I love books, especially of places I've been. I was excited to view the photos in this one, but honestly I didn't have high expectations for it. I like coffee table books, but most of them never have enough information to satisfy my "who-what-when-where-how" inquisitive mind. And let's face it, books on Paris are becoming a dime-a-dozen thing, what with Ross single-handedly curbing the appetite for Parisian paraphernalia.
I wasn't feeling so well, so I changed into my pj's right away and settled into my red papasan chair with the book, thinking I'd get through it in about 15 minutes at the most. I was wrong.
Historic Photos of Paris, by Rebecca Schall, is a visual timeline of Paris dating back to the mid-1800's. Each photograph is clearly explained, with dates, events and background. Each chapter (time period) begins with a rundown of the historical happenings and photos to back it up. There is sufficient reading to be done, fortunately. One of my favorite photos is this one:
It is Paris as it was before it became the epitome of chic-ness we now associate it with. It was the slums. It was a disease ridden, rodent infested, City of Filth. Trash, raw sewage and who-knows-what freely flowed into the water supply, resulting in countless deaths. Aren't we glad that changed! This book shows us the changes as they took place through intriguing photography that gives us a crystal clear picture that is most definitely worth a thousand words.
Another favorite photo is this one, documenting the historic flood of Paris in the early 20th century.
Only in Paris can walking across a plank look so glamorous!
This book kept my interest and I found myself sad when I reached the end. I love history when I've been to a place. I was able to recognize places in the photos that my own two feet have tread, but decades and even a century later.
This is a must have book for any Paris lover. If you wish to see more pages, click here to see a short video. Enjoy!