A state broadcasting radio station, Paris-P. All the radio stations were nationalized in , and were not privatized until The first official government broadcast was organized by Minister Georges Mandel on April 26, The audience for television in Paris at this time was extremely small; there were between five hundred and one thousand receivers.
The Paris of the Parisians
Like radio, it became a state monopoly in , and remained so until The writers Ernest Hemingway , W. The music hall had been a popular Paris institution since the 19th century; the most famous early halls were the Moulin Rouge , the Olympia and the Alhambra Music-Hall Others were the Folies-Bergere and the Casino-de-Paris.
They all faced stiff competition between the Wars from the most popular new form of entertainment, the cinema. They responded by offering more complex and lavish shows. In the Olympia had introduced the giant stairway as a set for its productions, an idea copied by other music halls. One of the most popular entertainers in Paris during the period was the American singer, Josephine Baker. Baker performed the 'Danse sauvage,' wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas.
The music-halls suffered growing hardships in the s. The Olympia was converted into a movie theater, and others closed. Others continued to thrive; In and the Casino de Paris presented shows with Maurice Chevalier , who had already achieved success as an actor and singer in Hollywood. He persuaded her to sing despite her extreme nervousness.
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Her nightclub appearance led to her first two records produced that same year, and the beginning of a legendary career. There were movie theaters in the city in , when the arrival of sound films caused movie attendance to jump; the number of theaters increased to by The most impressive new movie theater was the Grand Rex , built in in the Art Deco style.
The Gaumont Palace was rebuilt in to rival the Rex, in the even more modern international style. Paris hosted the Summer Olympics from May 4 to July 27, It was the second time the first was in that Paris hosted the Games. Forty-four nations took part in different events in 17 sports. Pierre de Coubertin , the founder of the modern Olympics, took part for the last time, and personally awarded the medals. The American Johnny Weissmuller , who later became famous as a film actor playing Tarzan , won three gold medals and one bronze in swimming.
It was much more modest in scale than the pre-war expositions. Unlike the earlier expositions, whose buildings were in the pure Beaux-Arts style, this Exposition featured by some of the most avant-garde architects of the time, including Le Corbusier and two architects from Soviet Russia, Konstantin Melnikov , who designed the Soviet Pavilion, for which he won a gold medal, and the architect Alexander Rodchenko ; their buildings, in the new constructivist style, were noted for their assertive modernity and lack of ornament.
His vision called for replacing a large part the right bank of Paris with two-hundred-meter tall skyscrapers and giant, rectangular apartment blocks. Its purpose was to highlight and economic contributions and cultures of France's colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The Exposition was immensely popular, attracting millions of visitors. The Communist Party sponsored a counter-exhibit in the city, denouncing French imperialism, but it attracted only a few thousand visitors.
Paris hosted its last international exposition between May 24 and November 25, It suffered from the political tensions of the period; the communist-led unions organized strikes, so that only the pavilion of the Soviet Union was finished on schedule. It was held on both sides of the Seine at the Champ de Mars and the colline de Chaillot.
The pavilions of the Soviet Union, crowned by a hammer and sickle, and of Germany, with an eagle and swastika on its summit, faced each other in the center of the exhibition. The Exposition attracted far fewer visitors than expected, and ran up a large deficit. A few important vestiges of the Exposition remain: The Palais de Tokyo , now the museum of modern art of the City of Paris; and the Palais de Chaillot , with its large terrace and views of the Eiffel Tower. The building now contains the museum of architectural monuments. The gardens and water cannons and fountains at the base of the Palais de Chaillot are also vestiges of the Exposition.
The remodeled art deco facade of the department store La Samaritaine , by Henri Sauvage The Art Nouveau had its moment of glory in Paris beginning in , but was out of fashion by The Art Deco , which appeared just before the war, became the dominant style for major buildings between the wars.
The primary building material of the new era was reinforced concrete. The structure of the buildings was clearly expressed on the exterior, and was dominated by horizontal lines, with rows of bow windows and small balconies, They often had classical features, such as rows of columns, but these were expressed in a stark modern form; ornament was kept to a minimum; and statuary and ornament was often applied, as a carved stone plaque on the facade,rather than expressed in the architecture of the building itself.
Some Paris buildings were transformed from Art Nouveau to art deco; the department store La Samaritaine , which originally had a colorful Art-Nouveau interior and facades, was expanded and remade with characteristic art-deco features in by Henri Sauvage. The modernist architect Le Corbusier , who at the age of twenty-one had worked as an assistant to Auguste Perret, opened his own architectural office with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret in and built some of his first houses in Paris.
The Villa La Roche , built for a Swiss pharmaceuticals magnate, was constructed in , and introduced many of the themes found in Corbusier's later work. He also designed the furniture for the house. The Exposition of decorative arts had several very modern buildings, the Russian pavilions, the art deco Pavillon du Collectionneur by Ruhlmann and the Pavillon d'Esprit by Le Corbusier , but they were all torn down when the exhibit ended.
