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?

I’ve decided to be more disciplined, and set myself a mission. In 2021, once a week I will publish a snippet from a newspaper from that same week 100 years ago. These newspaper cuttings will cover a wide variety of topics as I have no idea what I will find. It probably won't be the major topics of the day, but will instead – I hope – focus on the incidents, features, adverts, small ads and people that will give a flavour of life in Paris in 1921. The Invisible Paris of 100 years ago perhaps!

The structure will be simple; the newspaper cutting, the translation into English, a mini-analysis if necessary (why it caught my eye!) and any contemporary elements I think will enhance the story (photos, Google Street View…). Week one just below!

A very happy and healthy new year to everyone. May the year ahead be full of exploration!

Week One – an explosive start to the year

Gun fight, rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

Monday evening, in a bar situated on the corner of the rue Saint-Georges and the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, a man named Maisonneuve was standing at the counter drinking a coffee. Outside, some shady individuals were observing him. As soon as he left the establishment, they shot at him with revolvers, something he was no doubt expecting as he replied immediately.

Projectiles splattered haphazardly against the facades of neighbouring buildings, notably the Hôtel des Annales. The windows of the bar were smashed to smithereens.

At the sound of gunfire, the police ran to the scene and the attackers took off.

Maisonneuve, who had his left leg fractured by a bullet, was arrested and taken to the Lariboisière hospital.

There, the police inspector who had come to seek information on the identity of the attackers, received this reply:

"It's none of your business"


Stepping 100 years back into the past takes us to the 1920s - les années folles! Immediately we think of art, music, dancing, art deco architecture... I'm not sure if this Paris will appear during this year of newspaper archives, but immediately I find a different Paris - one that seems more like Chicago! Described here n the pages of Le Petit Parisien, the incident - a gunfight in the centre of the city - appears banal, ending with a touch of absurd humour.

The scene of the crime

This neighbourhood in the 9th arrondissement of Paris is today chic and wealthy. It is though just a street or two from Pigalle, and we can quite easily imagine a different atmosphere 100 years ago when criminal gangs controlled much of the area. There is still a bar/restaurant at the location mentioned in the article, but the scene of the crime was certainly much more rudimentary. The only other location mentioned no longer exists in its current form. The Hôtel des Annales (on the right of the photo) – struck by bullets and shrapnel that evening – became the theatre Saint-Georges in 1929, and no bullet holes can be seen on the façade today!


Peter (the other) said...

Yea! 2021 better already.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea and your first article since I always stay right by this location in 9e. I think the area also contained numerous small, working class-grade brothels at the time too, convenient to the many music halls and other entertainment venues located nearby.

Unknown said...

A year after the end of WW1 - will be interesting to see how far we have come.

Anonymous said...

Following up on Unknown's comment wondering how far have we come, I should add to my post (the one just before Unknown's) that I live in Chicago. Enough said!

C-Marie said...

So glad the blog is back!! I have not been to France, but I love history, so thank you!! Great picture!!
God bless, C-Marie

Susan said...

Good to see the blog back.

Annabella Bray said...

Great idea Invisible Paris! As an historian myself, I love falling down the rabbit holes that perusing old newspapers can bring. This first one is hilarious! Although perhaps not for local residents at the time....I look forward to more posts.

Gavin said...

I love this this new direction for Invisible Paris, what a great idea! I'm really pleased to see the blog back up and running. This has made my day. I look forward to reading the no doubt fascinating insights into Parisian life that you will unearth over the coming months.

Carol in Humboldt Co., CA said...

The re-appearance of Invisible Paris e is just whatI needed to help me believe that I may yet get another trip to Paris! After years of coming annually (my reward for teaching and making it to retirement), I thought I would never visit (even virtually) again. You're my favorite fellow traveler, having provided me with so many delightful walks and adventures over the years. The clipping idea is terrific, and it will give me reading practice in the bargain. Many thanks, and stay in good health.

Unknown said...

Glad to have you back. I look forward to reading these posts. Great idea.

public squares said...

Happy New Year, hopefully better than the last, glad to see you back. Aleks, Toronto

Cergie said...

Bonjour Adam et meilleurs voeux d'heureuse année à toi !
C'est une bonne idée de revenir sur des événements arrivés 100 années jour pour jour en arrière et qui ont mérité d'être relatés dans un journal, événements oubliés depuis la plupart du temps !

Du coup je me permets de rappeler que j'ai moi même été sur les lieux du crime relaté par le Parisien du 10 mai 2014 et ce seulement trois jours avant qu'il ne se déroule. Comme une prémonition vois tu. J'ai publié le vendredi 7 mai des photos du Père Lachaise prises le samedi 4 mai, le meurtre ayant été accompli le mercredi 7 mai.

Cergie said...

Un autre endroit où j'ai été fortuitement en même temps qu'un dépeceur c'est la rue des Batignolles, j'ai photographié cette façade de café avant de savoir que Luka Rocco Magnotta était passé par là au même moment (voir ICI). Il me semble. Car il faudrait un peu pousser les recherches pour vérifier les dates.
Ce type de rencontre ne m'arrivera sans doute plus de sitôt car depuis que mes petits-fils ont déménagé à Rome je traîne moins à Paris.

Bonne continuation Adam ! Quel plaisir de voir que tu es toujours aussi perspicace et persévérant

Thérèse said...

Evénements certainement soit oubliés, soit jamais connus de nous. Merveilleuse idée.
Bonne année donc sereine, en noir et blanc probablement pour ce blog et en couleurs en dehors.

Colin said...

Great idea. I love reading about these little events of history.

Philippa said...

What a splendid plan! I look forward to following along.

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