“I do not say there is no character as well-drawn in Shakespeare [as D’Artagnan]. I do say there is none that I love so wholly.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson
Many years ago I bought myself a copy of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I chose it from the shelves of Powell’s Bookstore primarily because of the description on the back. I remember the word “swashbuckling” jumping out at me. I was a little skeptical, but my curiosity was piqued and I thought it was worth a try.
To be honest, I found the first couple chapters a bit boring, but I kept reading and before long things started to get interesting, riveting even. It was the perfect blend of adventure, intrigue, history, romance, comedy and setting. It was, well, swashbuckling. I was hooked.
I soon learned that The Three Musketeers was actually part of a series called The d’Artagnan Romances and that it was originally published in 1844 as a serial in a Parisian magazine. I went about tracking down the full series and I read them all voraciously. I looked forward to reading on my commute, at lunch, and before bed every day. Many nights I stayed up far too late reading “just one more chapter”, and then “just one more”.
Since it was written as a serial, just about every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. I was so enthralled by the characters, the places, and events that I simply had to see it all for myself. Here are just a few places you can visit on your own Musketeer Themed Tour of Paris.
Lodgings Noted in the Books
Other Musketeer Sights in and around Paris
- Musketeers HQ – The Hotel de Treville on Rue du Vieux Columbier
- Louvre – palace of King Louis XIII and setting for Queen’s diamond necklace escapade
- Place du Général Catroux: Statues of d’Artagnan and Dumas
- Pont Neuf – the most commonly travelled bridge in the book
- Vaux-le-Vicomte – Home of Nicolas Fouquet and the inspiration for Versailles
- Versailles – Palace of King Louis XIV
- Panthéon – Dumas’ tomb is located in the crypt
Get the Books
Different publishers compile the serials in different ways, so I recommend sticking with the same publisher for the entire series to ensure that your reading experience has the proper continuity and flow. Another thing to note is that these books were originally written in French, so some translations are better than others. I personally enjoy the Oxford World’s Classics editions.
Fun Ways to Introduce Kids to The Three Musketeers