The Spaniards have their bull fights, the Americans their mass production, but the French, as tradition has it, are the unparalleled exponents of love. In this wittily written history of French attitudes toward love--sanctioned and otherwise--Nina Epton manages to endow what is essentially a scholarly work with grace. Tracing Gallic attitudes toward women, marriage, liaisons, exploring the status of the French woman and her conceptions of herself, the book commences with the middle ages and progresses to the present. Nina Epton integrates contemporary sources and anecdotes into her text and interweaves her own often ironic comments. Romantic, courtly, carnal, and domestic love all are manifest against a background of a dynamic French society, a society which at one time embraced the extravagances of a Madame de Pompadour and at another moment revered the irreproachable conjugal relations of the petite bourgeoisie. Perhaps a bit too nonchalant to be regarded seriously by scholars, this is a book which is vastly entertaining and pleasantly informative.