Book Review, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Sunday Telegraph (U.K), Sunday Times (U.K.), Daily Mail (U.K.), Spectator (U.K.), Time (U.K. edition), Irish Times (Ireland)

From the dustjacket of the Viking hardcover edition, 2002

"Why has Nice continued to delight tourists through the centuries, even though it is constantly changing and growing? Robert Kanigel's lighthearted, stylishly written survey of their reactions through the centuries succeeds in conveying the city's genius at enveloping its visitors in a balmy atmosphere of relaxation." -- Theodore Zeldin, president of the Oxford Muse, author of The French and An Intimate History of Humanity

"In High Season, the story of Nice is recounted as if this French city were a character from a nineteenth century novel. Robert Kanigel skillfully weaves Nice's legendary appeal with the long and complex history of those who have fallen to its charm. The book is both informative and entertaining, illuminating Nice's fascinating past while reminding readers of the reasons why it has attracted and seduced (and still does) so many, for so long." -- Isabelle de Courtivron, professor of French studies, MIT

"A delightful romp. Kanigel evokes the bright blue skies and soft breezes of Nice with beauty and precision. We come to know the city exactly as it must have seemed to the expectant visitor a century ago, a millennium ago, and the day before yesterday. A book as lovely, strange, and enticing as travel itself." -- Robin Marantz Henig, author of The Monk in the Garden