Monday, 3 May 2021

Week 18: the troublesome centenary of Napoleon's death

100 years ago this week: Week 18

Paris is marking the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon this year with low-key exhibitions and sober colour supplements. 100 years ago however, the centenary was far more controversial. Given ongoing tensions with Germany, was it appropriate to celebrate the life of an imperialist and one of history's biggest warmongers? If opinions differed wildly in the press, a significant Anglo-French moment in the sporting arena brought more unanimous cheer!

Find out more.

Monday, 26 April 2021

Week 17: Baptistin Travail, a gentleman-burglar fit for the cinema

100 years ago this week: Week 17

When a daring, ingenious and charming French career burglar was arrested in Rio de Janeiro, the press could not help making a link to the rapidly developing film industry. His life, exploits - and arrest - seemed to make a perfect movie scenario, but little did journalists know that the most dramatic was yet to come.

Get your popcorn ready and read on.

Monday, 19 April 2021

Week 16: Red Star win the Coupe de France in an American stadium

100 years ago this week: Week 16

A century ago, Red Star, the football club I follow in France, won its first French Cup. I couldn't ignore that fact in this series! Beyond this simple statistic though, what struck me about the event was the stadium in which the game was played - a facility in Paris built by American soldiers after WW1.

Kick off the centenary celebrations here.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Week 15: Charlot, the criminal acrobat who fell to earth

100 years ago this week: Week 15

Sharing the name of the most popular movie character of the era, a daring acrobat gained his renown by putting his gymnastic skills to criminal ends. This week one hundred years ago, his life in crime came to a sticky end.

Take a leap back into the past here.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Week 14: What was the population of Paris in 1921?

100 years ago this week: Week 14

In April 1921, the first population census of Paris and its surrounding towns for a decade was published. Although I accept this probably fascinates me much more than it might you, I encourage you to dive into the data with me. The numbers reveal a city on the cusp of major changes, and a very different Paris from the one we know today.

Come and mingle with the people here.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Week 13: Cinema in the year 2021

100 years ago this week: Week 13

When I take my trips back into 1921 I feel like an invisible observer of another world. What I didn't expect was to find somebody heading the other way to look into my world! And I certainly didn't expect them to have predicted Netflix, personal video cameras and online dating!

Take a trip into the past and back to the future.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Week 12: Rue de la Paix, then and now

100 years ago this week: Week 12

Turning to the back page of the March 23 edition of the Excelsior newspaper, I was delighted to find a beautiful full-page promotional map highlighting a selection of establishments on the Rue de la Paix and surrounding streets. 

How many of these are still in place today I wondered…

Take a stroll along the street with me to find out.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Week 11: the 50th anniversary of the Paris Commune

100 years ago this week: Week 11

This week in 2021, France is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. How did the country and city commemorate the 50th anniversary in March 1921? If the subject was still politically charged and the date ignored by most papers, on a human level it was fascinating. 100 years ago, surviving witnesses could still be found and interviewed!

Read on to meet some of the characters.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Week 10: Send Away the Tigers

100 years ago this week: Week 10

Life was difficult in Paris in 1921 if you had German heritage – even if you were a tiger. With wounds still open from the terrible conflict and tense discussions ongoing on reparations, the French government made a surprising decision that impacted one of the city’s most popular circuses.

Roll up, roll up for the full story.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Week 9: Bargains at the world's biggest shop

100 years ago this week: Week 9

Some tempting promotions were on offer a century ago at the Palais de la Nouveauté, an eccentric and eclectic store that marketed itself as the world's largest. If most of the city's other 'grands magasins' are today still in operation, this curiously positioned 'palace' was already in decline in 1921.  

Read on to find some bargains.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Week 8: Tanneguy Archdeacon: the prodigal son and the 'accidental' school shooting

100 years ago this week: Week 8

What caused a troubled teenager to kill the cook at his college, and why was the incident hushed up?

Read on for the full story.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Week 7: the deaf, the dumb and the apache

100 years ago this week: Week 7

What happened when a deaf musician met a dumb stranger late at night on the streets of Paris?

Read on to find out more.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Week 6: Fanny Ward, the forgetful - and forgotten - American film star

100 years ago this week: Week 6

The story of a silent film star who couldn't help making a lot of noise.

Read on to find out more.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Week 5: The Moulin...Bleu?

100 years ago this week: Week 5

Everybody knows the Moulin Rouge, but did you know that in the 1920s and 30s a rival with a very similar name was in operation not 200 metres away? I didn't until I saw an advert in a Paris paper from 1921...

Read on to find out more.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Week 4: The Unknown Soldier is placed in the tomb

100 years ago this week: Week 4

A poignant moment in history, overshadowed on the front pages by a portent of further conflict.

Read on to discover the fourth newspaper extract in this series.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Week 3: A baby falls from the sky

100 years ago this week: Week 3

A snapshot of distress and desperation that could have come from a Zola novel or Ken Loach film, but one in which I'd like to imagine a happy ending.

Read on to discover the third snippet in this series.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Week 2: A big noise at “Père Tranquille”

100 years ago this week: Week 2

Thanks for all your kind messages after the first post last week. It's good to be back and good to know that people are still reading! Here's week 2!
 
A not so souper evening....

Monday, 4 January 2021

100 years ago this week

A new year, a new resolution. Invisible Paris has certainly lived up to its name over the last couple of years, but it feels like a time when it would be good for all of us to be a little more visible. Exploring, wandering, researching - hell, even getting outside the house and inside other buildings – has been more complicated than we could have ever imagined in the past year, but can we still look at the unusual and uncelebrated sides of Paris in other ways?
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