Place Maubert, 1964*
I discovered Place Maubert in 1970, not very long after this photo. I was starting College up the hill, at the Collège Sainte-Barbe, close to the Panthéon. After class one would walk down Rue Valette, then Rue des Carmes, cross Rue des Ecoles, and arrive at Place Maubert, on the Boulevard Saint-Germain and catch the metro. The cars still had wooden doors that could be opened manually between stations. That would be a no-no to-day. Security. “Non, monsieur, c’est interdit!” Maubert was a popular neighbourhood then, with an open air market that still goes on. Look at the children by the stairs. The blue-collar man with a cap on. A discarded baby carriage on the street to the right. You can catch a glimpse of Notre-Dame at the end of the street to the left. All dark and sooty.
Place Maubert today is all “bourgeois”.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). He witnessed the fall of the Monarchy in 1848. The rise – and fall – of the second Republic. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte’s coup d’état and the second Empire. The defeat at Sedan in 1870. The third Republic and the beginning of WWI. He died one year short of the end of WWI. His superb house and garden have been transformed into to-day’s Musée Rodin. An absolute must in any Paris visit.
Les bourgeois de Calais. c. 2015. During the 100 year war with our English “cousins”, in 1347, Calais was under siege by King Edward III of England. To ensure that the population would not be slaughtered, the six richest “bourgeois” of Calais, led by Eustache de Saint-Pierre, surrendered to the English, dressed in a chemise, a long “shirt” which then the undergarment, with the keys of the city and a rope around their neck to be hanged, in sacrifice for the population to be spared. They were eventually pardoned and not executed. Today Calais is the converging point of many migrants who try to hop on lorries to enter the UK. Mankind never learns, right?
“The shade”, c.1964 in Rodin’s gardens.*
Hotel de ville, City hall, c.1964*. This is the exact angle of Doisneau’s famous “Baiser de l’Hôtel de ville” (The kiss at City Hall). Note the vintage Citroën automobile in the centre behind the newspaper delivery man and his bicycle, and the Peugeot 203 to the left. We had a Peugeot just like that in the early sixties.
City Hall today. c. 2016. Always a place of enormous power City Hall houses the ambitions of many a future Presidential candidate. (God spare us from Anne Hidalgo please!)
The Arc de triomphe, place de l’Etoile. Construction started in 1806, under Napoleon’s reign to celebrate his military triumphs/victories and lasted 30 years until 1836, under the reign of Louis-Philippe, the last king of France. A true Parisian (at heart) I’ve never climbed the stairs up to the top. I know. I will get therapy.
Arc de triomphe, 1964*, probably taken from the Avenue de Wagram. It is now prohibited to feed the pigeons. Note the line on the old lady’s hose… Stitched in those days…
Arc de triomphe, c. 2015. The bas-relief, or ronde-bosse to the right is the representation by sculptor François Rude of “La Marseillaise”. (In French “rude” means “rough”, not ill-mannered). And to the right:
The Roman style celebration of Napoleon’s victories: a winged angel or deity to the right places a laurel wreath on Napoleon’s head. Sculptor: Jean-Pierre Cortot.
1964 images come from “The Paris I love”, printed on the 15th of 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.
The Captain, Chief Engineer Scotty and crew thank you ever so much for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle and wish you a safe week wherever you land.