SML cover high res 2Subscribers, Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre & its Treasures During World War II by Gerri Chanel, award-winning freelance journalist and professor at the City University of New York. Free book giveaway to two subscribers ends January 26, 2015. An $18.00 U.S. value (2014, Heliopa Press, LLC).

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In late summer 1939, just days before France declared war against Germany, the Louvre staff conducted the largest museum evacuation in history in record time, then managed to keep its art and antiquities out of the hand of Nazi occupiers throughout the years of occupation that followed.

The Mona Lisa was moved six times during the war, traveling in a custom-made red-velvet lined case. The museum’s other treasures also moved from countryside chateau to chateau, where curators and guards who risked their jobs and lives to keep the art and antiquities safe looked after them after. Due to their heroic efforts over the course of the war, the Louvre and its evacuated art miraculously survived not only the appetites of Hitler and his henchmen—often supported by the complicit Vichy government—but also gunfire, shells, bombs, and damage from a crashed plane.

Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre & its Treasures During World War II by Gerri Chanel is an engaging and suspenseful book that also describes the connections between the museum and its curators to other wartime developments in France. Superbly researched and accompanied by riveting photographs of the period, Saving Mona Lisa is a compelling true story of art and beauty, intrigue and ingenuity, and remarkable moral courage in the face of one of the most fearful enemies in history. Author Gerri Chanel provides new insights and narrative, images and new research, and tells how the Louvre’s staff accomplished these monumental feats in Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II (2014, Heliopa Press). To purchase Saving Mona Lisa, visit: (

Praise for Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II

“… [A] thoroughly detailed account of this intriguing chapter in French history. Rather than aggrandizing an already extraordinary story, her narration of the Mona Lisa’s miraculous survival—in the face of Hitler’s henchmen, heavy bombardment and the complicit Vichy government—lets the facts speak for themselves and they’re all the more compelling for it.” — France Monthly

“[A]n original work of scholarship that grips the reader with stories of French bureaucrats tying up…Nazi art looting efforts in administrative red tape. Any reader who has run into the famous French intransigence will laugh at Louvre Museum Director Jacques Jaujard’s creative ways of thwarting a rogue’s gallery of Nazis as he careens around France with masterworks tied to unsteady trucks… Let’s hope that Hollywood and history pay attention to Saving Mona Lisa, where the truth is more entertaining than fiction!” —Attorney Raymond Dowd, art law and litigation, WWII art restitution claims


Gerri Chanel’s “Saving Mona Lisa” on the battle to protect the artistic heritage of France during World War II (part one), published on A Woman’s Paris®.

Gerri Chanel’s “Saving Mona Lisa” keeping a close eye on the whereabouts of the Louvre’s treasured ‘Diana’ (part two), published on A Woman’s Paris®.

Interview: French Impressions: Gerri Chanel’s “Saving Mona Lisa” thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history, published on A Woman’s Paris®.

GChanel_hrGerri Chanel is a prize-winning freelance journalist, professor at the City University of New York and a former business consultant. She lived in Paris for five years, where, in addition to writing and teaching, she also held wine and cheese tastings for tourists that were rated among the top Paris attractions on TripAdvisor. While in France, Gerri also began the research for her book, Saving Mona Lisa. As part of her research for the book, she combed through various French archives and had access to the few remaining living witnesses of the events. Gerri now divides her time between New York and Paris. For more information, visit: (

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Barbara Redmond
Publisher, A Woman’s Paris®


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