Allan Massie

Promenades

Footprints in Paris: A Few Streets, A Few Lives

By

Chatto & Windus 336pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Gillian Tindall’s very enjoyable new book traces the associations of various members of her family with the old Latin Quarter of Paris. The story begins with her great-great-grandfather, Arthur Jacob, an Edinburgh-educated surgeon from Dublin, who walked from Scotland to Paris in 1814 – the year of Napoleon’s defeat and exile to Elba – and ends with herself, though she eschews the first person and writes of ‘Julia’ as a character to be observed and commented on. There is a medical theme to the book, for her grandfather, Bertie Tindall (who married Blanche Jacob, Arthur’s granddaughter), became a publisher specialising in medical books and had a long connection with a Parisian firm. The medical theme explains the emphasis on these ‘few streets’, for the teaching hospitals of Paris were located on the Left Bank.

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