Arrangement of tulips in the Tuileries Garden, Paris, May 8, 1925, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.
These autochromes were taken at the Place du Carrousel, looking south to the Seine River. Today, there is a road and a roundabout (with a skylight for the underground shopping mall below) on this spot, which is just west of where I.M.Pei’s Pyramide du Louvre now stands.
It is also where Emmanuel Macron and his supporters celebrated his victory in the French presidential election runoff last night.
Today is La Fête de la Victoire in France. The public holiday commemorates the date of Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allies in 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The images above are four of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.
“The property of M. [Raymond] Poincaré in Èze. The gardens and the main entrance of the house,” ca. 1914 – ca. 1918, photographer unknown, via the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie Commons on flickr.
Èze is located on the southeastern coast ofFrance, not far from Nice. The Mediterranean was just beyond the railings above.
(To scroll through a number of larger versions of the photo, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.)
Raymond Poincaré was President of France from 1913 to 1920. He had been both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (simultaneously) during all of 1912.
. . . I decided this time not to go to Sampigny but to stay somewhere on the Mediterranean. After brief research, I rented, in the Alpes-Maritimes, at the foot of the small town of Saracen Eze-sur-Mer, a quiet villa, hidden in the pine trees. . . . [I]t has an incomparable view of the sea. By winning this early retirement, I am not unhappy to escape a little to the embrace of my job, but at least I have the impression that the state of Europe, while still unstable, allows me to breathe more freely. Peace seems restored in the Balkans. Our relations with all Powers are normal. Whatever the new influences acting on William II, France was determined not provide any pretext for war. It’s almost a feeling of rest and security I feel, when I’ll salute the French Riviera the spring of 1914.