Category Archives: Paris architecture

Entresol

Thinking about the chambres de bonne last month reminded me of another distinctive space found in many older Paris buildings – the entresol. It, too, provided a space where servants might sleep, unless it was being used for storage or … Continue reading

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Chambre de bonne

When I was a student in Paris, I lived in a chambre de bonne (maid’s room) at the top of a building on the corner of the rue du Ranelagh and the rue Raynouard in the 16th arrondissement. My room … Continue reading

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Rooftops

One of our favourite TV programs, Dix Pour Cent/Call My Agent,* opens with the following image, taken either from the roof of the Louvre or from a drone. It is never on screen for more than a few seconds, and … Continue reading

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Empty streets

Birdsong. That’s what I hear these days when I wake up. Not the sounds of neighbours going to work or getting the kids ready for school. But the sound of robins and sparrows and starlings. I hope our friends in … Continue reading

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Art Nouveau and Aerodynamics in Auteuil

The southern reaches of the 16th arrondissement might be considered the Wild West of Paris. Auteuil was largely countryside when Haussmann was at work on central Paris, and his ideas about tidy facades that lined up neatly never stood much … Continue reading

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The ugliest building in Paris

In the last blog, I mentioned Gabriel Davioud, who is credited with designing some of the classic street furniture of Paris. I wanted to know more about him. That proved to be a challenge. The ordinarily helpful Gallica offered 25 … Continue reading

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A web of friends and a ceremony in a former corset factory

For many, Paris is the City of Light, grand museums, or extravagant shopping forays. For us, it is the City of Surprises, and now, a city of friends. Several years ago, when we started research on the history of communications … Continue reading

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Gustave Eiffel did not sleep here

On a recent visit to Laywine’s, our favourite pen and stationery store in Toronto, Philippa picked up a desk pad made by the French paper firm Exacompta, and found the following note on the front: Made in the heart of … Continue reading

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Paris Elevators: A Tiny Story

I am sure many of our readers have stayed in those small hotels that are so typical of Paris. Over the years they have been reconfigured to add modern conveniences that were not in the original design. We remember one … Continue reading

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Rescued from oblivion

On the morning of April 12, 2016, three of us set out from this courtyard on an astounding walk through the Marais. But the story starts much earlier. In 1980, a sharp-eyed passerby spotted some photographs in a Paris dumpster … Continue reading

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