In 1910, the Great Flood of the river Seine wreaked unprecedented damage: Paris became a victim of its modernity. The river's levels had been monitored since the Second Empire, based on the level reached during the 1876 floods (6.5m). Surveillance was introduced by Eugène Belgrand, who created the Parisian sewers and drinking water systems. However, after invading an underground gallery, the water entered a tunnel of the Parisian subway, still under construction, before covering the tracks of the railways leading to the Orsay and Invalides train stations. Paris looked like Venice, attracting crowds of onlookers and photographers. Food supply, electricity and transports were suspended. Some streets collapsed, pools appeared and polluted water invaded hundreds of streets. The flood affected 12 of the capital's arrondissements as well as the suburbs. Public services and private relief groups united to pump the water out, evacuate inhabitants, build dikes and footbridges. Fishermen were mobilized, bringing 300 small boats. On January 28, the river Seine reached a heigth of 8,50m, flooding a quarter of the Parisian buildings. The water level took 35 days to drop back to normal.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000435/1512_3.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000435/1512_3.thwThe Liberation of Paris
The battle for Paris started on August 19, 1944 after four years of occupation by the German army. The fights lasted a week. The 2nd Armoured Division, under the command of the General Leclerc, entered Paris by the Porte d'Orléans on August 24. The French capital was officially liberated the following day and, despite the order given by Hitler, the bridges and monuments were saved from destruction. The General de Gaulle delivered his famous speech from the steps of the Paris City Hall: "Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated!" The French and American flags flourished at the windows while allied and French liberation troops were welcomed as heroes by the Parisians.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000631/122792_30.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000631/122792_30.thwMay 68 by the reporters of the newspaper “France-Soir”
Nanterre, the Sorbonne, Cohn-Bendit, De Gaulle… A team of 20 photographers covered the May-June 1968 events. From the first cobblestone’s throw to the Grenelle agreements, from the communist march to the Gaullist demonstrations, their images were daily published in “France-Soir”.
Unseen for most of them, these photos bear witness day by day to the demonstrations and violent confrontations, to the massive strikes and the negotiations with the political power.
Parisienne de Photographie - Roger-Viollet digitized and edited around 25,000 images from the “France-Soir” photo archives, held by the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris (Historic Library of the City of Paris).
Click on this image to discover a large selection in chronological order of the photos available on Paris en Images.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000205/215_12.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000205/215_12.thwThe construction of the Paris Métro
Starting in November 1898, the construction of the first line of the Parisian underground metropolitan train line, a.k.a "le Métro" was completed in 20 months, a record. The works were supervised by civil engineer Fulgence Bienvenüe and funded by the city of Paris. The West-East line linking the Chateau de Vincennes to porte Dauphine was divided into 11 sections, allotted to several contractors. The construction was meant to use moles under the pavements; however, in order to limit the duration of the works, open trenches appeared, causing significant nuisance and traffic disruptions to the residents. The Metro line 1, today one of 14, was inaugurated on July 19, 1900, just in time for the summer Olympic games held in the bois de Vincennes.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000733/257_12.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000733/257_12.thwThe 1900 World Exhibition
The 1900 World Exhibition was the fifth one in Paris since 1855. Inaugurated on April 15, it attracted almost 50 million visitors in 7 months. Exhibitions had grown in scale since London in 1851: the 1900 edition covered 112 hectares, from Champs-de-Mars to Esplanade des Invalides, from Cours la Reine to Place de la Concorde including the banks of the river Seine. Among the attractions were a huge terrestrial globe and a big Ferris wheel flanking the Eiffel Tower built for the 1889 exhibition, the moving sidewalk of the "Street of the Future", luminous fountains and cinematographic displays. A symbol of the Belle Epoque, the entire exhibition was a testimony of the young 20th Century's optimism. The Petit and Grand Palais were built for the occasion, as well as the new Orsay and Gare de Lyon train stations, and the first metro line (inaugurated in July 1900) in order to accommodate the expected crowds of visitors.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000572/61407_5.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000572/61407_5.thwWorld War One in the Archives of the newspaper Excelsior
