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NewsletterMay 2016

Île de la Cité - Then & Now

Postcard postmarked May 22nd, 1911.


It's difficult to believe today but at one time Île de la Cité was Paris. It was walled and accessed via bridges. Just in case you forget, any map of Paris will remind you, as half of the island is in the 1er Arrondissement, the 1st of Paris' 20 districts. Today Île de la Cité is best known as the home of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and the less visited Sainte-Chapelle with its amazing 13th-century stained glass. Île de la Cité is also to a certain degree the center of France, as in front of Notre-Dame you'll find the French kilometer zero.
View from Pont des Arts. The bridge in the photo is Pont Neuf - 'new bridge' built between 1578 and 1607.
What's amazing about these two photos taken over 100 years apart is that the trees on Île de la Cité don't look to have grown much over the years!

Here are some highlights from my ebook, Autrefois - France of Yesteryear & Today: 101 then and now photos of French cities, towns and countryside villages. Available at and

WWI American Troops

July 4th, 1918.


American Expeditionary Forces first arrived in France in June 1917 but didn't see combat until October of that year. For the most part American troops started seeing action in the middle of 1918, including during the Second Battle of the Marne. The first American lead offensive retook place during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in September 1918, when American troops took Saint-Mihiel, a French town that had been under German control almost since the war started.
The then photo is of American troops marching on the Champs-Élysées at the intersection of Place de la Concorde. That is the east end of the Champs-Élysées, next to the Jardin des Tuileries. Covered in the then photo is one of the Chevaux de Marly. The other statue is just across from its twin on the other-side of the Champs-Élysées.

Place du Châtelet

Postcard postmarked October 15th, 1908.


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.

L'Escalier Sainte-Marie/Rue Paul Albert

Postcard postmarked August 18th, 1909.


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.

Gare Montparnasse

Postcard from 1907.


Originally known as Gare de l'Ouest - Rive Gauche when it was built in 1840 along Boulevard du Montparnasse. The station soon became too small and was rebuilt in 1852. This second station lasted until the early 1960's when the Gare Montparnasse of today was built.
Over the years the second station saw many a historical moment including the surrender of Paris by occupying Germans on August 25, 1944. It was also home to a toy store owned by early film pioneer Georges Méliès, director of A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904).
The first two stations were built about where the Montparnasse Tower is today.

Jan & Jeff

After a break, Jan and Jeff are back!

You're Back! - Jan & Jeff #50
Dr Jekell et Monsieur ? - Jan & Jeff #51


SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth (Kindle Edition): For the first time, the full and complete story of the B-17 Flying Fortress Susan Ruth is shared in unbelievable detail. Author Steve Snyder’s story of his father, Lieutenant Howard Snyder, and the Susan Ruth crew, provides in-depth details about many aspects of World War II few understand or know about.
Markets of Provence: Food, Antiques, Crafts, and More: Provence, France, is justly famous for its dazzling light, vibrant colors, rich history, and flavorful foods and wines. And its markets have been the beating heart of Provençal life since the Middle Ages. In Markets of Provence, Marjorie R. Williams whisks you away to 30 of the best. This pocketable guide, complete with detailed maps and organized by days of the week, gives you all the information you need for your visit to this Mediterranean region.
Mademoiselle Benoir: A Novel: Tim Reinhart enters a wondrous new world the moment he buys a farmhouse in the country of France, region of Quercy, department of Lot. Or, in his marvelous words, “From the moment I saw this property, I had a bead on it. I can’t completely explain why, but I had an intense feeling of belonging.” He has given up his teaching life in New York and begun working as the artist he’s always wanted to be.


Cote d'Azur Antibes: This beautiful apartment built in 1880 is 32 square meters or 220 sq.ft. and has been renovated with a full size bathroom, it is located in the old town district of Antibes. The apartment includes bedroom and living room with a sofa bed (sleep 3-4 people), air conditioning, cable TV, video, kitchen, large bathroom and three large closets, also the kitchen has double burner stove top, sink, under counter fridge/freezer, dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, along with a washer/dryer.
The location is on the main street Rue de la Republique and Avenue du 24 Aout, within walking distance to stores, restaurants, beach, supermarket, antiques shops, restaurants, fine bakery, post office and main square. The 'Provençal Market' is just 3 minutes away and you can buy organic fresh fruit, farm products or eat a piece of the best French cheese produced locally with the best wines of the 'Provence of France'. Other attractions: Picasso museum, Antibes theater, cinema, Cathedral, Juan les Pins, and beautiful beaches.
The nearest airport is in Nice 15 kilometers away (a bus from the Nice airport to Antibes cost only 8 euros), the train station is only 1 kilometer, and the nearest cities you also will enjoy visiting are Cannes, Nice, Montecarlo, Monaco and Biot, are less than an hour distance by b us from the apartment.

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