Paris of the Past

Discover Paris of a bygone era

Looking to venture into Paris of the past and discover the world of a bygone era? Paris is filled with hidden spots that divulge secrets of its past, just waiting to be discovered.

Paris is and always has been a booming city, but especially so at the turn of the 20th century. Paris had just proved to the entire world at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 that it had some of the world’s greatest architects and mastered the art of engineering with the Eiffel Tower. The iconic Paris Metro stations, done up in the Art Nouveau style opened their entrances in 1900. This time in the history of Paris is commonly referred to as ‘The Belle Époque’ or ‘La Belle Époque’, typically commencing in 1871 and ending when World War I began in 1914. This period is characterized by lish optimism, peace at home and in Europe, new technology and scientific discoveries. The peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish, and many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition.

Arts et Métiers Paris Métro Station, 75003
Translated into English, Arts et Métiers means “Arts and Crafts”. While the station isn’t in its original design, it was redone in 1994 by a Belgian artist, Francois Schuiten, to honor the works of Jules Verne. Famous for his epic works of science fiction, Verne was chosen as the inspiration for the aesthetic as the redesign was meant to coincide with the bicentenary of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. The particular style of the station decor is classified as “steampunk.” This term relates to sci-fi worlds that are often characterized by steam-powered machinery in rapidly advancing westernized civilizations. The engineering of the past has been incorporated into the design of this modern train system with a look that reminds us of the futuristic worlds created in so many Victorian novels.

Jean-Baptiste Larrivé Door
The intricately decorated doors located in the 7th arrondisement are a fine example of the dynamic, undulating and flowing lines that are exemplary of the times. While studying at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, Larrivé won a competition organized by the city of Paris for decoration of a building designed by the architect, Jules Lavirotte.
29 Avenue Rapp, 7ème

L’Arbre à Cannelle: The Passages of Time
At one point in time, Paris was dotted with over 140 covered passages that allowed for shoppers and pedestrians to seek refuge from the bustling streets in the gas-lit and heated “passages couverts”. The covered passages were lined with elegant shops, fashionable eateries, small theatres, reading rooms and even public baths. They were the place to be seen and were the stomping ground of the elegant urban dandies. Today, only about 16 of them are still operating, with one of the most beautiful being the Passage des Panoramas.
57 passage des Panoramas, 2ème

Bofinger: The Temple
This historic brasserie is tucked away down a side street, which probably helped it not to become a tourist trap over the years. The most striking feature of Bofinger, has to be its grand dome in the dining hall which was designed by Gustav Eiffel (yes, as in the Eiffel Tower). The brasserie famous for its oysters, onion soup and foie gras has always attracted a clientele of famous French writers, academics and politicians. In fact almost every French president has eaten or eats regularly at Bofinger.
5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 4ème

Crémerie-Restaurant Polidor
The interior of the restaurant is basically unchanged for over 100 years, and the style of cooking remains that of the late 19th century. Polidor is best known for its illustrious clientele. It is said to have been a favourite of André Gide’s, as well as hosting James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Antonin Artaud, Jack Kerouac, and Henry Miller. Those that are fans of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” will recognize this restaurant as being the place where Owen Wilson’s character initially ran into Hemingway.
41 rue Monsieur-le-Prince, 6ème

Musée des Arts Forains
A private museum of funfair objects located within the Pavillons de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement of Paris at 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France. The museum was created by Jean-Paul Favand, an actor and antiques dealer, from his private collection. It opened to the public in 1996, and now contains a variety of objects dating between 1850-1950 including 14 amusement rides, 16 fair stalls and restored attractions, 18 sets of historical works, and 1522 independent works. The collections include merry-go-rounds and carousels, German swings, hundred-year-old bicycles, Japanese billiards, a Parisian Waiter Race and a Hooghuys Organ. This too, was seen in Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris” when Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard are out dancing near the carousel with Djuna Barnes.
53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 12ème


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