Saturday, September 30, 2017


I hope you are wearing your beret and sipping some absinthe, because today we are visiting Paris (the City of Lights!) - sometime in the 1950's. And while Paris is a large and populous city, we'll only be seeing the 5th and 6th arrondissements - the Latin Quarter. Next week, the pig-Latin Quarter. 

This undated image shows a charming street scene at the intersection of Rue St. Jacques and Rue Gay-Lussac (we're facing south). Where's Audrey Hepburn?! Maybe we don't need her, that stylish blonde is pretty elegant as she peruses the produce of an outdoor market.; perhaps she bought fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Four children are mighty interested in something. Candy? I just love the old building, the European cars, and the distant fence to our left that is covered in posters.

Here's a Google Maps screen grab. Something has happened to Paris! Some nefarious person (Doctor No? Blofeld? Scaramanga? ) has scrubbed away all of the charm of the former scene with some kind of fiendish device, leaving it looking sterile and kind of sad. The produce stand has been replaced by an ATM.

Next we have a few picturesque buildings, looking suitably ancient. I was unable to identify this area, but maybe you can do it! Some of those automobiles appear to go back to the 1930's. Right on the corner is a wagonload of what looks like tangerines. Or tomatoes? Let's go to the coiffeur and get a stylish 'do, then buy some liquor some souvenirs. Oo-la-la!


Nanook said...


Fantastique-! I see there's a light green Renault Dauphine in that first image. Renault, Renault, Renault Dauphine - with the city horn [beep-beep] and the country horn [beep-beep].... Ah, who could forget that jingle-? Okay - I could only remember that part of it.

Merci, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I think those kids in the first pic are shoplifting a persimmons. These pics are tres magnifique, Major!

Scott Lane said...

Tres bon et tres belle! I think I'll dust off my high school French and talk like Maurice Chevalier all day.

K. Martinez said...

Great street views of Paris, Makes me want to watch Louis Malle's "Le Feu Follete" again just for the street scenes of mid-century Paris. Nice pics today. Thanks, Major.

Pegleg Pete said...

Thanks, Major – these are some swell views of a Paris that doesn't really exist anymore. Try as I might, I can't find the location of the second photograph; it certainly looks like any number of spots in the Latin Quarter but I can't pin it down to any of them with which I'm familiar. Those faded paintings on that building on the right are especially evocative of lost Paris. Thanks, again.

Melissa said...

Paris in the Fifties!
Somewhere out of frame, Jacques Brel tosses his 150th Gauloise of the day into the gutter, realizes he just rhymed l’amour with toujours, and curses himself as a bourgeois hack as he laughs the hollow laugh of the disillusioned idealist.

Souvenirs, jewelry, stationery, AND office supplies? Sacred bleu, Madeline’s got it all!

( I couldn't find a video of Brel singing “Madeleine” with English subtitles, so the first URL is the song, and the second is the translation.)

Melissa said...

Oh, and I was really disappointed when I finally got to try absinthe. It tasted nice, but no intoxicating buzz whatsoever. And I intoxicate incredibly easily.

Sunday Night said...

That first photo is unbelievably great. It almost looks like it was set up for the picture.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I was not sure of your car expertise extended to European models. My knowledge ends at Citroen.

TokyoMagic!, somehow it would just figure that French kids would steal persimmons instead of candy!

Scott Lane, you should talk like Maurice Chevalier EVERY day.

K. Martinez, I would watch that Louis Malle film again too, only I’ve never heard of it. Does it have cool space ships and CGI dinosaurs?

Pegleg Pete, yeah, I was frustrated trying to ID that second photo. I’m glad you noticed the faded paintings; one of them looks like an American bald eagle - I think. If we COULD figure out the location, I can guarantee that the buildings have been scrubbed clean and lack any funky characteristics.

Melissa, wait a minute, I thought you were a Serge Gainsbourg fan! Or maybe I imagined it. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure you have mentioned Jacques Brel before. Did he happen to sing a song called “Melissa”?!

Melissa II… absinthe not intoxicating?! That stuff is strong! My old room mate and another friend got seriously into absinthe a few years ago, and I still remember walking into my apartment, the whole place swimming with alcohol fumes as the two guys sat there trying to not be drunk. Or are you referring to the supposed *other* effects that absinthe is said to have? Not sure what those are exactly, except that you might be driven mad!

Sunday Night, I’m glad you liked it!

Melissa said...

If they were drinking it straight, that was probably the difference. I was drinking Green Fairy cocktails, which are pretty diluted now that I look at the recipe.

I do love Gainsbourg and Mireille and all the great chansonniers, but Brel’s my favorite. As far as I know, the Allman Brothers are the only ones who've sung about Melissa.

I think the Major and Scott Lane are onto something. Forget pirates; we should have an annual Talk Like Maurice Chevalier Day! (Straw boater helpful but not mandatory.)

Dean Finder said...

By coincidence, I was wearing a beret on Saturday. Wish I had visited GDB yesterday.