Friday, 17 October 2014

The life, death and afterlife of Auguste Comte

One of the most lastingly popular posts on this blog* - to my continual surprise - concerns Auguste Comte, the 19th century French philosopher behind the doctrine of positivism. Five years after making that post, I finally got around to visiting his Paris apartment and the secular chapel that was opened in his honour nearly 50 years after his death. Take a look inside both here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Oldest Basketball Court in the World

The world’s oldest surviving basketball court can be found in the basement of a building in the city’s 9th arrondissement. But how did Paris come to be one of the earliest homes of a sport invented in America? To find the answer, we need to push open the doors of a YMCA hostel on the Rue Trévise.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Paris plants its first forest

In the last few weeks, Paris has opened access to the first forest ever to be planted within the city itself. Covering a narrow strip less than half a kilometre long, and currently home to mere saplings, will it ever feel like a wild woodland?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

A drift along Rue de Vaugirard, the longest street in Paris

Running for 4,3km from Boulevard Saint Michel down to the edge of Paris at the Porte de Versailles, the Rue de Vaugirard is the city’s longest street. What could I discover by drifting the full length of this historical artery?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Elisabethville: a Belgian queen, an abandoned beach resort and experimental architecture

A couple of vintage postcards picked up at a fair took me to a sleepy suburban town on the Seine that hides plenty of surprises.
 

Picking up the postcards, it was the name that attracted me first. Elisabethville. There had to be a story behind such a name, but the photos on the cards provided few clues. Clearly the town was a recent one, with the postcards highlighting municipal architecture, apparently from the 1960s. Why did the postcard manufacturers choose to promote a town hall annex and an indoor market? Was there anything else in this town?
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