Category Archives: Paris history

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

Posted in Paris bridges, Paris history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Paris history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Paris art, Paris history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lutetia, viewed by a 19th-century historian

I have a weakness – no, a fondness – no, a passion for old maps of Paris. On a visit a year or so ago, I bought three old maps from an antiquarian bookseller. During our annual New Year’s tidy-up, … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris maps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Remembering the Great Paris Flood of 1910

This blog is dedicated to my son Alex, his wife Dawn, and their two children who, on September 12, 2013, were evacuated from a home to which they can not return to escape the ravages of the Colorado flood. With … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris metro, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Paris in the First World War

It’s that time of year again. The poppy-sellers are out on the streets of Toronto, and soon, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we will stop what we are doing for a minute or … Continue reading

Posted in Paris churches, Paris history, Paris postcards, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Le Musée Valentin Haüy: A different vision of history

This is no ordinary terrestrial globe. And you’ll find it in a museum that is anything but ordinary. When we move in closer, we find that it is labelled in Braille. And the map shown below is not your average … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris museums | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mushrooms, manure, and the secret of French food

Recently, at The Astrolabe Gallery, a print and map store on Sparks Street in Ottawa, I chanced upon a page from the London Illustrated News, Dec. 4, 1869. Two woodcuts depicted “Mushroom Culture in France.” The “entrance to a mushroom … Continue reading

Posted in Paris food, Paris gardens, Paris history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Death and taxes

Whenever I buy postcards or other pictures of Paris, I gravitate to anything unfamiliar. So when I was leafing through some inexpensive engravings at an antiques fair on the Place St-Sulpice in June, I was immediately drawn to this one. … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture, Paris history, Paris maps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

An honourable education

Every time we plan a trip to Paris, we have a list of things we want to do there. And every time we get to Paris, we end up doing fewer than half of those things. After all, opportunities arise … Continue reading

Posted in Paris churches, Paris history | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments