Category Archives: Paris civic functions

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 Other Great Nineteenth-Century Tower of Paris

The story begins in a photograph shop in the Village St-Paul. I was browsing among the stereograph cards, when I came across something that looked like this. It captivated me. I say “looked like,” because this is not the same … Continue reading

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The art and purpose of the colonne sèche

The Parisienne colonne sèche is not a medical condition or procedure. However, a colonne sèche could be very good for your health, particularly in the event of a fire. There is no need to look hang-dog about it. Paris is … Continue reading

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Lighting the City of Light

Opinion is divided on whether the name “City of Light” refers to the brilliant minds of the city’s 18th-century philosophers, or to the brightly illuminated streets of the capital. There are arguments to be made on both sides. If the … Continue reading

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Sailing ships and rowboats

Père Lachaise Cemetery, spring 2010. I took this photograph, wondering what on earth a “caveau depositoire” might be. Turns out it is a temporary storage spot for bodies awaiting burial. But what attracted my attention at first was the image … Continue reading

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The balcony scene

The painter Gustave Caillebotte and his brother, photographer Martial Caillebotte, loved balconies. They frequently painted and photographed people standing on ornate balconies overlooking wide boulevards, gazing down at the passing scene below.* And sometimes they set up an easel or … Continue reading

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Men in green

The first one we noticed was right under the window of our hotel room. It was 1995 and we were staying on a narrow street in the 6th. Actually, it was the broom that caught our attention first. It was … Continue reading

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