Category Archives: Paris history

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

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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

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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

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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

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Finding Café Momus

A few weeks ago, we received the following comment from Martin Nelson in England on our blog about Rooftops: I am a singer, and lived briefly during 1982 in the Palais Royal district, Rue Molière… I had an old 1950 guide … Continue reading

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The Zone

Our visits to Paris always begin and end with a trip through the outskirts of Paris. The train or taxi from the airport travels through residential and industrial suburbs, passing warehouses, high-rise hotels, office buildings, and large sports facilities. Beside … Continue reading

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Zinc

So many sights in Paris pique our curiosity and lead us to learn things we would not have learned otherwise. This blog post began as we thought about the beauty of Paris’s zinc roofs. One could argue that zinc roofs … Continue reading

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Twenty questions

A happy Saint-Sylvestre to you all! A few of you may wonder what that means, but in France, New Year’s Eve is often called by the name of the saint whose day falls on December 31. That fact got us … Continue reading

Posted in Paris churches, Paris history, Paris popular culture, Paris postcards, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Cloches et clochers

On April 15 of this year, as Paris remained in lockdown, one of Notre Dame’s bells rang out to mark a year since the fire that largely destroyed the cathedral’s interior. The bell’s name was Emmanuel, and a grainy still … Continue reading

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