Category Archives: Paris history

Learning to see: Emily Carr in France

She arrived in Paris with her trunks, her sister Alice, and a malevolent grey parrot called Rebecca. She had purchased Rebecca in Liverpool, where the ship from Canada had docked, and brought the disagreeable bird the rest of the way by … Continue reading

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American clubs and Canadian fists

“We went to the American Club.” The words sound simple enough. But if you want to identify the address in question, complications arise. It depends on who is talking and when. Paris is positively littered with sites that are or … Continue reading

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A bird lover’s guide to Paris

This is one of my favourite photographs from Paris. I use it as the wallpaper on my desktop computer, so that every day, when I sit down to work, I feel for a second that I am taking my place … Continue reading

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Enough to make a cow laugh

New Year’s is a time of cleaning up and clearing out, and to that end I have unsubscribed from all kinds of newsletters and mass mailings to keep my head clear and my inbox manageable. But I’m keeping a few, … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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