Category Archives: Paris history

Avoiding the crowds in Versailles

It may seem impertinent to write about Versailles on Bastille Day, the ultimate Republican holiday, but I am not talking about that Versailles – the royal chateau, now overrun with tourists. I want to talk about the other Versailles – … Continue reading

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Les petits bleus

Elderly guidebooks let you visit Paris in the past. We have three. Two date from 1927 – Muirhead’s Paris and its Environs (Blue Guides), and the Express Guide to Paris and Environs (Publications Anglo-Américaines) – and one from 1950: Nagel’s … Continue reading

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A question of time

What do you remember most vividly about your first visit to Paris? For me, more than 20 years ago, it was the astounding range of merchandise in shops and galleries, the parks, and the cleanliness of the city. For a … Continue reading

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The Rise and Fall of the Visual Telegraph

Sometimes we go looking for blog ideas, and sometimes they come along and tap us persistently on the shoulder. This one did – three times. First, I spotted an “advertorial” in a 1912 issue of a small American magazine called … 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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Get thee to a library

On our last two trips to Paris, much of our time was spent in library research. Here is a picture that our friend Mireille took of us in the library of the Association Valentin Haüy. It consists of one large … Continue reading

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Borders, boundaries, and snails

Toronto has recently completed a Ward Boundary Review, its first since, oh, 2000. City councillors were concerned that some wards had far more voters than others. Population was growing downtown and declining in the inner suburbs. After 17 years, Something … Continue reading

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