Collection-Piollet

Interwar years 1920-1940


As Joséphine Baker sang so well: « I have two loves : my country and Paris » - one could not but love interwar Paris. A multifaceted city which was so attractive to foreigners, Paris was the flagship of the Golden Twenties, the international beacon of fashion, art and spectacle. The map of Paris drawn by ZIG for the finale of the revue “Un coup de folie”, staged at the Folies Bergère in April 1930, is an extremely faithful depiction of the Paris of the time.
Nowadays, most of the features on the map are no longer familiar to us. And yet, at the time, each of them had a precise role and corresponded to a district or a function which was indispensable.
Let us have a closer look at the map:

La Foire du Trône
The Foire du Trône is the oldest funfair. It was called “foire au pain d’épice” (“gingerbread fair”) in 957. It was also called foire Saint Antoine (St Anthony’s fair) because it took place on the grounds of the abbey of St Anthony. It lasted until the Revolution, when the abbey was demolished. In 1805, the foire du Trône recommenced, and between 1872 and 1880, the number of visitors rose from 1,214 to 2,424. Its duration increased too and reached 21 days, starting at Easter. Its name comes from its location on the former “place du Trône renversé”. After the First World War, the funfair became very popular again, for Parisians were craving enjoyment after the four painful war years. Nowadays, the foire du Trône offers six weeks of festivities and welcomes 5 million visitors.

This Paris of the thirties may seem outdated to us, yet how fun it was at the time!
The city bustled with economic as well as cultural and sporting activities. Everything was possible there: to go to a theatre without booking in advance, to go for a night dance in one’s district, to sing in public without necessarily having to be a professional, to enjoy oneself at funfairs, to do sport, to meet artists on the terrace of a café, to go home late at night and observe the setting up of the market, to find work easily…
In a relaxed and informal atmosphere, almost carefree, people lived to the full. They forgot the last war and the next one was not yet on the horizon.


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