Author Archives: Parisian Fields

About Parisian Fields

Parisian Fields is the blog of two Toronto writers who love Paris. When we can't be there, we can write about it. We're interested in everything from its history and architecture to its graffiti and street furniture. We welcome comments, suggestions, corrections, and musings from all readers.

The writing on the wall

I once bought a book called How to Read Paris, which was really just a book about the city’s architecture. If I were to write a book with that title, I would talk about the words on the city’s walls. … Continue reading

Posted in Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rondo Parisien

For years, concerts “Chez Nous,” presented by Mary Ann Warrick in her home in the 16th, have been a highlight of our visits to Paris. Now we watch concerts in that familiar drawing room online. Recently, we saw a brilliant … Continue reading

Posted in Paris music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Penny for a Dancer’s Son

A few weeks ago, Norman embarked on some long-deferred tidying up and came across a beautiful bronze disc about 12 cm in diameter (not quite 5 inches across). He said he’d had it for years, and had probably bought it … Continue reading

Posted in Toronto, World War I | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Red children and foundling wheels

Some Paris names evoke long-gone places in the city’s past. The name Tuileries now represents a garden, before that a palace with a violent history, and before that, an area where tiles were made. I’ve always found it interesting that … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris hospitals, Paris markets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The strange case of the disappearing hotel

Norman recently bought, sight unseen, a shoebox of French postcards from a man in Winnipeg. Among them was a series of images from a Paris hotel called the St-James and Albany. They set me off on a hunt that led … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris hotels, Paris postcards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Asylum

Last month, when I learned that absinthe had been known as the “Charenton omnibus” – Charenton being the site of a famous mental hospital – I became curious about mental institutions in the Paris area. There are many interesting stories … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris hospitals, Paris quartiers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A taste of France

Many years ago, a friend gave me a birthday present consisting of three small objects, with a card that read: “What every young woman needs: a car, a taste of France, and a chance at a million.” The car was … Continue reading

Posted in Paris flea markets, Paris food, Paris history, Paris popular culture, World War I | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

How blind people learned to write: the truth can be told

Exactly 200 years ago, in June 1821, a crucial experiment was taking place in a school on the rue St-Victor in Paris. The school was the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles (the Royal Institution for Blind Youth) and the students … Continue reading

Posted in Charles Barbier, History of the blind, Paris cemeteries, Paris history, Paris museums | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Islands

The boulevard Morland is a tree-lined, one-way thoroughfare in the fourth arrondissement. Nothing indicates that the buildings between it and the river occupy what was once an island, or that the street sits atop what was once an arm of … Continue reading

Posted in Paris bridges, Paris history, Paris maps, Seine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My mother’s adventure in Paris

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Rosemary Felicity Campsie, née Orchardson, July 24, 1924 – April 5, 2021. She was a cheerful traveller with great curiosity about the world. I remember a story my mother told … Continue reading

Posted in Family history | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments