Here's a selection of images of France Autrefois - from yesteryear, with recent photos for comparsion. These and other 'then and now' photos of France can be found in my ebook Autrefois - France of Yesteryear & Today:.
At 325 meters (1,066 feet) the Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Paris. If you don't count radio towers, it was the tallest structure in France until the Viaduc de Millau passed it in 2004. This all means that you can get a good view of the Eiffel Tower from many locations in Paris. This view is from the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, once known as the Pont de Passy. You can also get a great view from line 6 of the Paris metro that passes over Pont de Bir-Hakeim.
Then: Postcard sent in 1902, surrounding the Eiffel Tower are buildings from the Exposition Universelle of 1900.
Jeune Eléphant Pris au Piège Palais du Trocadéro/Musée d'Orsay
This statue was created by Emmanuel Fremiet for the Exposition Universelle of 1878 and displayed in front of the Palais du Trocadéro. In 1936, when the Palais du Trocadéro was demolished to make room for the Palais de Chaillot, the Jeune Eléphant Pris au Piège was moved to the Porte de Saint-Cloud. In 1986 the statue was restored and moved to its present location in front of the Musée d'Orsay.
In the statue the elephant is trapped with a rope around its left foot - Pris au Piège. There is a beast trying to bite at the trapped left foot and the rope is connected to a weight. Fremiet also created the statue of Joan of Arc in Place des Pyramides. There are two other animal statues that were on the Trocadéro during the Exposition Universelle de 1878 that are also now installed in front of the Musée d'Orsay, Le Rhinocéros by Alfred Jacquemart and Le Cheval à la Herse by Pierre Louis Rouillard. A fourth statue, Taureau by Isidore Bonheur is in Parc Georges-Brassens in Paris.
Then: Postcard dated June 11th, 1909.
The Rhone might be longer, the Dordogne might get more sun and the Loire might have its chateaux, but the Seine is still France's most famous river. From its beginnings in Burgundy until it flows into La Manche, the English Channel, the Seine is the vein of France. It divides Paris, encircles it's heart - Île de la Cité and its banks define a bygone era - Rive Gauche.
Here is a classic view of the Seine in Paris with the Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexandre III. Slightly right of center in the then photo you can make out the faint pillars of the Palais du Trocadéro. You'll also notice that the Fames of Pont Alexandre III watch over the bridge and the river. These photos were taken from Pont de la Concorde looking downstream.
Then: Undated postcard.
Place du Châtelet
Place du Châtelet is situated where the Grand-Châtelet, best known for housing the first morgue in Paris, once stood. The Grand-Châtelet protected Grand Pont, where Pont au Change now stands and from where both photos were taken. Châtelet means small castle, often built to protect a bridge.
Between 1802 and 1810 Grand-Châtelet was demolished and the open space became Place du Châtelet. Place du Châtelet expanded between 1855 and 1856. In the center of Place du Châtelet is Fontaine du Palmier that moved over the years as Place du Châtelet grew and changed. The building on the right is Théâtre du Châtelet, built during Baron Haussmann's renovation of Paris.
Historically Place du Châtelet was a transportation hub. That's still true today as Place du Châtelet is served by 5 metro lines, 14 bus lines and is within walking distance of RER station Châtelet - Les Halles and lines A, B and D.
Then: Postcard postmarked October 15th, 1908.
L'Escalier Sainte-Marie/Rue Paul Albert
This street changed names not long after its creation in 1867. After starting as L'Escalier Sainte-Marie, it then became rue Sainte-Marie when it was lengthened in 1870 and then finally rue Paul Albert in 1907.
As this postcard dates from 1909, it's likely that locals (or the photographer) didn't start using the official name straightaway.
Located at the foot of Paris' main hill Montmartre at the intersection of Rue Paul Albert, Rue André Del Sarte, Rue Ronsard and Charles Nodier.
Then: Postcard postmarked August 18th, 1909.
Le Cabaret du Lapin Agile-Rue des Saules
This world famous Montmartre cabaret, gets its name from a picture of a rabbit painted by André Gill in 1875. The then owner requested a logo and Gill came up with a rabbit. The building dates back to 1795 and was first used commercially as an inn, starting around 1860. The cabaret of today developed over time and Gill's drawing, known as the Lapin à Gill, became Lapin Agile. The cabaret got a boost from the fact it was outside the Mur des Fermiers Généraux, a wall not to protect Paris, but to tax the goods entering the city. At the time Montmartre wasn't part of Paris. Goods taxed included wine, making drinking at cabarets like Lapin Agile less expensive than in the city.
Le Cabaret du Lapin Agile is on the corner of Rue des Saules and Rue Saint-Vincent. Looking up from Rue des Saules you'll notice the last vineyards in Montmartre.
Then: Postcard postmarked December 8th, 1917.
Église Saint-François et les Canaux
This Baroque church built in 1614 is a good example as to why Annecy is known as the Venice of the Alps, as the River Thiou runs beside it. Named after Saint François De Sales, one of the area's most important religious person, this church was almost destroyed during the French Revolution.
Originally built as a chapel for the Monastère de la Sainte Source (Holy Source Monastery), over the centuries this church has been use as military barracks, factory and workshop. It became a church again in 1923 and was restored in 2003.
Then: Postcard dated May 27th, 1919.
Rue Sainte-Claire, once the heart of medieval Annecy, is today Annecy's tourist center with merchants and traders shops replaced with by restaurants and souvenir sellers. Luckily the street you see today has kept its charm, and many of the buildings still have their original facades and archways.
Then: Postcard dated August 18th, 1902.
La Place et Le Mont Blanc
This square, Place Charles Albert is a good example of Sallanches' many open spaces. The town might be in a valley but it doesn't seem confined.
In the center of Place Charles Albert is la Fontaine et la Statue de la Paix - fountain and statue of peace. It was built for the centenary of the French revolution. The fountain is dedicated to the glory of the revolution, and is topped by a statue of peace holding an olive branch. On the four sides of the statue are four lions on pedestals.
Then: Postcard dated August 17th, 1911.
This close up of the train station in Chalon-sur-Saône shows that the station itself looks very similar but that the road in front has changed over the years.
Then: Postcard postmarked September 7th, 1903.
On the Web
Photo Walks: Discover the Chamonix Valley with Teresa Kaufman's photo walks.
Vagabond Tax: Living abroad is an adventure but your US expat tax returns don't have to be. We know that filing your US taxes while you're away may seem daunting, but we can simplify it for you. American citizens abroad are still responsible for filing a US tax return even though your income may be excluded and possibly no tax is owed. Let our team of knowledgeable and friendly CPA's help you...
Paris à l'envers: Offers guided walks in Paris, provides you a personal guide during your stay in the capital, helps companies organize programs and guided tours and will be also a coach for expat or expat spouse.
End of Winter Reading
Eight Months in Provence: A Junior Year Abroad 30 Years Late
This fun and inspiring story will make great summer reading and shows that it is never too late to fulfill a long held dream.
For thirty years, Diane Covington-Carter dreamed of living in France and immersing herself in the country and language that spoke to her heart and soul.
At age fifty, she set off to fulfill that yearning.
Journey along with her as she discovers missing pieces of her own personal puzzle that could only emerge in French.
Most of all, Covington-Carter learned that a long cherished dream can become even more powerful from the waiting.
France in Four Seasons: More Tales from my French Village (Tout Sweet Book 5): Former newspaper fashion editor, Karen Wheeler, has written four popular books celebrating the joys of living the simple life in France. Her latest book, the fifth in the series, is a collection of short stories based on her newspaper articles, magazine columns and other writings about France. France in Four Seasons is a series of short (and sweet) anecdotes, designed to give a delightful and evocative insight into French life as the seasons unfold.
A Garden In Sarlat: Fulfilling an ambition to run a bed and breakfast in The Dordogne: When David and Wendy made the decision to sell almost everything they owned and walk away from the businesses they had spent years building up they never doubted for a minute that their new life running a bed and breakfast in the Dordogne valley, South-West France would be harder work than anything they had tried before. They knew that it was a massive gamble. Their friends called them brave. Their families thought that they had either gone completely mad or were dreaming of a delusional easy life in the sun. In the event none of these assumptions were completely accurate. Moving and funny, this is the story of the trials and tribulations involved in buying and converting their new house. The challenges of starting a new business in a foreign land, speaking a language they had struggled to learn thirty years previously and had since forgotten. But ultimately of fulfilling their ambition to work, laugh and play in the beautiful town of Sarlat.
Global Insurance Net: If you are thinking about moving to France you will need health insurance to get your visa. A great company that will help you with this is Global Insurance Net. I found out about Global Insurance Net in 2003 through another expat and have been recommending them ever since with no regrets. Carlos Perez the President, CEO of Global Insurance Net has always been very easy to work with.
Chez Peshi in Burgundy: A Chez Peshi vacation holiday in Burgundy's wine country is an opportunity to experience the real France and enjoy one of the most captivating regions of Europe. Chez Peshi is a fully-furnished private home in Saisy, a farm village minutes west of the charming, medieval market-town of Nolay. It is at the center of a vast area considered among the most beautiful in France - a region of stunning scenery, unbounded outdoor opportunities, three thousand years of fascinating history, castles and chateaux, Roman antiquities, cathedrals and monasteries, quiet winding canals, palate-pleasing gastronomy and, of course, the world's finest wines.