A Small Moment of Great Illumination
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A Walking Guide to the Transformation of Paris
published by Shoemaker and Hoard
Walk through the heart of Paris with hundreds of photos, maps, and engravings in hand to discover a Paris that no longer exists.
Preface by Alexandre Gady, assistant professor at the Sorbonne, excerpted and translated
"How strange it is, this city of ours. We must walk its streets with the soul of an archeologist, like an inhabitant of Pompeii walking among
the ruins wondering if he is not being tossed about in a dream." These words of Daniel Halevy, from his book, Parisian Landscapes, 1932,
could have been written for Leonard Pitt's book. For the pages that follow are like a large sepia-toned album of lost Paris that guide
the reader on a voyage through time, plunging him into a nostalgia whose guardian spirits are Marville, Emonds, Godefroy, Atget.
But this nostalgia is more than a simple indulgence in the past, for Leonard Pitt knows old Paris beautifully. He does more than simply
line up old photos of the city like an arrangement of fruit on a stand. He explains, he pinpoints, he dismantles and compares. More
importantly, he lays the images of old Paris over the modern city. Then, as if by magic, the depth of the Parisian past reveals itself
to the attentive stroller. Mister Pitt knows Paris. This city where he studied years ago with the mime Etienne Decroux, whose name is
forever linked to the film The Children of Paradise. His passion, his energy to search, to understand, to collect old maps, postcards,
engravings, and photos, gives his work an added depth, might I say, a soul. Thus, it is not an exaggeration to say that he has earned
the recognition, the gratitude of old Paris. And like Alfred Bonnardot a hundred and fifty years ago, he could content himself to sign
his work, "Leonard Pitt, Parisian".
Preface by Alexandre Gady
Walk 1 : From Saint-Germain des Prés to Square Viviani
Walk 2: Ile de la Cite´
Walk 3: From Saint-Germain des Prés to the Palais-Royal
Walk 4: The Marais