Archive for the ‘History’ Category

On this day 73 years ago, French and American troops liberated Paris from Nazi occupation. Louise Dillery remembers; she was there. Louise was born in Paris on December 14, 1925 to Radjzla (“Rose”) Silberstein and Israël Gradstein, Jewish Polish immigrants who met in Paris. My mother was from Warsaw, and my father was from Lodz […]


Before visiting a new city Esteban and I usually read up on its history. But thanks to an overambitious itinerary, we knew little about Rouen when we arrived in September of 2015. Rouen was among Europe’s most prosperous and influential cities during the Middle Ages. Our first night was a blur (I’ll tell you about […]


From its doorknobs to its house numbers, Paris is rich in architectural details. But it was the city’s iconic pavers that led me on my most recent historical adventure. In some streets the pavers are still arranged in beautiful fan-like patterns. The rue de l’Abreuvoir offers a nice view of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, […]


The Cour du Commerce Saint-André in Paris’ sixth arrondissement is little more than a cobbled alley. Open only to pedestrians, it connects the tony and traffic-choked Boulevard Saint-Germain with the bustling little rue de Buci. But when you step onto its uneven paving stones, you’re stepping onto a spot where centuries of history converge. (Full […]


One of my favorite things about Paris is that everything is somehow connected. Over the next week I’ll show you seven photos that at first glance may seem unrelated — and next Sunday I’ll reveal what they share in common. The Place du Trocadéro offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower, but it had […]


Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. — a day to remember and honor those we’ve lost to the senseless tragedy that is war. Here’s one story, about a distant relative, I first published in 2014. May Doug and his sacrifice never be forgotten. On September 27 1942, Douglas Albert Munro sacrificed his life in […]


My only personal connection to Prince Rogers Nelson is that I once saw him walking across the street. is presence belied his tiny stature, and I thought him one of the most elegant, regal, and — yes — beautiful men I’d ever seen. He made such an impression in that fleeting moment, in fact, that […]


Remember that day I walked 25.9 miles (41km)? Here’s one-third of the story. I first heard of the Petite Ceinture a couple of years ago through MessyNessy Chic, where one photo in particular captured my imagination. Could this really exist in the heart of Paris? Photo via MessyNessy Chic During my next trip I vowed […]


This post is dedicated to my friend Gilles Thomas, for his tireless devotion to preserving the work — and honoring the memory — of Charles-Axel Guillaumot. Suppose you’ve been hired to oversee a vast and vital railroad network. Now imagine that, on the very first day of your new job, one of the trains on […]


“Have you read How Paris Became Paris?” my new blog-friend Nomad Woman asked recently. I had indeed — and I loved Joan DeJean’s approach of (re)telling the city’s history through architectural and technological innovations. I especially appreciated DeJean’s characterization of Henry IV (1554 – 1610) as a visionary. I had never before regarded his urban […]