Thursday, 16 May 2019

Postcard from the past: the hopital Saint-Jospeh

The best vintage postcards tell two stories. No, the best vintage postcards offer enigmatic extracts from two stories. Like an intriguing book cover and a well presented back page blurb, they spur you to pick up the object and read on. With a book, your desire to know the full story can be satiated, but a postcard will always keep its mystery. 

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A decade of invisibility in Paris!

Although production has dropped significantly in recent times, Invisible Paris can nevertheless blow out the candles on a 10th birthday today (September 17)! I began the blog a decade ago with little more in mind than giving focus and structure to my random wanderings around Paris, and its purpose and ambition has changed little since then. The blog is more invisible than ever today, but survives, and still plays a role in my life.
 

Indeed, starting the blog in 2008 turned out to be a life-changing decision for me in many ways. Over the decade, I have explored and researched hundreds of places in Paris, and through the blog I have met and collaborated with dozens of fascinating people. The blog has helped me get published in magazines and newspapers, got me featured on a TV programme and led to me writing a book.
 

Most of it was unplanned, with publications generally stemming from random encounters, lines read in books, buildings seen in different lights or e-mails popping into my inbox. The blog goes on because Paris continues to fascinate, inspire, infuriate, and pose questions, and because most of the city still remains invisible. I have no idea what the next 10 years will bring, but here are the ten things that have most marked the blog for me so far.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Book review and interview: “Left Bank” by Agnès Poirier

The ancient heart of Paris gives its name to a recently published book by writer and journalist Agnès Poirier, but rather than the history, geography or architecture of the district, it is an extraordinary period in its life in the middle of the twentieth century, and more particularly on a cast of fascinating characters that take centre stage.
 

If the Left Bank of Paris had already (re)developed artistic and cultural relevance in the 1920s and 30s, it is the period between 1940 and 1950 that Poirier convincingly argues was the era when the rive gauche truly played a world-changing role. At the heart of the book – which she describes as being neither a work of fiction nor an academic analysis, but rather a “reconstruction, a collage of images, a kaleidoscope of destinies” – are two extremely magnetic poles; Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Challenge 12: a tale of two bridges

That whole area is weird” wrote Jonathan, encouraging me to look into a metropolitan mystery that had been bugging him on his daily cycle commute to work. There’s the road that stops, starts again and splits into two, a church that looks more like a house and a forgotten statue that sits next to an unnamed roundabout.  Most of all though, there are two large bridges stretching across the railway lines within 50 metres of each other. “Why would they build two bridges right next to each other” asked Jonathan, noting that one is always empty, while the other is always one big traffic jam.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Le Corbusier and a sinking feeling

A little over eight years ago on this blog I posted on Le Corbusier’s two 1929 Salvation Army projects in Paris. If his polychrome Cité de Refuge has since undergone extensive renovations and shines on the horizon, the concrete barge on the Seine, the Louise-Catherine, unfortunately sank in 20 minutes last weekend following the recent floods.

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