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.

First we take Manhattan, then we take Paree!

I bought my first Eloise book from a secondhand bookstall at school when I was 9 or 10. It was Kay Thompson’s Eloise in Moscow, and I was captivated by Hilary Knight’s illustrations, including a fold-out view of a wintry … Continue reading

Posted in Paris popular culture, Paris travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A Doomed Attempt at Out-Eiffelling Eiffel

Even before its inauguration on March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower was world famous. Loved by some, reviled by others, it would be the world’s tallest building until New York’s Chrysler Building took the lead in 1930. Of course, as … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture, Paris expositions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eking out a living on the streets of Paris

Paris has a reputation as a city of glitz and glamour. But in the early 20th century, beneath the glamour, many barely survived from day to day. In London, journalist and reformer Henry Mayhew had written a multi-volume study, London … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris markets, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A lost member of the not-so-lost generation

The hero in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris, is thrilled to go back in time to the 1920s, where he meets his literary idols Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and members of their circle. Today, many visitors to … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Paris in the year 2000, viewed from 1900

It seems that humans cannot resist dabbling in predicting the future. We have an innate need to ignore Yogi Berra’s clear warning, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” So what did the year 2000 look like from a … Continue reading

Posted in Paris art, Paris popular culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Fifty Ways to Close Your Shutters

On our last visit to Paris in June, we did most of our travelling by bus, which meant time spent waiting at bus stops and journeys on which we gazed out the window at the streets, instead of hurtling through … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The scavengers

Major nineteenth-century cities such as Paris or London depended on complex ecosystems in which the showiest sometimes obscured underlying layers. Consider a city in which by 1900 it was said that as many as 300,000 cigars (perhaps the number included … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris popular culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments