Saturday, 6 December 2008

Paris Belle Epoque

My friend Thierry Fournier has lived in England for 57 years, and, together with his wife Ginette, is completely attuned to the twenty-first century zeitgeist of the Home Counties; nevertheless they remain cent pour cent lyonnais and parisienne respectively.

The other day Thierry sent me a link to this website*. It is a slide show of magnificent black and white photos of twenty-four great buildings of Paris, published as postcards between 1902 and 1904.

The clothes and the traffic have changed but many of the buildings have not. This one, sadly, is no more; called the Palais du Trocadéro, it was constructed in 1878 for the third Paris World Fair and in its garden the completed head of the Statue of Liberty was on display. It was pulled down in 1937 when the present Palais de Chaillot was built.

[The website* is a PowerPoint file. Before you run it you might want to switch off your loudspeakers; if you do not, while clicking through the pictures you will have to listen to Charles Trenet warbling the title song from a terrible 1941 musical called La Romance de Paris, with its "whimsical gallic appeal... enchanting airs and loveable characters".]

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