Paris Past

One of my favorite things to do, as I have done here on my blog before, is to look at old prints and paintings of Paris as it once was. The Carnavalet Museum is one of the best places to do that in my opinion.


This elaborate windmill, called a follie as in crazy and over the top, was once found near the Tuleries Garden. Don’t you wish it had been saved?


Would you believe that this is St Pierre, the tiny church up on top of Montmartre? I think I saw another old painting that showed a windmill on the top of it at one time. I need to take a closer look at the back of the church the next time I am up there. If you were looking from this angle today you would be near Sacre Coeur.


I love this one. It’s a view of the Seine with Pont Neuf in the background and the boats where women washed clothes in the water. Can you imagine taking your clothes there to get them washed? Apparantly, these washer women were a tough group of women who led the way to pick up Marie Antoinette when she was to be imprisoned.


And look at this painting of the Arch de Triumph where they are celebrating the beginning of the second Republique. Look how bare the area surrounding it was. The whole thing just fascinates me.

7 thoughts to “Paris Past”

  1. I agree, the Arc de Triomphe painting is the one that looks the most foreign. Now I’m going to have to see when it was built and imagine how the entire etoile was built up around it. I love the colors on the windmill though. I can’t imagine seeing that in Paris

  2. It’s amazing how they managed to paint the scenes and events so real and vividly.

    Btw, What camera model are you using?

  3. It is always amazing how much things change. It was very beautiful back in those times. Even though we enjoy our “modern” comforts there is something that still draws you to the past.

  4. I find the Carnavalet intriguing and your photos captured these paintings really well.
    I particularly am interested in history and cultural anthropology, so I can stand for hours in this museum and be fascinated with its visual tour of Paris through the ages.

    Is St.Pierre the church that opens onto the street by Place Tertre? If so, I remember sitting across the street in a cafe 40 years ago and watching newly-weds skipping down the steps in full bridal regalia. I wonder if that couple still is married. The church looked a lot different then than in photo #2!

  5. So if a windmill is ‘Follie’ where does the Bergere come from in Follie Bergere. Looking up I see it is a form of armchair, or is this one of those things that the name Follie Bergere is just the name of the dancers.

  6. It is so nice to find your blog! I am heading to Paris in a few weeks and havent been there for years so very excited. I love living in Europe! As an Australian it is like living in a magical wonderland where everything is close to each other!

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