Category: Paris


                                     Napoleon’s tomb: “there is nothing like it in the world”

‘Sunday May 4 1919 – In afternoon visited Napoleon’s tomb.
As a friend says, “that is too sacred to talk about.” There is nothing like it
in the world. Then I went around through the Musée de l’Armée and the Musée de
la Guerre
. They reek with the fact that war is the métier, the prime concern,
the life and death, the summum bonum of these European peoples… Also the exhibits of armor and uniforms from
different historical periods are excellent.
Came back home. Headache from too much museum, so went to bed early.’

Sidney Alderman, a young American infantry captain
who, after the war, decided to settle in Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Three Americans in
Paris, spring 1919
– Photos: spring 1919, in the Invalides,
Paris; standing by the edge of the crypt. Looking
down, there is the mahogany casket containing the ashes of Napoleon. On the day these photos were taken, the caretaker of the museum was dusting the
casket. Note the ladder leaning against the casket! – La Contemporaine


                                                                Voilà le premier Mai!

‘Thursday, 1 May, 1919 – Voila le premier Mai! Gréve générale. The strike
went off in great shape. Not a taxi, métro train, tram, cab, bus, voiture,
cinéma, market, boucherie, store, café, restaurant in town functioning. We lived
miserably in our rooms on pale tasting pork and beans…  Everything deathly calm in the quartier Latin. Late
afternoon I walked down Saint- Michel, hoping to see something lively. There
was a significant cluster of gardiens de la paix on the four corners of
Sébastopol and Rivoli. The only “red” activity I saw was the wearing of a red
flower in the buttonhole. Everybody was wearing muguet-porte-bonheur (lucky lily
of the valley). It was a weird sight to see all Paris traveling afoot. Nothing
running  but an occasional military car.
Some excitement did go on around Concord, Opéra, République, and the Gare de
l’Est, according to the papers, but I saw nothing. It was, however, a forceful
demonstration of the power of the ouvriers.’

Alderman, a young American infantry captain who, after the war, decided to
settle in Paris’ Latin Quarter and study at the Sorbonne. Three Americans in
– Photo: May Day 1919, French security agents, soldiers, and protesters clashing
(or about to), in Paris – BnF Gallica & Archives de la Seine St Denis

Note: On May Day 1919, Paris closed down as 500,000
protesters took to the streets for the annual socialist rally. The government responded by
calling out the troops. All over the center of the city there were clashes; two
protesters were killed and about two thousand were taken to hospital seriously


                                                   “Muguet Porte-Bonheur”

Day in France is Labor Day and also la Fête du Muguet. On the flat baskets heaped high with muguet (Lilly of
the Valley) is always a small cardboard sign, “Porte-Bonheur”, and the custom is to buy a sprig of muguet for your loved ones to bring them happiness and good luck throughout the year. In Paris, the sidewalks near
the Madeleine and along the Grands Boulevards have many flower booths and there
are two-wheeled flower carts full of muguet in the
open markets all through the city.

Woman’s Home
Companion – Photo: Muguet for good luck, France, Gallica.

‘Nothing exciting today except bought about 20…

‘Nothing exciting today except bought about
20 francs’ worth of books, Esmein’s “Précis de l’Histoire du
Droit 1789-1814
”, Bouniols “Histoire de
la Révolution de 1848
”, and a little book on war lingo, Argot de la Guerre. Put
in pay and mileage vouchers…’

Spring 1919, Sidney Alderman, a young American ex-infantry
captain who, after the war, decided to settle in Paris’ Latin Quarter and study
at the Sorbonne. Three Americans in Paris – Photo: Paris, bouquinistes
along the banks of the Seine – Ministère de la culture, France

 ‘By Passover, the war was safely over and the…

 ‘By Passover, the war was safely over and the men were
rejoicing at their imminent return home’

Passover 1919 in Paris:

‘Most striking was the great Seder at Paris, with its crowd of
American, Australian, English, French and Italian soldiers, some of them former
prisoners in Germany, all of them united in the great occasion of their faith.
Among the speakers and the guests of honor were some of the great leaders of
Jewry, France and America, as well as many celebrities. At that time, and in
that place, the highest honor for any man was to worship and eat side by side
with our soldiers.’

