More about books … a real treasure this time …

I am a sucker for buying books at Paris’ bouquinists – those bottle-green metal stalls on the quays of the river Seine. One vendor has got to know me;

Michelin Green Guide 1964

I am a sucker for buying books at Paris’ bouquinists – those bottle-green metal stalls on the quays of the river Seine. One vendor has got to know me; I always ask him what he’s got on historical serial killers and the guillotine. Before I’d explained to him my interest (I was researching Dr. Petiot when I first stopped at his stall) he used to give me very odd looks. It was when he wanted to know whether I was into SM that I thought that I better explain my interest.

Yesterday, walking along the river’s quays again, I found a real treasure. It was the 1964 edition of the Michelin Green Guide for Paris. I paid €2.50 ($3.50 / £2.18) for it. In the evening, checking on Amazon.com, I saw that it has two copies listed. The price of one is $34 and it is $78 for the other. (€24 ; £21 / €55 ; £49).

Why do I think the guide is a treasure? Well, it’s not bad to find that what cost me €2.50 in the morning, I could sell in the afternoon for €55, but it is that the guide speaks of a Paris which no longer exists.

Take the Louvre. The layout of the museum is given; Ground, First and Second floors. Its admission fee was 1 French Franc (€0.15c; $0.21c ; £0.32p). The museum opened at 10 a.m. and closed at 5 p.m. and some parts of the museum closed between 12.45-2 p.m. As now, the museum was closed on Tuesdays. Today the Louvre is open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. and until 10.p.m. on Fridays, and the admission fee is €9.50 ($13 / £8) with an added admission fee of €12 ($17 / £10.50) for special exhibitions or expositions.

In 1964 it cost 3 French Francs to go up to the Eiffel Tower’s 2nd floor. Today it could cost up to €13 ($18 / £11) depending on one’s age and the time of the year.

What had also changed since 1964 is that then one could visit the Palais de Justice (Paris’ main court house). Today, the threat of terrorism on our daily menu, one can enter that building only if one is to attend a court case, or one works there of course. In 1964, one could even pop into a court room and sit in on a trial.

Perhaps the biggest change that Paris has undergone since 1964 is that the wholesale market area of Les Halles in central Paris no longer exists. The Green Guide donates three pages to the market. (If you remember the film Irma La Douce  – watch?v=GgrEynddh7I – with Shirley MacLaine you will know what I’m talking about.) It used to be Paris’ red light district, its Rue Saint Denis the capital’s main pay-for-sex endroit. Rue Saint-Denis is now a pedestrian shopping mall with many small clothes- and -souvenir shops. I can tell you where to go now for prostitutes (male and female) but I won’t.

Another change is that in the 1964 guide there was no opera house on Place de la Bastille. And there were no gay bars and sex shops in the Marais quarter in central Paris as there are today, because the Marais is now Paris’ gay quarter. It is also Paris’ Jewish quarter, but the two – the Jews and the gays – keep their distance from one another.

I also found it amusing to read on the guide’s Page 19 where to spend an evening.  It mentions an Alhambra at Number 50 Rue de Malte in the République area, and an A.B.C. at 11 Boulevard Poissonnière close to the Montmartre hill, and there they’ve got me because I have no idea what they are talking about.

I am now looking for a Michelin Red Quide (of eating places) of that period.

Andre Michelin

You can read up about André Michelin, founder of the guides, here on the post entry.

And a last word on the 1964 guide: It’s cover price was French Francs 6.50 (€0.99 ; $1.38 / £0.86p). The very first Michelin guides were issued in 1900 and they were given away free to encourage motoring.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

6 Responses to “More about books … a real treasure this time …”

  1. 6
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

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    emt training Says:

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    tsanko Says:

    Wonderful ..thanks a lot for posting a good informitive blog

  6. 1
    Jo Wake Says:

    1964 – I guess that was somewhat after my days in and around Paris. If I ever came back I would probably not recognise much at all.

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