Category Archives: 19th Century

Lost Paris: Destruction and Renewal on the Île de la Cité

This Lost Paris series has ended up being a tad melancholy, which isn’t really what I intended. More than anything what seems to have come through in the stories of these forgotten places and faded flashes of light in the city’s history is a sense that when you visit Paris today, you’re experiencing the grey […]

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Lost Paris: The Dark (and Dirty) History of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont

There are certain places in the world where sadness collects and seeps into the ground; certain gnarls, certain pockmarks, certain flaws that crept in during the formation of the face of the earth, which can never heal. Here is a picture of one of them. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont, by Jean-Louis Vandevivère via Wikimedia Commons. […]

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Did Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love Ever Really Reign at the Moulin Rouge?

Yesterday found me watching Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!. This, I must confess, is not an entirely uncommon occurrence. In fact, were I to feed all my innermost preferences into some kind of film-making robot and send it off for a few months, it’d probably come back with something very like Moulin Rouge! in the can. […]

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Lost Paris: The Cimetière des Innocents

There are lost parts of Paris that grab at your heartstrings. You yearn to rediscover them, to experience what it would have been like be there for a stolen evening. There are parts of lost Paris that should never have been allowed to die, whose absence, whether anyone still feels it or not, is a […]

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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 […]

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