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.

Pippa, Pouch, and a Paris Publisher

We don’t usually make a big deal of birthdays. Norman’s falls in late winter just as the academic term is winding up. Philippa’s falls in early summer, just as everyone is going away. This year we were in Paris for … Continue reading

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The contra-flâneur

On Friday, October 18, 1974, at 10:30 in the morning, Georges Perec took a seat in the café known as Tabac Saint-Sulpice, and assigned himself the task of observing what happened in the square in front of him. He wanted … Continue reading

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Monsieur Rochefort and his surprising typewriters

When Martin, my typewriter collector friend, invited me to see “a little something from Paris,” I had never heard of the Dactyle typewriter. Nor did I realize I was about to learn the story of a French engineer/inventor who helped … Continue reading

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The invention of the omnibus

Take a good look at this postcard. What do you see? I tend to gravitate to postcards like this because of the rich detail in the buildings – the names of businesses, the façades of the old houses, the advertisements, … Continue reading

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The Paris Bridge That Never Was

It should have been the pride of Paris; a stunning suspension bridge leaping clear across the Seine. It should have been one of the crown jewels of both Paris and the career of Claude Navier, one of 19th-century France’s most … Continue reading

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Pierre Lelong: The search for a 20th-century Post-Impressionist painter

“Is there a library or museum in Paris that will research a painting/artist for you? This is the painting Pop said he bought off a street artist in Paris in 1934 when he was at the Sorbonne. It’s oil on … Continue reading

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Paris Bridges: Mirrors of History

More than beautiful ornaments and a way to cross the Seine, Paris bridges are mirrors of history. They reflect impermanence, bad weather, political turbulence, and much more. The Pont au Change that exists today was built in 1858-1860. As the … Continue reading

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The first time I saw Paris

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my father, John Campsie, 9 April 1921 – 8 February 2014. He passed his love of travel on to me and encouraged me to learn French. The first time I saw Paris, … Continue reading

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Walls within walls

According to an old proverb, “Good fences make good neighbours.” It may or may not be true. But do good walls make good cities? Or, more simply, do walls help make cities? It seems that a wall built during the … Continue reading

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Pugin’s Picturesque Paris

For us, no trip to Paris is complete without time browsing through racks, boxes or bins of old engravings of Paris. We find them at antique fairs, flea markets, galleries, book stores and many other places. Quite a few were … Continue reading

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