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Louise is a short animated film (6 minutes) produced by GOBELINS, l’École de l’image. It is a realistic picture of the conditions reigning in the greatest shrine of Parisian culture: the Opera of Paris. The year is 1895. Louise can be as young as thirteen, and is permanently short of money, as all the ballet corps girls were at the time.

Before you view the movie (see the link below), read Opera of Paris: We Procure Our Ballerinas for Wealthy Men published here. You’ll gain a deeper insight into what’s happening on the screen.

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The Opera of Paris in 1900. Today, a highly respected cultural institution. In the past, an upscale brothel.

Caution: Partial nudity

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Thanks to Denis Shiryaev and his video-enhancing work, we can visit Paris in the last decade of the 1800s and feel like we’re traveling in time. With their heightened authenticity, Shiryaev’s videos bring us a world we know only from low-quality footage. It was always difficult to identify with the ghostlike images of that era but with sound and color, the ghosts revive, as in this video.

Since the video does not provide guidance here is a brief description with links to Victorian Paris posts:

0:00 The Parvis of Notre Dame

1:09 Paris-Expo 1900

1:49 The Bois de Boulogne Parade (see Bois de Boulogne: The Rendezvous of Wealth and Opulence )

2:44 Place de la Concorde

3:34 Firefighters to the rescue

4:07 Fountain in the Tuilleries Garden (see Géo: The Painter of French Childhood)

4:58 Back to the Expo 1900: A moving sidewalk

5:37 The Eiffel Tower (see The Eiffel Tower Story)

The Crime Boulevard

The Boulevard du Temple in the 1830s

Officially known as the Boulevard du Temple, this Paris street was nicknamed the Boulevard du Crime. Day after day, in this street, murder was rampant, poison was administered to unsuspecting victims, virgins were kidnapped, and vengeance immolated whole families. All this is in public view. With the curtain falling after the performance, everyone went home in good health. As you have already guessed, the Boulevard du Temple was the equivalent of New York’s Broadway.

Seven of the numerous theatres and cabarets on the Boulevard du Temple

Despite the name, the “Boulevard of Crime” was not dangerous or unpleasant. In fact, it was one of the most popular places in Paris. Every day more than 20,000 people came to this street to walk and look for fun.

Théâtre Lyrique

Besides the popular murderous melodramas, the boulevard offered a wide range of amusement, including circus performances.

Inside the Théâtre du Cirque

Boulevard du Crime’s heyday ended with Baron Haussmann’s upheaval of Paris infrastructure in the name of urban renewal. In 1862, Haussmann decided to enlarge the Place du Château d’Eau to what’s now Place de la République, ordering all theatres to be torn down. Despite protests and petitions, the ruthless Prefect Haussmann maintained his decision. The last performances were held on July 15th that summer.

Today, the Boulevard du Temple is quite an ordinary street. A historic boulevard nonetheless, since it was here that the first photograph of human beings in history was taken.

The image is a daguerreotype taken early morning in 1836. Due to long exposures, early photography could not reproduce objects in motion. Only immobile people, like this man having his boots polished, remained in the picture.

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Much has been written here about Victorian women’s fashion, and the difficulties of wearing it, especially the notorious crinoline. The male counterparts, pictured in the previous post How to Look Like a Victorian Gentleman, need a closer inspection to show that their fashionable life was no less complicated.

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We’ll start with the underpants. Poor men did not need to wear them at all. Men’s shirts used to be longer than our modern ones, and one simply tucked the shirt’s ends between the legs like a diaper. This also kept the garment from riding up. For the moneyed, there were natural fiber underpants, usually linen or cotton. The ones on the Metropolitan Museum photo (above) are made of silk. Four pieces of men’s vintage underwear, seen below, were recently sold at an auction.

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How do we know that this man is an American? Jersey bodysuits were common in the United States while Europeans stuck to their two pieces.

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Let’s turn our attention to the fashionable silhouette:

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The inflated chests and flat stomachs are not the fancy of the artist’s brush nor were Victorian men shaped differently by nature. They owed their looks to the corset.

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While civilians did not always wear them, corsets were indispensable for army officers. The tight uniforms of that era could not be worn without one:

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It starts to get complicated, doesn’t it? Next comes the shirt, and things will turn scientific. The term white-collar was probably invented in appreciation of the effort needed in donning a shirt with all the accessories that came with it.

