Le Poinçonneur Des Lilas

In the late 1950s film jukeboxes were all the rage in France. These jukeboxes, called Scopitones, were supposedly made from surplus WWII airplane parts and played 16mm film reels. The Scopitones made it across the pond in 1964 and made their U.S. debut in the late lamented Ambassador Hotel.

This early French Scopitone from 1958 takes us to the Porte des Lilas Metro Station in 1958 and Serge Gainsbourg acts as the poinçonneur or ticket puncher.

It’s lots of fun and even shows the first and second class cars that are no longer in service. —Eric See

Notre Dame de Paris. 2005.

As promised in the entry earlier today, here’s a picture of Notre Dame all cleaned up. This was taken by Clay Doyle in 2005 during Paris’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Note the bit of scaffolding in exactly the same location as 1954.

Île de la Cité, Notre Dame de Paris, 2005.

Île de la Cité, Notre Dame de Paris, 2005.
 

Vintage Slides: Notre Dame de Paris, 1954.

Some things never change and other things change quite a bit!

We’ve found a cache of vintage slides at the Cayucos Antique & Collectibles Street Fair.  We plan to bring you some scans of these vivid slides in the months to come.

To start here’s a picture of Notre Dame.  Scaffolding: that’s something that belongs in the things never change category.

However, what are all those cute cars doing parked right in front?  … and wow, the whole cathedral needs a good scrubbing!  (Stay tuned for a “scrubbed up” version.)

Île de la Cité, Notre Dame de Paris, 1954.

Île de la Cité, Notre Dame de Paris, 1954.


Please click on the picture for a larger version.

Velo Vintage

I like finding places or stores that have vintage things that are either great fun to experience or realtively easy on the pocket book.  A New York Times blog pointed me to a fantastic looking little bicycle shop in Paris that is run by “two childhood friends who decided to open a totally awesome vintage bike shop.”

A neat Peugeot bicycle

I’d love to check out their store in the 18th arrondissement next time I’m in Paris and maybe “test drive all or any of our [Velo Vintage’s] old school bikes.”

Enjoy their colorful website with all the “charm retro des années 70/80”: www.velo-vintage.com/

Culture clash at Bofinger

Sometimes the whole concept is just wrong.

I snapped this picture at Bofinger, the classic French brasserie, on my last visit to Paris, where this brochure seemed starkly out of place.

Bofinger is more than a century old, with leather banquettes, polished brass, white linen, well-used silver, and a stunning stained-glass dome. The menu is limited and classic, the service precise, perfect and very accommodating. Part of the pleasure of Bofinger, and places like it, is the feeling that you have stepped back in time—into a romanticized, literary or cinematic Parisian fantasy.

All this is prelude to my dismay at finding this glossy, 4-color promotional brochure dominating our otherwise impeccably set table. This photo-adorned shiny brochure—so very aggressive, so very American,  so expected at your local chain eatery—gave the impression of a very loud, uninvited guest.

I suppose the corporation that owns Bofinger (along with numerous other well-known Paris brasseries) would like you to know they have some special “value meals” as well as, apparently, a marketing arrangement with Guinness—but isn’t there a way to do it in a manner more in keeping with the Bofinger atmosphere, or I could even say, brand?

Of course there is: the decidedly old fashioned menus, when presented, contain a decidedly old fashioned card providing the same information as on the glossy brochure. Neither made me want to order a Guinness, but the card did not offend.

Lest you think I’m being over sensitive, the very correct waiters at Bofinger made no attempt to hide their contempt for these intruders on their “theater” of the table. They set each vacant table with the offending brochure and then—immediately upon seating the guests and handing out the menus—whisked them away, never to be seen again.

If only the waiters ran the company.

In the main room at Bofinger, Paris: it’s not Au Courant, it’s not trendy, it’s certainly not undiscovered, but I love it. As do many Parisians and visitors alike.