The interior was filled with sculpture and murals from the period, still visible today.
Paris between the Wars (1919–1939)
Several new churches were built in Paris between the wars. It was very modern in its construction, built of reinforced concrete covered with red bricks from Burgundy, and featured a very large cupola, 22 meters in diameter, and a clock tower 75 meters high. The interior was decorated with murals by several notable artists, including Maurice Denis. The Grand Mosque of Paris was one of the more unusual buildings constructed during the period. Intended to honor the Muslim soldiers from the French colonies who died for France during the war, it was designed by the architect Maurice Tranchant de Lunel , and built and decorated with the assistance of craftsmen from North Africa.
The project was funded by the National Assembly in , construction began in , and it was completed in , and dedicated by the President of France, Gaston Doumergue , and the Sultan of Morocco, Moulay Youssef. Paris in the s and s was the home and meeting place of some of the world's most prominent painters, sculptors, composers, dancers, poets and writers. For those in the arts, it was, as Ernest Hemingway described it, "A moveable feast".
Paris offered an exceptional number of galleries, art dealers, and a network of wealthy patrons who offered commissions and held salons. The center of artistic activity shifted from the heights of Montmartre to the neighborhood of Montparnasse , where colonies of artists settled. Constantin Brancusi in Salvador Dali and Man Ray Several major artistic movements flourished in Paris at this time, including Cubism , Surrealism , and Art Deco. The American art patron Gertrude Stein , resident in Paris, played an important role in encouraging and buying works of Picasso and other artists of the period.
The first museum of modern art in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo , opened during the international exposition. Ernest Hemingway with his second wife, Pauline Between the Wars, Paris was home to the major French publishing houses and literary journals, and of France's most important writers. Marcel Proust was living at Boulevard Haussmann, editing his most important work, In Search of Lost Time , which he had begun in but was not finished by the time of his death in It was finally published in It was also home to a large community of expatriate writers from around the world.
Ernest Hemingway , hired as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star , moved to Paris with his first wife Hadley in and made his first residence in a small upstairs apartment at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine. He remained until , when he left with his second wife, Pauline. While there he wrote and published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. Others in the literary expatriate community included the poet Ezra Pound , the writer and art patron Gertrude Stein , and the English poet, critic novelist and editor Ford Madox Ford. In , the Irish author James Joyce received an invitation from the poet Ezra Pound to spend a week with him in Paris.
He ended up remaining for twenty years, writing two of his major works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. After the war began, in late , he moved to Zurich, where he died. Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell , lived in and on the rue du Pot de Fer in the fifth arrondissement, where he worked as a dishwasher in a Paris restaurant, an experience he immortalized in Down and Out in Paris and London.
An important meeting point for expatriate writers was the bookstore Shakespeare and Company not to be confused with the modern bookstore of that name near Place Saint-Michel , first located at 8 rue Dupuytren from to , and then from to at 12 rue de l'Odeon. It was run by the American Sylvia Beach. Sergei Diaghilev , founder of the Ballets Russes. It was written on a commission from the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein , who had been a member of the Ballets Russes before starting her own company.
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Satie was in poor health, due largely to a long life of excessive drinking. Nonetheless he established connections with the Dadaist movement, and wrote the music for two ballets shortly before his death.
Igor Stravinsky first achieved fame in Paris just before World War I with his revolutionary compositions for the Ballets Russes. In he returned for a production of a new ballet, Pulcinella , with sets designed by Pablo Picasso. He, his wife and daughter were invited by designer Coco Chanel to stay in her new house in the Paris suburb of Garches.
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Struggling for money, he obtained a contract with the Paris piano company Pleyel et Cie to re-arrange his music for their popular player pianos. In February he met the Russian dancer Vera de Bosset and began a long affair with her, both in Paris and on tours around Europe. It was a very unhappy period for him; both his daughter and wife died of tuberculosis.
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In , as the war approached, he left Paris for the United States; he married Vera in and settled in Los Angeles. Many composers from around the world came to Paris in this period to take part in the city's energetic musical life. Despite its name, the most famous Parisian dance [ dubious — discuss ] company, the Ballets Russes , never performed in Russia.
So it is also a safer way to travel.
If you were to walk into a small shop and not greet the store clerk, that store clerk will think you are purposely being rude. Then you ask a question point blank, without first greeting them politely in the French way, and again they may think you are purposely disrespecting them. Parisians have the stereotype of being rude or at least unfriendly. Ironically, courtesy and being polite are actually very important to French social customs.
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In a year of living there and various stays since, I have found that Parisians are no ruder than citizens of any other big city; in fact, I do find them overall very polite compared to many. I suppose another possible reason Americans sometimes describe Parisians as arrogant or rude is that they are misinterpreting the Parisians' attempt to be reserved and polite as aloof snobbery But then others, perhaps, consider it characteristic of a Parisian social elegance.
In turn, Parisians are often shocked or just uncomfortable with people who have a lack of reserve.