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Nadar and How Photography became an Art

Nadar and How Photography became an Art

On April 5, 1820, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon better known under his pseudonym Nadar, was born. He is considered to be one of the first grand masters of photography, besides being a caricaturist, a journalist, a novelist, and also a renown balloonist. Felix Nadar started studying medicine, but abandoned this subject to become a journalist and worked at first in Paris and Lyon. Back then, he was already known as an amazing caricaturist, wherefore…
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Eugène Atget’s Old Paris

Eugène Atget’s Old Paris

On February 12, 1857, French photographer Eugène Atget was born. A pioneer of documentary photography, Atget is noted for his determination to document all of the architecture and street scenes of Paris before their disappearance to modernization. An inspiration for the surrealists and other artists, his genius was only recognized by a handful of young artists in the last two years of his life, and he did not live to see the…
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Molière – Grandmaster of Comedy

Molière – Grandmaster of Comedy

(Probably) on January 14th, 1622, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, French playwright and actor who is known by his stage name Molière was born. He is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was baptized in Paris on January 15, 1622 as son of Jean Poquelin and Marie Cressé, the daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family. His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers de…
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Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rodolphe Perronet (1708-1794) On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris, the son of a Swiss Guardsman. At 17 he entered the architectural practice of Jean Beausire, “first architect” to the city of Paris, as…
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Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

On April 9, 1821, French poet Charles Baudelaire was born. He produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire is most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire is considered one of the major innovators in French literature. His themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression,…
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Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

On March 27, 1809, French politician and city planer Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann, was born. He was the Prefect of the Seine Department in France, who was chosen by the Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive program of new boulevards, parks and public works in Paris, commonly called Haussmann‘s renovation of Paris. In the middle of the 19th century, the center of Paris had the same structure…
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The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

On February 15, 1830, the famous Paris Academy Dispute began between the naturalists Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and George Cuvier [5] about the possibility of biological evolution began with a speech of Saint-Hillaire comparing vertebrates with mollusces. Within 8 public debates the scientists argued about the possibility that nature not necessarily has to be static but might be subject to constant change. It was the most prominent scientific debate in the 19th century that heavily influenced…
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Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Métro

Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Métro

A Paris Métro Sign©Fabio Venni / cc-by-sa Version 2.0 On July 19 1900, Paris, cultural center of the Belle Époche, opened its Métro. The Paris Métro stations with their Fin de Siècle charme and Art Nouveau design have become a timeless icon of the city. Main achievements of the Exposition Universelle in 1900 were the introduction of escalators, talking films, the famous Eiffel Tower, and Ferris wheels. Rudolf Diesel exhibited his engine…
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