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 […]

Montreal to Paris: Fog, Strikes, and Salmon

Montreal, suite 747 Le voyage commence à l’embarquement dans ce bus déjà trop plein – suite 747 – qui nous débarquera à l’aéroport P.E.T. Et si ce même voyage commencait déjà, par ce chemin, au travers du centre des affaires montréalais – vaste esplanade commerciale – et qui nous dépose au pied de Marie-Reine du […]

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How to Fix a Troublesome Highway

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po9jgc6JS24[/youtube] When Montreal’s Turcot Interchange opened in 1966, no one had seen anything quite like it. Floating one hundred pillared feet above the ground, its concrete spans swirled and swooped through the air, finally coming together in a knot of jaw-dropping proportions. It comprised over seven kilometres of road and spanned an area of seventeen […]

How Bike-Sharing Changes the City

Photo by cagliostro The launch of Bixi, Montreal’s new bike-sharing system, has been nothing short of spectacular. Despite early problems — faulty lock mechanisms have led to the theft of dozens of bikes — it has been more successful than anyone imagined. In fact, Montrealers have taken so well to Bixi that Stationnement de Montréal, […]

The Errant Canadians

It’s fun to see Jean-Paul Riopelle, now considered to have been of Canada’s foremost artists, described as a “young abstract painter” in Les Canadiens errants, a 1956 National Film Board documentary. He describes the open atmosphere of Paris as being particularly conducive to the creation of art. Implicitly, of course, he is referring to the […]

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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 , ,

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 […]

Public Displays of (Dis) Affection

Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Paris Parque del Retiro, Madrid

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The Paris the Tour Guides Avoid

Paris’s 15th probably carries the distinction of being the city’s least loved arrondissement. Though there isn’t much to distinguish it from, say, the 14th arrondissement just to the west, or the 12th crosstown, the 15th languishes in oubli. Tourists eschew it, locals kick it around in jokes, and the most famous attraction anywhere nearby, the […]

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Reading Alone, One Warm Afternoon

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

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Tourists Lost on Three Continents

Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris Place d’Armes, Montreal Largo do Senado, Macau

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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 , ,