This needs an explanation. Collars and cuffs were the most visible parts of shirts and the most likely to get dirty. Today, we throw a dirty garment into the washing machine without a thought. In old times, dirty linen meant wife’s hard labor or, for single men, money spent on a laundress. Working men solved the problem by wearing a collarless shirt. Collars appeared on rare occasions such as weddings or funerals. However, middle- and upper-class men were obliged to look their best every day, and they felt incomplete without a stiffly-starched collar and cuffs.

The detachable collar appeared around 1830 and this practical solution turned into a tool of torture. Detached from the shirt, collars and cuffs could be starched stiff and shaped to suit the fashion’s demand. Men had no choice. They had to keep their heads up.

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Starching and ironing collars became a science. This chaffing accessory also required a set of tools. A Victorian gentleman’s drawers contained a collection of collars, cuffs, and studs:

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Ties needed to be firmly secured as well. This drawing explains the procedure:

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Even the cuffs deserved patented inventions:

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Celluloid collars and cuffs needed only a wipe with a wet sponge. Cuffs often served as writing pads for a quick memo. The phrase “off the cuff” comes from there.

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We are still not done with the shirt. There was also the detachable bib, stiff as a plank:

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Are you getting tired just reading this? Alas, this is not the end of all the attaching and pinning. The Victorian man’s socks, too, needed a complicated approach. They were suspended from patented garters:

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A pair of Victorian playboy’s garters with inspiring art:

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On this note, we’ll end today’s exploration of Victorian gentleman’s private wardrobe. All considered, wearing a crinoline was not all that hard.

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The above picture shows fashionable men in the Victorian era. Below are fashionable men walking the street today. The second picture appeared with words of approval in a men’s fashion magazine so we know without a doubt that this is what fashion dictates in the 2020s. If you still think those outfits were thrown on in a hurry, you may be wrong. With all probability, great care was taken to choose the right purses.

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So what is the difference between the two pictures? Something is missing in the second one, and the answer is elegance. One can be fashionable but to be elegant, one needs to make an effort. Today’s fashion asks for little or no apparent effort. In fact, if effort is needed, it is to achieve effortlessness. We don’t just dress in jeans. We dress in ripped jeans.

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YouTube videos dedicated to ripped jeans show the latest creative tips to achieve a truly personalized look of utter misery

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When truly miserable people walked the streets, the attitude toward personal appearance was different. No one wanted to look like a looser and be treated as such.  Success started with a good wardrobe. So what did elegant Victorian men wear? Let’s look at the items that composed the image of a gentleman.

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A tailored three-piece suit. As the century progressed, colors of jackets and pants dimmed. The vest became the only fancy part of the outfit. It was made of rich brocade or patterned silk. Toward the end of the century, even the vest’s appeareance got gradually tamed until it merged into the suit as all three pieces were made of the same fabric.

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A top hat. Although other shapes went in and out of fashion, the pipe hat remained the steady item in a gentleman’s wardrobe well into the next century. It made men look taller and more important. You can still see top hats today at the Queen’s Garden Party or other stylish functions. Top hats can be made collapsible for better transportation.

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A pipe hat was essential to man’s dignity. Photo circa 1850

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Other essential accessories:

  1. A silk tie. Fancy or conservative, it was an expresion of the man’s personality.
  2. A watch secured to the vest pocket with a heavy gold or silver chain advertised the man’s prosperity.
  3. A pair of gloves. No gentleman would be seen without.
  4. A walking stick. A whole industry went extinct when walking sticks went out of fashion. Yet they were useful accessories as they also served as defensive weapons. Some contained a hidden blade.

Should the guys from the 2020s photos be wearing a similar outfit, wouldn’t it elevate their dignity a few notches? What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Related articles:

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Paris Street on a Rainy Day  (1877)

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Gustave Caillebotte was born in 1848 in a wealthy environment. His father grew rich in the sale of cloth to the armies of Napoleon III. The family fortune allowed him to freely choose activities (painting, boating, boat building) in which he excelled.

He studied law and obtained a license in 1870, the year in which he began to paint. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts but only stayed there for a year. The death of his father, in 1874, brought him a comfortable fortune at the age of twenty-six and allowed him to devote himself to painting without commercial concerns.

Gustave Caillebotte did not consider himself a great painter, which he nevertheless is. Although he approached painting as a hobby, he reached the level of the greatest. He is recognized today in art history as an important realist and impressionist painter of the 19th century.

