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Archive for the ‘transport’ Category

"Impériale" omnibus, early 1850's

Parisian transport was regulated since the early 1800s and no public vehicle could circulate in the city without a special permit. In 1853, the first double decker buses called impériales appeared in the streets. The upper floor was uncovered and admitted only male passengers as the women’s voluminous crinolines were a dangerous obstacle in climbing the steep steps. The creation of the Compagnie Impériale des voitures de Paris  in 1855 merged all existing public transport companies. Twenty-five public transport lines covered 150 km of Parisian streets.  In the 1860’s there were thirty-one omnibus lines, which served the city’s main thoroughfares from 8 a.m. until midnight.  Private cabs, hailed on the street and marked with red numbers, cost 2 francs the hour. Small steamboats known as mouches (flies) or hirondelles (swallows) plied the Seine.

Left: In 1855 Paris saw faster and larger two-horse omnibuses with 24 seats. Inside seats cost 30 centimes and included a transfer. A seat on the impériale cost 15 centimes, but no transfer was possible.

Below: Horse-drawn tramways were introduced in 1873.newpicaday at gmail
Below: In 1900, the city welcomed motorized tramways and Parisians experienced the first ride underground in the métro.

(Photo Richard Nahem)

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(From Paris Partout! A guide for the English and American Traveller in 1869 or How to see PARIS for 5 guineas)

PARIS! – gay and beautiful Paris – rich in architectural treasures, teeming with historic associations of deepest interest – favoured in its genial climate – replete with endless novelty – the abode and dictator of European fashion – full of all that art and science can contribute to beguile the sense – its people renowned for their wit and daring – in fact, in sum, in total, THE PARADISE OF TOURISTS!

 

From London

Of the different routes available, the speediest is that adopted by the South-Eastern Railway, whose accelerated special tide trains leave regularly from Charing Cross, passing to Paris via Sevenoaks, Folkestone (indifferent refreshment room), and Boulogne. Weather permitting, the entire trip is of a duration c. 10 hours. Return ticket, one month’s validity, £3 10s.

 Passports

Since a French regulation of 1860, English citizens are now exempt from the expense and annoyance of passports; but although by no means absolutely necessary, one of these documents, or a card of identity, is most strongly recommended.

 Customs

Attention is generally paid only to cigars, on which a levy of 10 centimes per item is payable. Certain books and newspapers, of inflammatory or political tendency, can cause difficulties or embarrassment.

 Money

25 francs equal £1; 5 francs equal $1.

Next: The Guide to Gay Paree Part 2:  Arrival in Paris

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Madame Bovary on wheels

Boride 

This website is about the different modes of transportation found in Gustave Flaubert’s novel “Madame Bovary”, particularly its Francis Steegmuller version. Within it you will find information about general 19th Century Transportation in France, the vehicles used in the novel,  pictures of those vehicles, different trips they were used in, and more.

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From Europe Viewed Through American Spectacles by Charles C. Fulton. Text written in 1873.

Fulton was one of the incomprehensibly rich American tourists who invaded Paris two years after the twin calamities of the Franco-Prussian War and the fall of the Second Empire. In 1871, the city was ruined by Prussian bombardment and the Commune of Paris revolution, both responsible for destroying and damaging many public buildings. It is therefore surprising that Fulton never mentions the wounds Paris had sustained. In the two years that followed, Paris seems to have risen from the ashes to dazzle the foreigners as it did under the reign of Napoleon III.

The boulevards of Paris, extending for miles through all sections of the city, present a gay scene at night. The thousands of cafés, brilliant with gas-jets, have their tables out on the broad pavements, and from eight to ten o’clock in the evening it is difficult to obtain a seat in any of them. Ice-cream and coffee is the extent of the Parisian’s indulgence though a few add a little cognac to their coffee. They spend their summer evenings in promenading the boulevards and occasionally stopping for a cup of their favourite beverage.

The sidewalks of the boulevards are at least thirty-five feet wide, and in many prominent places, women are stationed along the curb-stones with chairs to rent, on which those who are tired may for a few centimes rest themselves and view the promenaders as they pass. The broad streets are also filled with carriages so that it is difficult to effect a crossing. They are required by law to have their lamps burning.

Strangers in the city who wish to view these gas-light scenes generally engage carriages and drive slowly through the different boulevards, and a vast number of carriages are constantly passing to a from the various places of amusement. Everybody seems happy and intent upon enjoyment.

[…] The stores are not only brilliantly lighted, but nearly all of them  have rows of gas-lights on the outside, making the streets almost as light as day.

The display of the stores last night on the Boulevard des Capucines exceeded anything we had ever before seen even in Paris. […] The tasteful  arrangement of the goods, the disposition of the lights, and the reflection in the side-glasses with which the shop-windows are always provided, presented a continuous spectacle of surpassing beauty. Ten years ago the Palais Royal was the great central attraction of Paris, but the boulevard stores have so greatly excelled these small establishments that it is now comparatively deserted at night. The hundreds of jewellers’ windows were sparkling with diamonds and precious stones, and even the fancy and dry-goods stores tried to excel one another in the effort to attract attention of the throngs of promenaders.

We walked through some of these central boulevards for nearly two hours, and everywhere the pavements were so filled that it was difficult for three to walk abreast without being continually jostled by the promenaders. This was also the case in the arcades running through the interior of the squares, where the display was similarly attractive. The best possible order was everywhere preserved and the gensdarmes, with their huge cavalry-swords, stood like statues on the corners of the streets, having no occasion to do more than remain quietly at their posts.

There being no cobble-stone pavements in Paris, the carriages and omnibuses make little or no noise as they glide along the smooth asphaltum, nor is there any dust for them to stir up to vex the eyes and the lungs of the people. The sweeping machines are going all night and until ten o’clock in the morning, making the streets as clean as they could be swept with a corn-broom by hand, and lest any dust should be left in the crevices, they are washed off with hose.

In short, Paris is grand. She has passed through her tribulations, and has again presented herself to the world more beautiful and attractive than ever. That the world is pleased is evident from the many thousands of strangers now lingering here to enjoy the brilliant spectacle.

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