Series Archives: Lost Paris

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 Arènes de Lutèce, the Surprising Roman Arena in a Sleepy Parisian Square

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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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Lost Paris: A Night at the Palais-Royal

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Lost Paris: All the Fun of the Fairs

February in medieval Paris can’t have been much fun. When the sun went south for the winter, the city must have been a gloomy place, returning to its prehistoric origins as a swamp (the city’s Roman name, Lutetia, derives from lutum, Latin for mud, according to one persuasive theory) and life for your average Parisian […]

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Lost Paris: The Pont Neuf, ‘the Eiffel tower of the Ancien Régime’

In the next three posts in the Lost Paris series, I’m going to be looking at the Pont Neuf, the fair held annually at Saint-Germain, and the Palais Royal. Though two of these three still exist, and are probably high on any visitor’s must-see list, what they are today is but a shadow of what […]

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Lost Paris: The Cimetière des Innocents

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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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Lost Paris: A snapshot of 1730s 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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