Vintage Snapshots: 20th Century Paris

Bonjour, chers amis. I’m not a Parisian, but I’ll try and walk you through this iconic city and its infamous traffic jams. As per previous editions, you really ought to click on the pics to get the most bangue for your bucque, as the French definitely don’t say. Allons-y!

Alésia (14th arr., south), 1950. Mostly prewar stock, obviously.

Place de l’Opéra, 1950. Traction Avants aplenty — they will be with us for a lot of this post…

“Le baiser de la Place de la Concorde” by Robert Doisneau, 1950. The happy couple is in front of a 1934 Mathis Emy-4.

Place de la Concorde, mid-’50s

Champs-Élysées, mid’50s. The tiny gray convertible on the right is a Panhard Junior.

Place de la Concorde, 1955. The prewar taxi on the left is a Renault Vivaquatre. These were bought by the G7 taxi company in 1933-34 and used for over 20 years. Old Renaults were tough as nails.

Not sure where this photo was taken, but it was in September 1956.

A famous café in Saint-Germain in the late ’50s, overrun by Triumphs.

Speaking of triumph, here’s that Arc de Triomphe again, in 1957. That 2CV has an aftermarket bootlid — a somewhat popular accessory since Citroen hadn’t seen fit to give their car one from the factory.

Orly airport, mid-’50s.

Traffic jam at the Porte d’Orléans, 1958

The Louvre palace, back in 1958, was part museum, part Ministry of Finance and part parking garage.

The rear of the department store La Samaritaine, rue du Pont Neuf, 1960.

Austerlitz train station, 1960.

Champs-Élysées, 1960. I’m counting four Peugeot 403s, six Citroen ID/DSs and seven Simca Ariane/Vedettes in here. And a black ’56 Chevy all the way at the back.

Place de l’Étoile again, in the early ’60s. Your Fleetwood 75 awaits…

Out in the suburbs: Saint-Denis, in the north, in 1963.

The Champs-Élysées yet again, now in the mid-’60s. The Peugeot 404 has taken hold, and will not let go. The Jaguar Mark 2 seems to have foreign plates, but it’s a most welcome sight.

Place de la Concorde again, circa 1965.

The Champs-Élysées roundabout in the middle of the rush hour and of the ’60s.

There’s that Chevy again. The first bits of the Boulevard Périphérique (the ring road) already in heavy use by 1967.

Rue Royale, with the obelisk and the National Assembly (i.e. Parliament) in the background, late ’60s.

Three Panhard 24s in a traffic jam, circa 1968.

The Champs-Élysées in the rain, 1969.

Austin, Autobianchi, DAF, Fiat, Opel, Princess, Triumph — it wasn’t all French cars any more by 1969.

Don’t know where, don’t know when, but I’m sure we’ll meet again… About 1970, given the 504s…

Place de la Bourse, 1970. Cool little Alfa.

One of the twelve streets that leads to the Arc de Triomphe, early ’70s. Nice early model Peugeot 304, too.

Quai des Tuileries, right next to the Louvre, in 1970.

The last section of the ring road is opened in 1973.

You know where, with the you know what in the background — in 1975.

Someone took a CC Pic(k) of the Day back in 1976, but we’re only publishing it now. Crazy, eh?

Grandad’s gone on a bar crawl again, 1976.

Palais de Justice, on the Ile de la Cité, 1978. And that’s where we get off, ladies and gents. Hope you enjoyed the tour and you still have enough lung capacity to smoke a Gauloise without a filter. As for me, I’ll see you wherever we got next.