Paris and London have long held a mutual fascination, and never more so than in the period 1750-1914, when they vied to be the world's greatest city. Each city has been the focus of many books, yet Jonathan Conlin here explores the complex relationship between them for the first time.
The reach and influence of both cities was such that the story of their rivalry has global implications. It is a history of surprises: Sherlock Holmes was actually French, the can-can was English and the first restaurant served English food in Paris. By borrowing, imitating and learning from each other Paris and London invented the modern metropolis.
Tales of Two Cities examines and compares five urban spaces - the pleasure garden, the cemetery, the apartment, the restaurant and the music hall - that defined urban modernity in the nineteenth century. The citizens of Paris and London first created these essential features of the modern cityscape and so defined urban living for all of us.