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The Ladies of the Faubourg

His journeyman's cane in hand and his "four-knotted valise" on his shoulder, Jean Cottion arrives at the gates of Paris one sunny day during the reign of Louis XI. After working for master carpenters all over France, at the last stage of his tour he finally reaches the door of Pierre Thirion in Faubourg Saint-Antoine.


Like a vein in wood, the story is carved through the centuries in a lively Parisian borough where the lives of the abbesses of Saint-Antoine-des-Champs mingle with those of the master carpenters, furniture-makers, craftsmen, noblemen, bourgeois and, above all, the women from all walks of life—families united by their love of wood in all of its nobility and liveliness.


The Dames of Faubourg is the first volume of a trilogy that sold more than one million copies.


Jean Diwo was born in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine; he knew the whirring of the saw, the delicate whistle of the plane, and the acrid smell of the boiling glue. He long dreamed of writing a marvelous novel about this important artery of Paris that was at the heart of so many major historical events. Constructing the framework with chisel and gouge, he produced a historical and human epic full of love, drama and joy, as merry as the inhabitants of the Faubourg.

The Ladies of the Faubourg



Born in Paris in 1914, Jean Diwo made his debut as a journalist working for Paris-Soir while completing his degree in Modern Literature at the Sorbonne. After his wife’s death in 1981, Diwo retired and dedicated his life to writing historical novels, quickly winning the hearts of the public and critics alike. During an interview in 2006, he said, “Books saved me, they offered me a second life.” Diwo passed away in 2011 at the age of 96.

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