Caillebotte’s merits in helping the struggling impressionist movement are undeniable, both as a financial supporter and a propagator. He was involved in the organization of exhibitions. This help was invaluable because the Impressionists were by no means organizers whereas Caillebotte, besides his remarkable artistic talent, was also a good administrator. He also bought paintings from Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Manet who needed to sell in order to live. He thus built up an exceptional collection which he would bequeath to the State upon his premature death from pneumonia in 1894.

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 Lunch (1876). This well-to-do bourgeois interior is the dining room of the Caillebotte mansion, rue de Miromesnil, in Paris. A valet serves the painter’s mother and his brother, René.  The backlighting from the windows allows Caillebotte to study the reflections of light on the crystal dishes and the black table.

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Many of Caillebotte’s paintings exude melancholy and isolation. In an age, when gay men had to stay in the closet, it was wise to keep a distance. Lone observers were a frequent theme:

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Young Man at His Window (1875)

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Eating in style for a reasonable price is still possible in Paris, as attractive historical interiors abound in the city. They have been revamped with care and, unless they had been invaded by the nonsensical cuisine nouvelle, they serve hearty traditional meals at affordable prices. They are usually called bouillons or brasseries. These establishments were meant to serve simple dishes to people on a budget, yet they did it in sumptuous interiors. We are used to minimalism, which forces us to eat in a simple environment and often without the slightest comfort for the eye. In the eateries of our ancestors, every surface was an invitation for an artist to leave his mark. To eat in those places brings pleasure to both the body and the soul. You can still enjoy the same well-being in the following places:

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BRASSERIE JULIEN

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The restaurant is a masterpiece of Art Nouveau. Admire remarkable craftsmanship while eating at equally remarkable low prices. If you are a fan of Edith Piaf, request table # 24, where she used to meet the tragic love of her life, the boxer Marcel Cerdan.

Métro: Strasbourg Saint-Denis or Bonne Nouvelle

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BEEFBAR PARIS

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Under this harsh name hides the former La Fermette Marboeuf.  A fermette (little farm) indeed! In this luxurious glass and art tiles interior, you would feel like a precious plant in a Victorian winter garden. As the current name indicates, the restaurant is meat-focused with Kobo and Black-Angus steaks as the key items on the menu. According to the current reviews, the service is not entirely satisfactory for the prices asked.

 Métro: Alma-Marceau

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BOUILLON CHARTIER GRANDS BOULEVARDS

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Founded in 1896, this was the first of a chain of popular eateries operated by brothers Edouard and Camille Chartier. This restaurant has already served fifty million meals for relatively cheap prices. The fare is simple and there is always a line outside.

Métro: Grand-Boulevards

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BOUILLON CHARTIER MONTPARNASSE

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There was a plain restaurant in the same place since 1858 before Eduard Chartier scooped it up in 1904 to make it into another of his successes. He gave the interior an Art Nouveau facelift with a stained glass ceiling, floral tiles, and a profusion of intricate mirror frames. Simple cuisine at very reasonable prices.

Métro: Montparnasse – Bienvenüe or Saint-Placide

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LA BRASSERIE VAGENENDE

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Located on Boulevard Saint-Germain, this jewel box of Art Nouveau was created in 1904 as one of the Chartier restaurants. A superb Belle Époque style reigns throughout with mirrors and remarkable woodwork. The place was saved in time from being turned into a supermarket. Restored with the utmost care, it is now classified as a historic site. The main dishes are priced between 21 and 40 Euro.

Métro: Mabillon or Odéon

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BOUILLON RACINE

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You’ll find this enchanting creation of Cartier brothers tucked away in a quiet street near the Luxembourg Garden. It has been carefully restored to its former beauty. The main dishes are priced between 14.50 and 21 Euro.

Métro: Cluny – La Sorbonne or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

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MULLARD

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August 1837 marks the departure of the first train from the Saint-Lazare railway station. The Saint-Lazare district was then a suburb, almost the countryside. The Mullard family opened a bar across the street from the railway station and in thirty years amassed enough money to transform the venue into a restaurant for prosperous businessmen. The interior design dates from 1895 and features marble columns, a mosaic ceiling, and painted tiles picturing countryside attractions that could be reached by train. Despite the apparent luxury, Mullard offers a 3-course menu for a mere 32 Euro.

 Métro: Gare Saint-Lazare

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Mullard’s mosaic ceiling

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LE TRAIN BLEU

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This palatial restaurant can put Versailles to shame. It was opened in 1900 to serve the visitors of The Grand Exposition. It is located in another railway station, the Gare de Lyon. Regardless of the Art Nouveau fashion overwhelmingly used at the time, this interior recalls the excessive splendor of the Second Empire. Le Train Bleu refers to the legendary overnight train, which first left in 1868 and still links Paris to Nice and the azure blue of the Mediterranean Sea.

