In 1964, the 1965 Presidential election was still far away in France. And yet, it was to be a “first” in History: the first direct popular election of the President by the people. (Americans are still waiting) Until then the President was “nominated” by Congress. The real power was in the hands of the Président du Conseil, the Prime Minister. But De Gaulle, having ended the Algerian war, set on restoring France’s place in the world, wanted the legitimacy of a direct vote of the people. That would be 1965. May 1968 came only 3 years later. Meanwhile, in 1964, Paris and France were at peace. And with magnificent weather. (I do remember an entire summer of rain at our house in Normandy, but was in ’65 or ’66). The above: the Invalides*, 1964, probably taken from the Grand-Palais. I wish I could get one of those permits. Foreground left: the Alexandre III bridge.
2015, les Invalides. Another perspective, with the Eiffel tower to the left.
2016. Pont Alexandre III. My favourite bridge in Paris. Or, shall we say, the one with most grandeur.
2016. On the quays, left bank. Love locks lost. After the demise of their “home” on the Pont des arts.
Pont Alexandre III again. 2016. Cross the bridge to the Grand and Petit Palais, left and right.
1964, The Palais-Garnier*, house to the Opéra de Paris.
2015, same place, different time. “Scotty! can you please make smoother Time-shift transitions? Some passengers are getting a bit green!” “Captain, the mike is on. Everybody can hear you in the cabin.” “Oh, really? Hello. This is the Captain speaking, please fasten your seat-belts, the weather in Paris in this particular time-slot is fraught with turbulences.” After shutting the mike: “Did I really say ‘fraught’?” “Yes. Sir. ‘tsall right, we know you can’t help yourself…”
1964. Avaleur de sabres*. Sword swallower. The streets of Paris then were filled (fraught does not apply, does it?) with street entertainers such as this one. The man in the white shirt has shown a long, long sword to the public and then proceeds to swallow the blade. A trick of course. The blade retracts inside the handle. Never saw one, but there were also “montreurs d’ours”, bear handlers, who would have their “tamed” bear perform all sorts of tricks. I vaguely remember seeing one when I was 5 or 6. Not sure.
2014. Rue de Buci, between Saint-Germain and the Seine. A party of English gentlemen singing a capella in the street. Good voices. I never knew whether they were going to a wedding or coming back from a funeral and trying to make some money to catch the ferry back. They sang well, with very good, wide range voices. They all wore sneakers.
1964. The coronation of Joséphine de Beauharnais by the Emperor. Painting by David.
Same. 2016. This immense (30ft by 18) painting was executed by Jacques-Louis David between 1806 and 1807. Napoleon has already crowned himself, taking the crown away from the Pope’s hands, and is now crowning Joséphine. The luxury of the attire represents the high point of the Empire. The coronation took place in 1804. Waterloo was but 11 years away.
1964 images come from “The Paris I love”, printed on the 15th on May 1964. (c) by Editions Sun Paris. World rights reserved. Printed in France by Draeger and Braun. Photographs (marked with a *) by Patrice Molinard. The recent ones are mine.
(Switching the mike back on) “Captain and crew once more wish to thank you for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Travel machine. Back to 2017, the perspective for the French election seems to clear up. Second round is on May 6th (Americas) and 7th (Metropolitan France). Vote for youth.”