Paris in Vivid Color Images by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, 1923

Paris as seen from the church of Saint Gervais.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

These colored photos by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont will take you back through time to see how Paris looked in 1923. The vivid images are produced using the autochrome technique in which the plates are covered in microscopic red, green and blue colored potato starch grains (about four million per square inch).

When the photograph is taken, light passes through these color filters to the photographic emulsion. The plate is processed to produce positive transparency. Light, passing through the colored starch grains, combines to recreate a full-color image of the original subject.

h/t: rarehistoricalphotos

A blind alley in old Paris.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Paris during the 1920s was an enigmatic and frivolous place. The people were changing, norms were being challenged and sexualities were becoming more present in the social spectrum.

The Jardin des Tuileries.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Stereotypically, the 20s were a place in history where people, especially the youth, began to break out of their societally-decided places and experiment with how they fit in with the world.

A flower market near the Chatelet.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Cars appeared on the roads; picture houses opened, projecting the world’s first silent movies; radios appeared in households; jazz flourished, and musical halls – where icons like Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier launched their careers – became the places to see and be seen in.

The Palais Garnier opera house.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Paris was at the heart of it all, not only in terms of fashion and entertainment but in the domains of decorative art and architecture, as movers and thinkers drew inspiration from cubism, modernism, and neoclassicism to create the ‘total’ style that came to be known as art deco.

Horses and workers on a riverbank.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Formal gardens and ponds.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Paris in 1923.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Men on the Île de la Cité.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A view through trees across the Seine.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The gardens of the Senate building.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The hotel of Madame de Lamballe, a friend of Marie-Antoinette.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Moulin Rouge nightclub at Montmarte.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A colonnade and lake in a garden.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Moulin de la Galette, or Mill of the Cake, at Montmartre.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A view across the Seine.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The church of Saint Germaine l’Auxerrois.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The cathedral of Notre Dame.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The street of Saint Julian the Poor in old Paris.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A pathway in the gardens of a large estate.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Men stand beside crafts for sale near the cathedral of Notre Dame.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Trocadero gardens and the Eiffel Tower.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A view down the street to the Panthéon.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

A street scene outside a butcher’s shop.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Museum of the Decorative Arts in the Tuileries.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The flower market on the Quai aux Flaers.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

The Porte Saint-Denis.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

Twilight on the Seine.

Jules Gervais-Courtellemont/National Geographic Creative/Corbis

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