The prices are high but not excessive. However, if you think of going in for just a cup of something cheap, they are ready for you. The price for tea or coffee is 18 Euro.

Métro: Gare de Lyon

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The ornate ceiling of Le Train Bleu restaurant

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The above list is not exhaustive. There are more fabulous and budget-accessible restaurants in Paris. If you know of one that should be mentioned here, let us know in the comments.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Related posts:

Merry Noël from Paris

The Many Faces of French Santa

Les Halles: The Belly of Paris

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Health care counts as one of the main reasons why you would not want to live in the 19th century. It is easy to be seduced by paintings and movies. From our point of view of ragged jeans, tattoos, and messy hair, the elegance of tall hats, snow-white shirts, and gloves for the gentlemen, or the lace, silk, and sculpted hairdos for the ladies, paint a picture of the lost perfect word. Ah, if only…

Wake up to the reality of our ancestors’ lives. The snow-white shirts and the lace got rapidly dirty in the polluted air. Heating was provided by wood and coal, both producing ashes. In addition to sooth covering every urban surface, the streets reeked of urine and other byproducts of horse transport. Read  Life in the Age of Decay. (All links below)

The beautiful, elaborate gowns were unwashable because they were composites of too many materials, each needing special care. They were maintained by brushing and spot-cleaning; they never saw water. As for the poor, who formed the vast majority of the population, their water came in buckets, often from a faraway source, and had to be heated. Keeping clean was both time-consuming and expensive. In short, if the streets reeked, horses were only one part of the problem.

Food could kill you. No refrigeration meant that animal products spoiled rapidly. Little or no food control made eating  hazardous to your health. Adulteration with unhealthy substances was not uncommon. The post Extreme Food Recycling depicts the brutal situation. (Warning: do not read it before, during, or immediately after a meal.)

This lack of hygiene had consequences. Illness and premature death were ever present, with the average life-span only a half of what it is today. If you were unlucky enough to fall ill, you would stay in bed and send for a doctor. He would, in all probability, bleed you and prescribe some drops or powders to take in your drink. The rest was up to you.

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Medical knowledge was still rudimentary. Easily treatable diseases like the goiter disfigured people. This woman is not scared, and her contemporaries would know that, as they were used to the sight. Bulging eyes and swollen throat were the result of a malfunctioning thyroid gland.

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Hospitals were for the utterly destitute and no one in their right mind would go near one. Except perhaps for an urgent amputation, which in many cases resulted in death by sepsis, or a heart failure because of the searing pain for which there was no relief. Instead of washing their hands and wearing protective clothing, surgeons operated in their street clothes and an apron coated with dried blood. They washed their hands after the surgery.

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Amputation of a shoulder joint

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The plodding history of French hospitals/hospices under the Ancient Regime (pre-1789) was interrupted by the radical hand of the Revolution.  In the Year II (1794), these institutions were nationalized. Only four years later, the revolutionaries realized they were unable to cope with the overwhelming task of poverty, and they dropped hospitals into the care of the municipalities who housed them. There they remained. Two centuries later, the mayor is still the chairman of the hospital’s board of directors.

Of the Ancient Regime hospitals in Paris, the largest was La Salpêtrière. It was an infamous women’s asylum, which was operated more like a prison, housing prostitutes, the mentally ill, and the disabled. It had a terrible reputation. During the Revolution, in 1792, the hospital was stormed with the intention of releasing the detained women. However, the situation got out of hand. Instead, the mob dragged out thirty-five of the women and murdered them. In the next century, the female inmates were exploited in the study of hysteria. (Professor Charcot and the Amplification of Hysteria and The Ball of the Folles.)

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The La Salpêtrière Massacre  

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Around the mid-century, things began to change with the invention of anesthesia. It was now possible to cut patients open and repair them from the inside. Thanks to scientists Semmelweiss, Lister, and Pasteur, the knowledge of harmful bacteria resulted in improved cleanliness. Now it made more sense, even for the moneyed, to seek help at the hospital. And you needed money when you had the bad luck to be admitted into a secular establishment.

In the hospitals run by the religious authorities, and staffed by dedicated nuns, the patients were more or less equal. Not so in the secular hospitals, where those who could pay received all the attention while those who had no money got next to none. It took many years and many changes before patient care reached anything close to today’s standards.

