Category: Paris


street women realize that it is their last chance at an American”

August 10 1919 – We are usually
busy these days taking care of the navy. All the men on this side are being
given Paris leave at the rate of about one thousand a day, and I’ve serious
doubts as to the wisdom of their trying to see the beauties of Paris… These
street women realize that it is their last chance at an American and they hate
to go back to French prices so they pursue them madly from the time they land
till they are put aboard trains for Brest… The navy are much more picturesque
than the army but I’ve seen more drunk sailors in Paris than I ever saw army
men, even counting ‘Peace night’, and there were a hundred times as many, so
naturally I doubt their morale.” 

American YMCA lady in Paris, writing about a morale problem she sees amongst the Navy men – Pushing the Envelope, War Letters, Smithsonian
National Postal Museum

Photos: Summer 1919, US sailors on leave in France – Charles Rocher “Les Marins Américains” – Hoboken Historical Museum – Archives Municipales Fontenay Sous Bois
– U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command – National WWI Museum and Memorial –

                                                                  Through the Arc

“Foreign News — Lieutenant Godefroy, a
French aviator, performed, on August
, the remarkable feat of passing under the Arc de
Triomphe in an aeroplane flight.

Godefroy flew a machine with a
wing-spread of 24 feet, which left him a margin of about 21 feet to get through
the arch. He cleared the opening cleanly, gliding through with the motor
stopped. After clearing the arch he turned on the power again and flew over the
Champs Elysee. Exhibitions of motion pictures
showing the flight under the Arc de Triomphe were
prohibited by the police on the ground that the flight was made contrary to
police regulations and was likely to encourage other dangerous feats.

The Prefect of Police asked the newspapers not to reproduce
photographs, but they ignored the request. Managers of the motion picture
theatres said they hoped Premier Clemenceau would permit the motion pictures to
be shown.”

Aerial Age Weekly, Volume 9, August 1919

More about this awesome story: Through the ArcA nice YouTube (in French)

                                            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 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

              “But all
those I had seen at the front, dusty, dirty, mud-encrusted, blood-stained”

‘On the 14th of
July 1919 I stood on the high balcony of a friend’s house in the Champs
Elysees, and saw the Allied Armies ride under the Arch of Triumph, and down the
avenue to the misty distance of the Place de la Concorde and its obelisk of

As I stood
there, high over the surging crowds and the great procession, the midsummer sun
blinding my eyes, and the significance of that incredible spectacle dazzling my
heart, I remembered what Bergson had once said of my inability to memorize
great poetry: “You’re dazzled by it.”

Yes, I
thought; I will not remember all this except as a golden blur of emotion. Even
now I can’t catch the details, I can’t separate the massed flags, or
distinguish the famous generals as they ride by, or the names of the regiments
as they pass. I remember thankfully that a grand mutilé for whom I have secured
a wheeled chair must have received it just in time to join his group in the
Place de la Concorde . . .

The rest is all a glory of shooting
sun-rays reflected from shining arms and helmets, from the flanks of glossy chargers,
the dark glitter of machine-guns and tanks. But all
those I had seen at the front, dusty, dirty, mud-encrusted, blood-stained,
spent and struggling on; when I try to remember, the two visions merge into
one, and my heart is broken with them.’

, American novelist, short story writer,
playwright, and designer.
Throughout the war she worked tirelessly in charitable efforts for refugees, the
injured, the unemployed, and the displaced – A Backward
– Photo: watching the
July 14th 1919 parade from a balcony on the Champs Elysees – @


“Every nation had all the races that fought in the war,
except the United States”

“I saw the great victory parade, on July 14th, and I want to tell you— We
need lessons, and had you been in the French crowd on July 14 for six hours, as
I was, you too would say that we really need lessons. England, France, Belgium,
the United States, Serbia, Greece, Italy, China, Japan, Portugal and one or two
other nations had their representatives in line. England had Canadians,
Australians, Scotch, Londoners, Indians and Africans in line. France had
Frenchmen, Soudanese, Senegalese, Madagascans, Moroccans, and every other race
that fought under her flag in line. Every nation had all the races that fought
in the war, except the United States. Although there were over a thousand
African American troops here outside of Paris, the United States was
represented only by white men. The French people were very much amazed and put
out, for they have not forgotten that three regiments of Black American
soldiers were decorated for bravery by the French government. The French papers
spoke of it, so I guess General Pershing felt as bad afterwards as I felt
during the parade that they did not have at least one lot of fifty men with
black faces in line under the stars and stripes.

the African American soldiers be ignored after the record made in this war? Their country called for men, and they responded. The color of
their skin was not questioned when they were asked to give their lives
for the United States. Why were they ignored in the Victory Parade in Paris, July
14, when all other races seem to have had their place?’

July 1919 Victory Parade, in Paris – The
Survey : social, charitable, civic : a journal … v.42 (1919)
– Photos: July
14th 1919 Victory Parade, Senegalese,
Zouaves, saphis, and other colonials troops

Note: The U.S. Army banned black
American troops from participating in the great victory parade staged by Allied
soldiers in Paris on Bastille Day, 1919,

                                                          “Les Américains”

‘It was not just my prejudiced eyes that saw our soldiers
the handsomest and the best marching of all: my French friends made the same
comment, as expert judges. Every doughboy carried himself like a West Pointer.
Every sailor looked worthy of Annapolis. And Pershing, at the head, superbly
mounted, riding like a centaur, was the perfect exemplar of an American officer
and gentleman. No better man could have been found to represent America on that
day. My heart exulted to see him, and our troops, there.’

14th 1919 Victory Parade in Paris, American civilian’s letter to the
redaction of The Living Church Vol 61 – Photos: American soldiers and
General Pershing, July 14th 1919 Victory Parade in Paris, Gallica –
Missouri Over There

Here: great video of that day @1.19 showing “Les Américains”

(note the camera(s) held above the crowd)

July 14th 1919,
Paris – Following four years of darkness and
sadness, there is the joyous resurrection of life. The city is illuminated. Lights shine down on the dancers and the joyous crowds which force their way
through the streets to the sound of the “Marseillaise.” Great hope
fills all hearts!’

Clemenceau the Tiger of France

– Photos: And then, there was light in Paris,
July 14th 1919, Bastille Day – Gallica France

                                                        “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,