Paris in the 1950s

in The Heroic City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226870236
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226870175 | DOI:
Paris in the 1950s

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In 1946, Paris's inveterate raconteur and flâneur Léon Paul Fargue was commissioned by the Commissariat général au Tourisme to create a pamphlet on Paris that would beckon tourists back after the abyss of war. Fargue was near the end of a long life dedicated to poetry, literature, and loving portraits of the city of his birth. The pages of the tour guide begin to reacquaint us with the legendary monuments of Paris in official black-and-white images: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe. This chapter provides a contextual overview of Paris in 1945 and looks specifically at the role of the Liberation as a foundational myth in the spatial theater that followed in the late 1940s and 1950s. The social and cultural imaginary of the fragmented metropolis located the public life of the city in its neighborhoods, among its working people. The vision of Paris was populist. The commonplace was beatified. This chapter also examines the reconstruction of Paris following World War II.

Keywords: Léon Paul Fargue; Paris; Liberation; spatial theater; metropolis; public life; reconstruction; World War II

Chapter.  17010 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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