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The visiting hour at a 19th century hospital ward

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In his book, The Modern Parisienne, Octave Uzanne looked at women earning their living in relatively new professions. His portrayal of nurses is damning. The book was published in 1912 and it is only reasonable to think that the bad manners and lack of professionalism were even worse in the preceding fifty years.

The lay staff of the hospitals includes the ward maids, the

probationers, and the superintendents. The ward maids do

all the hard work. They sweep, make the beds (as badly as

possible), distribute and change the plates at meal-times,

cut up the bread, and live in a perpetual state of hostility to

the probationers, with whom they desire to be on an

equality. From this feeling arise continual quarrels and

complaints, in which the patients are often compelled to

take part, to their great disadvantage.

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The ward maids are strong girls from the country, stupid,

coarse and rough, inconceivably awkward, if by an evil

chance they are called upon to give any help to a patient.

Their aim is to get through their work as quickly as possible,

to meet and gossip in their refectory. They are inveterate

beggars, and are always on the look-out to wring a few sous

from the patients. Everything must be paid for — a commis-

sion, a letter to the post; they smuggle in tobacco

and alcohol — in spite of a rule which absolutely forbids

gratuities. They are utterly indifferent to the patients, as

are nine out of ten of all the lay hospital assistants.

One of our friends knew an unfortunate man with a wound

in the leg, unable to go to the lavatory, and who for three

days asked in vain for a basin of water — he had no money.

The ward maids are boarded and lodged at the hospital.

They earn twenty to twenty-five francs per month, and

they have a free day once a fortnight.

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The probationers (boursières) are young girls of from

twenty to twenty-five. Very often they are pretty. They

have influence, and are recommended to their posts. They

receive some rudimentary training in dispensing, obstetrics,

and medicine, also in dressing and bandaging. In theory,

they are on the same footing as the ward maids, but not in

practice. As the superintendents are recruited from their

ranks they receive superior consideration. Their duties are

to give out the medicine, &c., at fixed hours, to renew

dressings, to apportion to the patients their proper food,

and to watch the serious cases at night. They are required

to make the rounds frequently, to watch the dying, lay out

the dead, open and shut the windows at fixed hours, and

see that everything is clean. They fulfil these duties with

great indifference. If they dislike a patient they manage

to forget the hour for his medicine, and it is a lucky

chance if they do not make mistakes and poison some poor

creature committed to their care.

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These statements are not exaggerated, and may be proved

any day in every hospital in Paris. The probationers spend

most of their time laughing and flirting with the house-

surgeons, dressers, or visitors. In this they are particularly

successful. They do not behave much better during the

doctor’s visits and as they pay little or no attention to his

orders, it is not surprising if they make blunders. They

take their meals outside, except when they are on duty,

which is twenty-four hours in three days, and sleep at home

except when on night duty. They are dressed like the ward

maids and superintendents, in a black dress, white apron

with bib, white sleeves, and a white cap with white bow.

The head-superintendents have a black bow on the cap.

Their name of boursières comes from the remuneration,

called a bourse, given by the Municipal Council, of 125

francs per month. They have a free day once a week.

When they are on night duty, they take part in convivial

parties given by the house-surgeons, and have a gay and

merry time. In a certain hospital which we will not name,

where a poet friend was a patient, the house-surgeons and

boursières on Shrove Tuesday romped in fancy dress through

the wards where men were dying — a most edifying spectacle.

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The superintendent is an old probationer nominated

after several competitive examinations. She has the direction

of a ward and entire command of all the male and female

staff attached to it, under the control of the house-surgeon.

Her duties are not heavy, consisting only in the distribution

of wine and the dressing of some cases where the relatives

have paid her specially. She is, as a rule, a sharp, scolding,

authoritative person. She has no love for the boursières

and annoys them as much as possible. She worries

the ward maids without any mercy. She has a small room

to herself at the entrance of the ward, where she keeps her

notes and where she retires to gossip with the superinten-

dents of the other wards. She, like all the others, has no

real compassion in her. She does what is strictly necessary

— nothing more; she has no love for her patients. Her

profession is, for her, both dull and disagreeable — and she

takes all the hours of liberty she can get. She is often

married and receives a salary of about 1200 to 1600 francs

a year. Like the probationers, she leaves the task of

laying-out the dead to the ward maids.

