Artist Unknown, (Paris Scenes), Computer Graphics, Film Gifs from “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900”
The Belle Époque was a period in the history of Paris between 1871 to 1914, from the beginning of the Third French Republic until the first World War. The nostalgic term came into use, after the despair and deaths of World War One, for what seemed a simpler time of elegance, optimism and progress. This “Beautiful Age’ brought dramatic advancements in art, culture, and technology.
In the field of architecture, Paris saw the construction of the Paris Metro, the completion of the Paris Opera House, the building of the Eiffel Tower, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre. During the three Universal Expositions of 1879, 1889, and 1900, millions of visitors came to Paris to see the latest marvels in commerce, the arts, and science. Paris was also the birthplace of the Ballets Russes, the most influential ballet company of the twentieth century, and the new art movements of Impressionism and the experimental Modern Art.
One particularly important technological invention that emerged at this time was the projected motion picture, patented in 1895 by Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumière. With this new technology, the Lumière brothers captured contemporary life in 19th-century Paris, culminating in the priceless black and white footage we can still see today.
Shot between 1896 and 1900, the compilation “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900” takes viewers on a journey back in time to Paris. In six minutes, it showcases several sites around the French capital, including still-standing landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Champs-Élysées, and the ten-year-old Eiffel Tower. In addition to featuring specific locations, it also offers a glimpse of daily life, from a scene showing firefighters on horseback to footage of children playing with little boats in the Tuileries Garden.
In order to set a lifelike scene, film restorer Guy Jones slowed the footage to a natural speed and added ambient noise. When coupled with the video’s strikingly high quality, these alterations make it possible for people today to wander through the Golden Age of Paris.
The complete film “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900” by the Lumière brothers with restoration and soundtrack can be found, along with other restored works, at Guy Jones’s Youtube site: