Cafés, hotels, and restaurants are at the core of the impact of modernity. With these places of pleasure and leisure, new architectural forms were promoted, creating the perfect setting for the public performance and image cultivation of urbanites in the emerging metropolises of the world. At the heart of many urban myths, cafés are celebrated as intangible sacred halls where works of art were produced, revolutions plotted, lives made, and hearts broken. Cafés serve as the background to public display and sociability. The novel reading of the history of the hotel offers new insight into the context of social performance, analyzing the development of tourism with its urbanization of former natural landscapes. Paris heralded the emergence of the restaurant. As a cultural institution it represents the century-old culinary tradition and as such it is an antidote to the accelerated consumption of fast food.
By outlining the specific architectural, cultural and social spaces that helped forming the modern metropolis, Franziska Bollerey provides surprising new perspectives in a well-informed tour d’horizon—which is, above all, a true pleasure to read.