Monthly Archives: May 2011

Out of This World Exhibition

Yesterday I popped along to the Out of this World exhibition at one of my very favourite places, the British Library. It’s a thoroughly diverting exploration of the history of sci-fi literature and well worth a visit. Any serious exhibition that manages to work in a quote from Groundhog Day – “Well, what if there […]

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Lost Paris: The Elephant on the Place de la Bastille

Of all the strange monuments that ever appeared on the Parisian skyline (and there have been a few), one of the most outlandish is surely the Elephant that occupied the Place de la Bastille in the wake of the Revolution.   The Bastille prison had been despised by Parisians for many reasons, not least among […]

Posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Animals, French History, Historical Places, Lost Paris, Paris | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost Paris: A snapshot of 1730s Paris

Lost Paris

This wonderful, 33 megapixel, zoomable marvel is known as the Turgot Map of Paris, and it’s a remarkable document in all sorts of ways. I like to imagine that were you to be offered the chance to drift above Paris in a hot air balloon in the 1730s (disregarding the fact that this was impossible, […]

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Lost Paris: A new series

Lost Paris. It’s one of those phrases that sounds so much more poetic in French: Paris Disparu. Listen, you can practically hear the sad wind whistling around those forgotten streets. Paris, it seems to me, has more than its fair share of lieux de mémoire – those places where history “crystallizes and secretes itself”, where it seeps […]

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Echoes of the Past – Song in the History of Paris

The Historical Society blog has published a very interesting interview with Robert Darnton about his new book, Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris. He talks about how popular song became the means by which 18th-century Parisians – starved of all but heavily censored printed news sources – shared news, rumour and gossip. Popular […]

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