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 Bastille
There are no more accordions to lead the “bals musette” (dances with accordion music) of the Bastille district. Between the wars however, this genre was very popular. Bourgeois Parisians were even known to “mix with the riff-raff” at these popular dances, where they would dance all night. One could find there a local atmosphere that only Paris could offer. The result of a mixture of cultures, both Italian and from the Auvergne region, the “bal musette” is evidence that at that time, communities always found a way to integrate. Paris welcomed not only foreign tourists, but also a whole population of immigrants who helped build its reputation as the world’s most welcoming city, where everyone was free to express themselves.

This Paris of the thirties may seem outdated to us, yet how fun it was at the time!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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