Saturday, 1 September 2012

People and places in Paris during the first years of the "Belle Epoque"

Place de la Concorde (drawing by Boudier)

During the second half of the 19th century, Paris was totally transformed. In 1852 Napoleon III commissioned Georges-Eugène Haussmann to devise a bold plan to beautify and modernize the city. Haussmann replaced shabby shacks with elegant six and seven story white stone buildings on wide, tree lined avenues and boulevards. He also created many beautiful parks and open places.

Lately some historians have concluded that baron Haussman´s role as urban modernizer has been somewhat overblown. In reality, much of what has been called "Haussmannisation" actually happened during the the Third Republic between 1872 and the 1930s, as the American historian Peter S. Soppelsa points out in his thesis "The Fragility of Modernity:  Infrastructure and Everyday Life in Paris, 1870 - 1914"

Simply put, much of what we think of as “Haussmannization”—even including road development—actually happened under the Third Republic, between 1872 and the 1930s. 
Historical memory of Haussmann is distorted because we confuse what he started with what he finished. He started the long, uneven process of modern infrastructural development in Paris, but he by no means finished it. 

Still, Soppelsa also recognizes Haussmann´s lasting legacy:

Surely the most famous of Haussmann's works are the boulevards, one of his most lasting contributions to Paris's history. While it remained unfinished in his career and his lifetime, his street network created a template that the Travaux de Paris would continue to follow into the 20th century.

During "La Belle Epoque" ( approximately 1890 - 1914) Paris became the chic center of international arts and culture, although there were many artists who decried the fact that Haussmann´s and his successors´renovation projects had destroyed the city´s medieval center. One of them was Charles Rabelais, who described his feelings in a poem:

Old Paris is gone (no human heart
changes half so fast as a city's face)…
There used to be a poultry market here,
and one cold morning… I saw

a swan that had broken out of its cage,

webbed feet clumsy on the cobblestones,
white fathers dragging in the uneven ruts,
and obstinately pecking at the drains…

Paris changes . . . but in sadness like mine

nothing stirs—new buildings, old
neighbourhoods turn to allegory,
and memories weigh more than stone 

Below is a small collection of photographs, drawings and etchings from Paris, which show people and places during the first years of "La Belle Epoque": 

Rue de Rivoli
Hôtel de ville, the Paris city hall
Place de la Concorde
 Palais de la Bourse
Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
The Eiffel tower in the 1880s
Boulevard de la Madeleine
The Regiment is marching (etching by Rosseau)
Notre-Dame and the Île de la Cité
A scene from  La Rive Gauche, the southern bank of the river Seine 
(etching by Flórian, based on a painting by Béraud) 
rastaquouère (social upstart)
(etching by Rousseau, based on a painting by Forsin)
Destitution - "when you have not been able to pay the rent"
(etching by Rosseau, based on a painting by Geoffray)
A boulevardier -  a man who promenades through the fashionable city streets of
Paris, "a man about
 (etching by Rosseau, based on a drawing by Forsin)
A Parisienne
(etching by Ruffe, based on a drawing by Béraud)
Qaui des fleurs (drawing by Boudier)
Palais Garnier, housing the Paris Opera (based on drawing by Boudier)
A scene from the Halles Centrales (etching by Derbier, based  on  a  painting  by Gilbert)

The Costa neoRomantica on its way to Oslo

The Costa neoRomantica (219 x 32m) has been one of the regulars in Øresund this cruise season. Last night she was again on her way northwards from Copenhagen to Oslo.  

The Costa neoRomtantica and a Danish sailing boat in the Sound
The neoRomantica, with the port of Helsingborg in the background
It was nice to see so many people out on the decks. Some "colleagues" were  aiming  their  cameras on the Kronborg castle on the Danish side of the Sound.
Heading for Oslo

Friday, 31 August 2012

Five NATO navy ships in Øresund

The small NATO flotilla on its way northwards in the Sound

Last night a small "Baltic" navy flotilla made its way northwards through the Øresund. The ship crews from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania must have enjoyed the beauty of the Nordic summer evening ...

The modernised Sandown-class minehunter EML Admiral Cowan (M313) was the first ship in the flotilla. She used to serve as the former HMS Sandown lead ship of her class of the Royal Navy. The ship is now part of the Estonian Navy

This is the Latvian Naval Forces´ VIDAR class minelayer Virsaitis (A53). The ship, which was built in 1978 for the Royal Norwegian Navy, was previously called Vale

The LKL Sūduvis (M52) is a minehunter of the Lithuanian Naval Force. It was built already in 1957 as Koblenz (M1701), a Lindau-class minesweeper for the German Navy. Germany donated the minehunter to Lithuania in 1999. 

This is the Latvian Storm-class Fast Patrol Boat LVNS Lode (P02). Originally she was one of the 20 Storm-class vessels built for the Royal Norwegian Navy. In 1995 Norway donated three of these boats to Latvia

The Lithuanian patrol boat Dzukas (P12) is the former Royal Danish Navy Flyvefisken class multirole vessel Hajen. The Hajen and her sister ship Lommen were delivered to the Lithuanian Navy in 2010. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The classic cruise ship Black Watch in Øresund on a Nordic summer evening

Tonight the passengers on the classical cruise ship Black Watch must have enjoyed the beauty of the Nordic summer evening when the ship sailed through the Sound on its way from Copenhagen to Kristiansund in Norway.

The 205 x 25m ship entered service already in 1972 as the Royal Viking Line´s Royal Viking Star. She is now owned and operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

Ships in the Oslofjord in the 19th century

This 1890s etching, based on a painting by Hans Gude, shows marine traffic in the Oslofjord (or Christiania fjord as it was then called). This inlet in the south-east of Norway has been used by seafarers since early historical times. It was e.g. here that three of the best preserved Viking ships were found.

Cargo ship BBC Colorado with problems in the Sound

The Antigua Barbados registered cargo ship BBC Colorado (138 x 21m) is clearly experiencing some kind of engine or other problems. A few minutes ago the Danish tug Svitzer Geo came to assist the Colorado. On this, very hazy picture you can see that freighter is connected with a line to the tugboat, which is positioned just behind the stern. The Colorado is now very slowly continuing towards the nearby port of Helsingør.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The cruise liner Vision of the Seas on its way northwards in Øresund

The Royal Caribbean´s cruise liner the Vision of the Seas (280 x 32m) tonight passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its way from Copenhagen to Tallinn.

The Polish sail training ship Dar Młodzieży approaching Helsingør

The Dar Młodzieży in the Sound

The Polish sail training ship Dar Młodzieży (109 x14m) is always an imposing sight. So she was today, when she approached Helsingør from the Kattegat. The three mast frigate is returning to Gdynia from Bremerhaven.

Dar Młodzieży and the tanker Delta Victory
Approaching Helsingør
Most of the sails were down when the ship passed the Kronborg castle