*Paris. France’s capital city, in which Marcel is reared in an upper-middle-class family within the best part of central Paris. Much of the action of the novels takes place in the apartments, palaces, parks, hotels, and restaurants exclusive to the important members of Paris society. This society is ruled by the remnants of the former French aristocracy, still living with considerable splendor in their elegant apartments in the Faurboug Saint-Germain, an old, fashionable district on the left side of the River Seine in central Paris.
Verdurin salon (VEHR-duhr-ihn). Gathering place hosted by Madame Verdurin, a rich social climber of no consequence who accumulates a dubious group of people in her expensive home for regular soirées. The Verdurins represent the second-rate society world, on the edge of the smartest Paris hierarchy. Madame Verdurin’s guests are a mixed bag of the newly rich; young gentlemen looking for a good time, often slumming with people of lesser social position; professional men of some repute but socially unimportant; young artists, musicians, and the occasional fashionable prostitute. Marcel occasionally visits the Verdurins, associating below his station. A silly, vindictive, stupid woman, Madame Verdurin represents in her salon the vulgarity of the bourgeoisie. However, she manages in the long run of life to ascend, because of her wealth (after the death of her equally vulgar husband), and marry an aristocrat, with whom she enters the salons of the nobility.
*Champs-Elysees Garden (shahn-zay-leh-ZAY). Park in the center of Paris where Marcel plays as a child and where he becomes a friend of Gilberte, the daughter of Swann and Odette. This relationship,...
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