Portraits of a Changing Paris

Boulevard Exelmans at Rue Chanez, XVIe Arrondisement, 1905-2008 Contemporary photos by Laurent David Ruamps Chat up a critic of historic preservation and the conversation may turn, sooner or later, toward Paris. What the French capital’s historic center has retained in fin-de-siècle flourish, s/he might claim, it lacks in the dynamism that fuels the growth of […]

Posted in: Architecture, Europe, History by Christopher Szabla 2 Comments , , ,

Modernism Debauched

Villa Besnus in 1922 and 2010. Photo compilation by Laurent David Ruamps In 1922, Le Corbusier was hired by a man named George Besnus to build a new house in the Paris suburb of Vaucresson. It was the architect’s first chance to put the Purist ideals he had been toying with to practice: an architecture […]

Shopping Places, Then and Now

The Galéries Lafayette in Paris still is a gorgeous retail space As with so many things having to do with taste in the 19th century, the French generally get the credit for inventing the department store: the Parisian pioneer Au bon marché adopted the formula in 1852, just at the beginning of the massive transformation […]

Posted in: Architecture, Europe, History, Interior Space, Society and Culture by Mary Soderstrom Comments Off on Shopping Places, Then and Now , ,

Language in Toulouse

Toulouse is a large, cosmopolitan but relaxed and laid back southern French city. It feels like it has as much in common with nearby Spain as with northern France. The bilingual street signs here are a tantalising reminder of how the city’s history could have been different. Had Occitanie remained a distinct culture and society […]

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Paris: Beyond the End of History

Quai d’Orsay: From Commuters to Connoisseurs French culture is dead. So declared Time magazine’s Don Morrison recently. Complacently subsisting off plentiful government subsidies, France’s once-trendsetting culture class have failed to keep up and compete with any of the noise issuing forth from the anglophone world. If France’s capital city is any reflection of the country’s […]

Reading Alone, One Warm Afternoon

Reading on the Place des Vosges and on the bank of the Seine

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Fishing in the Seine

Not fish, actually—the guy caught an eel. Eel is delicious, but I’m not sure if I would trust the cleanliness of a river that runs through the heart of Paris.

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The City of a Thousand Leaves

Running across the boulevard Saint-Germain, through the Carrefour de l’Odéon, we dashed into the box office and bought our tickets, ducking into the darkened cinema just as the opening credits finished. We sat down in the back row, interrupting a clearly annoyed couple’s face-sucking session, and watched as the first short began: “Montmartre.” Paris, je […]

Posted in: Europe, Film, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The City of a Thousand Leaves , ,

Oh, Just Horsing Around

Bakery in the Marais. Photo by Christopher DeWolf It’s practically a law of the Earth: the corner bakery will have croissants. The tides will roll in and out, the seasons will change, and the corner bakery will have croissants. And so it was that on a particular Sunday, my corner bakery did not, actually, have […]

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Au bord de l’eau

Picnic on the banks of the Seine, Paris On the banks of the Canal St-Martin, Paris

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Paris Gets Sassy

Paris 11ème. Photo by Christopher DeWolf Dmitri, a small man with a Russian accent as thick as the three or four red sweatshirts he was wearing, led me out a door and into a walled-in courtyard. He gestured at four plastic drums, each one about the size of two ATMs back-to-back, each one coloured in […]

Coupe du Monde

World Cup Final, France vs. Italy, July 9th, 2006. Champs-Élysées, Paris.

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Rue de Rivoli, 17h57

Early one evening, outside Saint Paul metro in Paris…

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