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Paris: City Of Dreams

Airs Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Basilica of Sacre Coeur de Montmartre, taken on a clear day in late February 2008

Eiffel Tower, seen from the ''champ de Mars'' Paris, France, 2009
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Above: Eiffel Tower, seen from the ''champ de Mars'' Paris, France, 2009

In the first episode of this three-part series on Paris, presenter and art historian Sandrine Voillet reveals how Paris battled through turmoil and trauma to become the city of dreams. From the Louvre to a magical fairy tale park which is one of Paris’s best kept secrets Sandrine uncovers a Paris very rarely explored.

She delves deep into the subterranean labyrinth of the city sewers, heads for a very special restaurant famed for its discreet boudoir lounges and meets one of France’s great photographers, Willy Ronis.

She also reveals why two of Paris’ s most photographed landmarks, the Basilica of Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, were hated when they were first built, but went on to become the great icons of the most beautiful city in the world.

Sandrine Voillet is an art historian who has worked in a number of museums and art galleries. She was educated at the Ecole du Louvre where she specialised in the history of art from the Far East. She has also worked in the film industry, initially as part of the Artificial Eye Film Distribution Company becoming involved in the 2003 French Film Festival. She is the author of "Sandrine's Paris: A Cultural History Of The World's Most Romantic City," published by BBC Books. "Paris" marks her television debut.

Video

Video Excerpt: Paris: City Of Dreams

Above: "Paris: City Of Dreams" - We first meet Sandrine Voillet in the Louvre, the world's most famous museum of art and the place where she studied the history of art. Before it was a museum, the Louvre was a splendid palace. That all changed with the French Revolution of 1789, and that is when Sandrine begins her story of Paris.