30 Stunning Color Photographs of Paris in 1923

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont (1863–1931) was a French photographer who was famous for taking color autochromes during World War I. He was born near Fontainebleau in Avon, Seine-et-Marne, south of Paris. Courtellemont emigrated with his parents in 1874 to Algeria, and remained there for 20 years.

He became a globetrotter, always in search of something special and exotic. His photography drew him as far as the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and on to Asia. He collected his works, the moment he had captured with his camera. A head full of dreams and two feet on the ground, is how a contemporary described the artist of light painting.

Courtellemont returned to his home province to record the war. His work reflects the photographic traditions of the autochrome. Landscapes are carefully composed, with due attention to lighting and placement within the picture frame. He used symbols such as the lonely cross and the charred tree for dramatic effect. Judging from the popularity of his lectures in Paris during the war, and the series of publications featuring the battles of Marne and Verdun, his autochromes had the ability to attract a great deal of public interest.

After the war, Courtellemont worked for an American publication. He eventually became a photographer for National Geographic. He was a lifelong friend of the novelist, Orientalist and photographer Pierre Loti. While over 5,500 Gervais-Courtellemont autochromes survive in various institutional collections, including the Musée Albert-Kahn in Boulogne-Billancourt and the Cinémathèque Robert-Lynen in central Paris, his work in private hands is quite rare and sought after.

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), making it the 34th most densely populated city in the world in 2020. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of the world’s major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, gastronomy, science, and arts, and has sometimes been referred to as the capital of the world or “the City of Light”.The City of Paris is the centre of the region and province of Île-de-France, or Paris Region, with an estimated population of 12,262,544 in 2019, or about 19% of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €739 billion ($743 billion) in 2019, which is the highest in Europe. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, in 2021, Paris was the city with the second-highest cost of living in the world, tied with Singapore, and after Tel Aviv.

Paris is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris–Charles de Gaulle (the second-busiest airport in Europe) and Paris–Orly. Opened in 1900, the city’s subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily; it is the second-busiest metro system in Europe after the Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th-busiest railway station in the world and the busiest located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015. Paris is especially known for its museums and architectural landmarks: the Louvre received 2.8 million visitors in 2021, despite the long museum closings caused by the COVID-19 virus. The Musée d’Orsay, Musée Marmottan Monet and Musée de l’Orangerie are noted for their collections of French Impressionist art. The Pompidou Centre Musée National d’Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The Musée Rodin and Musée Picasso exhibit the works of two noted Parisians. The historical district along the Seine in the city centre has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991; popular landmarks there include the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris on the Île de la Cité, now closed for renovation after the 15 April 2019 fire. Other popular tourist sites include the Gothic royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, also on the Île de la Cité; the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889; the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900; the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées, and the hill of Montmartre with its artistic history and its Basilica of Sacré-Coeur.

Paris hosts several United Nations organisations: the UNESCO, the Young Engineers / Future Leaders, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, and other international organisations such as the OECD, the OECD Development Centre, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Energy Agency, the International Federation for Human Rights, the International Organisation of La Francophonie; along with European bodies such as the European Space Agency, the European Banking Authority or the European Securities and Markets Authority. Other international organisations were founded in Paris such as the CIMAC in 1951 (International Council on Combustion Engines | Conseil International des Machines à Combustion), or the modern Olympic Games in 1894 which was then moved to Lausanne, Switzerland.

The football club Paris Saint-Germain and the rugby union club Stade Français are based in Paris. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located just north of Paris in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. The city hosted the Olympic Games in 1900, 1924 and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, the 2007 Rugby World Cup, as well as the 1960, 1984 and 2016 UEFA European Championships were also held in the city. Every July, the Tour de France bicycle race finishes on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. (Wikipedia)

ca. January 1923, Paris, France
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A view of the city across a river and through trees
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — An exterior view of the Senate
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The Trocadero Gardens and Eiffel Tower
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The Jardin des Tuileries in Paris
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The church of Saint Germaine l’Auxerrois
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Two men stand beside crafts on a street alongside a river
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The Cathedral of Notre Dame
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Paris as seen from the church of Saint Gervais
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Formal gardens with ponds
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A pathway leads through a garden at a large estate
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Columns surround a garden lake
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Workers with horses alongside a river
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — Carts piled with rubble and person lying down on the ground
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The hotel of Madame de Lamballe, a friend of Marie-Antoinette
ca. January 1923, Œle de la CitÈ, Paris, France — The quais of the Ile de la Cite
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A view of the river and a bridge
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The big clock of the Chatelet
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A cathedral
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The flower market, Quai aux Flaers
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A famous landmark in Paris, France
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A blind street in old Paris
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A street scene in Paris
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The Moulin Rouge at Montmartre
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — A street view of the Porte Saint Denis
ca. January 1923, Paris, France — The street of Saint Julian the Poor in Old Paris

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