A Jewish Chaplain in France – Photo: Australian,
British and American soldiers and sailors raise their cups at a Passover Seder
at the YMCA Hut, April 1919 – The Times of Israel

Here, more details about Passover 1919 “American Passovers in Europe in the
First World War”

                               “Sylvia Beach, …

                               “Sylvia Beach, the
patron saint of independent bookstores”

“Beach’s “boisterous bookshop”, as she described it, opened in
1919, offering books not available elsewhere because of either
censorship or price, and above all promoting the opposite of “train literature.”
Beach first set up shop in Paris’ Latin Quarter on the rue Dupuytren and
then moved around the corner, to 12 rue de l’ Odéon in 1921. Shakespeare and
Company remains a staple of Lost Generation memory because of the famous
company Beach kept
and the most famous of books she published, James Joyce’s
Ulysses. What we forget is that Beach’s bookstore was also an active lending library,
and it served, like its Right Bank “rival,” the American Library in Paris, as
a meeting place for Americans. Lending books to impecunious writers who couldn’t afford to buy,
Beach also hosted literary teas and allowed her shop to serve as a mail drop.
Hemingway picked up his mail there, and most of the expatriate writers
frequented the shop.”

The Other Americans in Paris
– Photo: 1920′s, James Joyce & Sylvia Beach at the original Shakespeare & Co, Rue
dupuytren, Paris.

Other sources:
The Letters of Sylvia BeachShakespeare and Company
Sylvia Beach interview on James Joyce and
Shakespeare & Company
– Website: Shakespeare and Company, Independant


                                                  “Came back along the Quai de la Tournelle”


“Saw Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, and it was really worthwhile. The ornate runway about the columns is unique, different from anything
I have seen. Came back along the Quai de la Tournelle and
bought Comte de Las Cases, Mémoires de Napoléon 1", nice edition in two
vols. for 8 francs Took a snap of one of the book troughs
on the Quai. Read an hour and then found Bonner in B & B’s room.”

Spring 1919, Paris, Sidney Alderman, a young American infantry captain who, after the war, decided to settle in Paris’ Latin
Quarter and study at the Sorbonne –Three Americans in Paris – Photo: Bouquiniste, quai de la Tournelle, Paris, with
beautiful “Notre-Dame” in the background.


                                                                  “I hated to leave”

“There always is something doing every minute in gay Paree, and I would not mind staying there for six
months if I couldn’t get home. I hated to leave and coming back to Verneuil is
like going to work on a Monday morning after having a good time Sunday. In
Paris, the people seemed glad to see me, and when I went promenading around
with francs sticking out of every pocket they all greeted me with a smile and a

April 1919, Private W. C. Bischoff’’s letter to his father –
Topics, 1919 – Photo: Spring 1919, American soldiers strolling along the Champs
Elysees, Paris – Ervin Earl Putnam’s WW1 Diary – Photos showing the Camp Americain in Nevers, near the sleepy town of Verneuil in 1919



“I attended eleven o’clock mass at Notre Dame Cathedral”

“I was in Paris Easter Sunday, 1919, and, although
not a Catholic, I attended eleven o’clock mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.
It was packed with people. Practically
every Frenchman had lost either an arm or a
leg, or had been severely wounded.
Their chests were covered with medals. That afternoon I saw the gardens of the
Tuileries and visited Napoleon’s Tomb. The French certainly are past masters
of theatrical staging. And the sights that Easter Sunday afternoon — after the
armistice — were unforgettable.”

Hanson, American soldier in Paris. After the war, Hanson became
a famous landscape architect and real estate developer in Southern California – An Arcadian Landscape. The California Gardens of A.E. Hanson
– Photo:
1919, end of mass at Notre Dame de Paris, showing nurses and wounded decorated soldier(s) leaving
the cathedral – Gallica, France

                    “Avenue du…


“Avenue du Bois de Boulogne” or “Avenue of the Boys of Bologny”


“The subways and
the tram cars connect
the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes
so closely that the poorest may make himself at
home in either or both. The Bois de Boulogne is literally and absolutely a playground,
the playground of the people, and of mine!”

Note: Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, was sometimes called by American soldiers “Avenue of the Boys of Bologny”

Spring 1919, American soldiers in Paris – The
Saturday Evening Post
& Three Americans in Paris Spring, 1919 – Photo: 1919, At home in The Bois de Boulogne, Paris. Ervin
Earl Putnam’s WW1 Diary