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We are not exaggerating the state of things, and moreover it is quite

comprehensible — these women have their interests outside

the hospital, their family, their friends. They go out often,

they draw a salary necessary to them for their living. It is

therefore a logical conclusion that they are not specially

enthusiastic about a very depressing profession, which

demands constant devotion of the most exalted kind.

Related posts:

Life in the Age of Decay

Extreme Food Recycling

Professor Charcot and the Amplification of Hysteria

The Madwomen’s Ball: A Flattering Invitation.

 

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If you like these posts, support the author by buying her books (available in print and in Kindle)

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Giovanni Boldini: Signora Diaz-Albertini

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Which woman would not wish to be highly desirable? Anyone able to make that dream reality would be well-rewarded. Giovanni Boldini, with his magic brush, made a lucrative career out of injecting voluptuousness into his sitters’ portraits. Everything in his paintings exuded sensuality: not only the woman herself but also her outfit. Jewels gleamed against bare flesh, satins glistened while embracing curves, slick silks slithered, exposing a shoulder, fluffy furs invited a caress.

 

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The Italian painter Giovanni Boldini (born in 1842) settled in Paris in 1872. He died there, a very wealthy man, in 1931

Boldini’s racy paintings touched the extreme limit of convention. His work was the talk of high society dinners. In the last years of the Belle Époque, at the height of his fame, the demand was so high that he chose his sitters. To have a portrait painted by Boldini was a defining sign of eligibility. It was known that the artist did not deign to honor a portrait commission below one million francs – except for a privileged relationship with the model. (For comparison, the wage of a maid was one franc a day.)

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As the Belle Époque sped toward the end of the century, the hefty beauties of the Second Empire gave way to slim, ethereal beings. Not every fashionable woman was able to fit that image. It took the clever brush of a painter to stretch bodies lengthwise and refine features. Boldini was the master of flattery.  

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From chubby to lascivious: Alice Regnault, a popular actress, became a red hot item thanks to Boldini’s art

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Madame Wertheimer (1902): One of the daring décolletage portraits that made Boldini’s fortune

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Before Boldini’s time, a high-ranking courtesan’s ambition—when she had a portrait painted—was to look like a grande dame. Now fashionable titled women wanted to look like courtesans. Below are the portraits of two women, coincidentally both named Marthe, who were vastly apart on the social scale. One is a wealthy prostitute, the other a Romanian princess. Which is which?

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Princess Marthe Bibesco and Marthe de(*) Florian

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Boldini’s portrait of Marthe de Florian was recently discovered in her Parisian apartment that had been locked away for seventy years. The story was published in an earlier post here: How the Courtesans Lived – A Time Capsule

(*) Celebrated courtesans often appended the aristocratic particle de to their chosen names.

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Related posts:

Could You Be a Salonnière?

Bois de Boulogne: The Rendezvous of Wealth and Opulence

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The legacy of yesteryear, the recall of the skilled hands of painters, carvers, stonemakers, wood turners, tile-makers, sign-makers and other artisans, old storefronts still grace the streets of Paris. Around two hundred of them are protected by the Status of Historical Monuments. The most numerous among the survivors are shops selling food: bakers (boulangerie/ pâtisserie), confectioneries (confisserie), butchers (boucherie/ charcuterie), and bistros or restaurants.

Enjoy this old-charm gallery!

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Under the sign At the Cooked Herbs Renown this busy storefront combined the sale of dairy products and grilled meat

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This bakery still attracts shoppers with decorative tiles and hand painted panels

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The elaborate stonework and hand-painted tiles of this sign are the last remnants of a coffee-importer’s business

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Expensive marble panels and an intricate wood lace embellish this horsemeat butcher’s shop

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Made entirely of mosaic, this former horse butcher’s storefront still carries a sign announcing the purchase of horses for meat. Horse butcheries abounded before the arrival of the automobile. Horses served in transport before they ended as food. More about the growing troubles with horse transport here

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With its original merchandise still swimming on the tiles surrounding the shop window, this former fish shop is now a cosher fast food restaurant. It’s a pity that Jonathan did not put more care into marrying the new lettering with the old style

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All bells and whistles announce this old grocery shop

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The quality woodwork of this elegant restaurant storefront suggests the gourmet food inside

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Artwork by talented painters was a sign of success and the shopowner’s pride

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Beautiful panels seduced shoppers, Here, the gold lettering announces hot croissants inside. Who could resist the lure?

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Marrying art, skillful craftwork, and expensive materials, these ancient storefronts add beauty and charm to the streets of Paris

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Related posts:

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The Birth of Mass Shopping

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