An Historical Novel set in Paris
19 year old Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris for the first time in 1900. He came specifically to the Worlds Fair to see his painting 'Last Moments' representing Spanish art. Last Moments has been identified by the Museum of Cleveland as being underneath another great Picasso painting 'La Vie' (Life)
The World of Jacques Doucet
The Paris Seige of 1870
In the era just before novel begins the siege of Paris was brought to the actual front door of the Doucet family. While Paris was surrounded by militia, Place Vendome adjacent to Rue de la Paix, home of our protagonist, was at the heart of the action. 18 year old Jacques Doucet may have witnessed barricades errected in his own street. Paris was surrounded by military for months (Sep-Jan). Daily life became a struggle with the rich having to restort to desperate measures.
Once the supply of meat ran low, the citizens turned on the zoo animals residing at Jardin des plantes. Even Castor and Pollux, the only pair of elephants in Paris, were slaughtered for their meat.
A Christmas menu on the 99th day of the siege included unusual dishes such as stuffed donkey's head, elephant consommé, roast camel, kangaroo stew, antelope terrine, bear ribs, cat with rats and haunch of wolf in deer sauce.