Category: france


“Meet me at the

‘A word about the Fountain
of Elephants because for the Americans it was the center of the town. This
large white monument with four life-size bronze elephants surrounding it, is
most imposing, the more so because there is continually pouring from the mouths
of these elephants, streams of water. This unique monument is in honor of a noted
benefactor of the town Count de Boigne who spent many years in the Far East.
There, by the fountain, the little steam tram usually put off or took on its
largest number of passengers. There the American bands played and the French
folk gathered about them. One would usually say "Meet me at the


WW1 Addie Hunton,
American YMCA worker in Chambery, a leave area for the American soldiers – TWO
. – Photo:1918 & 1919, American soldiers in front of the fontaine des
elephants in Chambery, France – University of Minnesota Libraries & Robert Slawson @ Justin


                                                   “DON”T BE ANGRY, ONLY AMAZED”

“At Peronne the retreating Germans left a large wooden sign
on the ruins of the Hotel de Ville. The sign read: NICHT ARGERN, NUR WUNDERN (Don’t
be angry, only amazed) – After three months in Germany, I realize how
universally applicable the sign is. The whole character of the people,
their outlook on life, and their social relations, were so unlike anything I
had ever dreamed of, that I could not analyze the soul beneath it all. Before it one stands aghast, perplexed over the possibility of its
being real. Of this German soul, as well as of its works on the field of
battle, one can only say: ‘Nicht argern, nur wundern!’”

1919, The Atlantic Monthly – Photo: After WW1, Peronne, Northern France, “Don’t
be angry, only amazed” – This photo can be zoomed in here


                                                      “Books are more to me than food”

WW1 Soldier’s thought – Reading and the
First World War: Readers, Texts, Archives

Note: In 1918 and 1919, American libraries were established
throughout the occupied parts of Luxembourg, Germany and in France: Chaumont, Beaune, etc. and the ports of embarkation: Brest,
St Nazaire, Bordeaux, etc. On this photo taken in 1919,
the American soldier is
reading on a motorcycle, in Le Mans, a half-way camp/city for homeward bound troops – The
American Library in Paris archives


                                                           “Joie de vivre in Deauville”

is as dazzling and as freakish as ever it was. The “undress dresses”, which are now the most “dressed-up” models a woman can wear, are admirably suited to the torrid
we have recently been enjoying…”

August 1919, in Deauville, seaside resort  in Normandy, France – The Sketch, Volume 107 – Photo: August 1919, on the beach and terrasse, Deauville, France – Gallica


                                            August 2 1919 – JUST A FEW MORE DAYS

August 2 1919, Paris
“Pour quelques jours encore” (Just a few more days) – In August 1919, most of
the foreign soldiers were about to be demobilized and leave Paris to sail home.

Le sensationnel spectacle des Grands Boulevards vu après le
deuxième verre d’apéritif
” (How one sees the amazing boulevards after a second drink) – In August 1919, following the success of the Victory Parade,
Paris was still in a festive mood. During that beautiful summer of 1919, the
boulevards were crowded with officers, sailors, soldiers of all nations, having
fun drinking and flirting with pretty Parisian ladies – Link to this
awesome French magazine “Le Rire” on Gallica, France.

“The Eiffel Tower brooded in…

“The Eiffel Tower brooded in
the heat
haze. The
city seemed half-asleep in the heat, trapped in a kind of languid

WW1 era, heatwave in Paris –

Praetorian – Photos: heatwave in Paris, Gallica, France


                                                         ‘It is a hot pipping day in Paree’

‘Paris is now in the midst of a heat wave and we all
sweltering – Even to move
your little finger is enough to make your very toes hot!’

Allen Peck’s WW1 Letters Home 1917-1919Paris Sees it Through: A Diary.
War Letters, 1917-1919

Gallica, France


                                           Sunday July 20 1919, “Pipi sauvage” in France

“7/20/19 – A French watering place near Briey – The men all lined up
to relieve
over a roadside ditch.”

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, on
a trip to Europe in 1919. Their mission was to tour the Western Front to assess
the damages caused by the war and report their findings to the Secretary of

College Archives

Note: “Pipi sauvage” is the still very popular French practice of “wild peeing”...


                                                        “Swinging along in faded blue”

“It was not a long
parade: perhaps twenty-five thousand troops, passing in less than three hours.
Of those, and rightly so, three-fourths were French; and the heart of France
was revealed as Paris shouted “NOS POILUS!”. The great
generals were acclaimed, Petain of Verdun, Castelnau, one-armed Gouraud, iron
but the rank and file, swinging along in faded blue, not well aligned,
over-burdened with their long overcoats, but cheerful, indomitable, true
successors to the Roman legionaries—they were the real heroes.”

Paris, July 14th 1919 – American civilian’s letter
to the redaction of  “The Living Church” Vol 61 – Photos: Paris, July 14th
1919, the French poilus marching under & passed the Arc de Triomphe – Gallica,


                                                       “The Frenchy
in the short skirt’

‘She swore, had
lovers by the score and played tennis incomparably.

She was athletic and graceful, a relentless competitor
who won the Wimbledon Ladies Singles and Doubles Championships five straight
years and six of seven years (1919-1923, 1924). . Her
arrival on court was a theatrical and provocative production; she donned fur
, was the first female player to eliminate bulky undergarments, wore her
black hair in a short bobbed style, painted her nails and wore bright red
lipstick.  Her silk tennis dresses were trimmed above her calf – a big
taboo for women’s players at the time – and her sleeves were cut short too,
displaying bare arms, another no-no on court. Lenglen fancied sucking on sugar
cubes soaked in brandy or cognac between sets and often brought a flask with
her for sipping those libations in between sets. She was glamorous, dramatic,
unpredictable, prone to inexplicable mood swings, and through it all, a rare
and fascinating champion.’

Note: The 1919
Wimbledon championship was the first Grand Slam tennis event of 1919 and
the first Wimbledon championship after a four-year hiatus due to World War I.

Suzanne Lenglen, International
Tennis Hall of Fame

Wimbledon’s First Fashion Scandal (1919)

Photo: Suzanne Lenglen jumping to hit a tennis ball