Founded in 1910, "Excelsior" was among the first French daily newspapers to publish a large number of photographs in its pages. In 1914, from the declaration of war, the newspaper recruited photographers and published around 20 to 30 photographs a day. Embedded on the front by the army press relations department or - most of the time - in the rear, these photojournalists kept an illustrated journal of the Great War. The photographs covered the main subjects: the general mobilization, the evacuation of the French and Belgian governments, the arrival of foreign troops, women and children at work, the colonial workforce in ammunition factories and destructions. It also covered trials for treason, mutual aid movements, the progress of medicine, the victory and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. All these images remained unpublished since then and presented the consequences of the conflict on the life of the French people. "Excelsior" stopped being published in 1940. Its photographic archives are now property of the newspaper "L'Equipe".Among the 20,000 glass sheets covering the 1914-1919 period and digitized by the Parisienne de Photographie, 5,000 photos has been selected and are exclusively distributed by the Roger-Viollet agency.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000765/46_5.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000765/46_5.thwThe Popular Front in Paris
As a response to the violent demonstrations provoked by nationalist leagues in February 1934, all left-wing movements united to challenge the rise of the far-right parties and the risk of a dictatorship. This coalition won the 1936 elections under the leadership of Léon Blum who headed the government until 1938, whilst rising unemployment and inflation triggered strikes and major popular protests. On June 7, 1936, the Matignon agreements were signed between French employers and leading trade union CGT (General Confederation of Labour). These ground breaking agreements established the 40-hour working week, and the first mandatory paid vacations (2 weeks), as well as wage increases. Over 600,000 new holidaymakers benefited from the discounted train tickets created for the occasion, and many sporting and outdoor associations, promoting camping (and culture !) or cycling were also established at the time.Browse our Popular Front 80th anniversary galleries.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000173/20555_7.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000173/20555_7.thwThe Paris commune
After the defeat of 1871 against the German troops, Paris rises up on March 18 against Thiers ; government which left the capital for Versailles. The Comité central of the Parisian National guard organizes elections to constitute a Commune government which settles in the Hôtel de Ville, decorated with red flags.This young and popular Parisian assembly includes great men such as the writer Jules Vallès or the painter Gustave Courbet. Many women, such as Louise Michel, an emblematic figure of the Commune, get involved in the fight, as well as many foreign volunteers.But the lack of organization and the disagreements between the leaders precipitate the end of this utopia. The Commune ends with a massive repression led by the Versailles troops during the "bloody week" of May 21 to May 28: massive executions, street fights near the barricades, the Communards set fire to several monuments. Thousands of prisoners are taken to Versailles, waiting to be judged in dreadful conditions of detention. The last deported and exiled Communards will wait until 1880 for their amnesty.
https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000481/73729_14.thu https://www.parisenimages.fr//thumbnails2/00000000481/73729_14.thwParis 1914-1918, life during wartime by Charles Lansiaux
Charles Lansiaux (1855-1939) became a photographer at the end of the 19th century. He established his own business in 1903, describing his company purpose as "Artistic and industrial photography, city works, emergency works, interior photography with artificial light, enlargements, amateur documentary photography ". At the beginning of the war in 1914, he started documenting daily life in Paris, far from the frontline. The resulting series of over 1000 images, titled "Aspects of Paris during the war of 1914" was not initially intended for publication but to be preserved as a testimony of what had happened. The Paris Historical library purchased the images as they were taken.
A selection of 200 of these so far unpublished photos was featured at the Galerie des Bibliothèques from Januay to June 2014. Find here these photographs, assembled following the sections in the exhibition.
Image: Charles Lansiaux : "Refugees from the North of France who travelled by train to settle in their families". Paris, August 20-30, 1914. © Charles Lansiaux / BHVP / Roger-Viollet