Most people would agree that Paris lived its most glorious time as a city in the 1920s. These photos are the proof.
There’s something undeniably alluring about Paris that enthralls everyone who visits it. It isn’t only its historical, architectural, or artistic value, it also has a je ne sais quoi that makes it a city with no comparison. As Gil Pender says in the acclaimed movie Midnight in Paris, “you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights...” It’s hard not to fall in love with Paris today, but perhaps it was even better in the 1920s when Paris was the capital of art in all its forms and the city saw an age of intellectual and cultural glory. Some of the best artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals from all over the world made of the city either an escape or the paradise they had always dreamt of as their home. But I’ve always wondered, what did the city actually look like, leaving all the amazement and love depicted in their works aside? These are just a few of the best photos we have of those glorious days. They show why all of these people fell so in love with the amazing City of Lights.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
"In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator." -Jean Cocteau
“Lise: Paris has ways of making people forget. Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It’s too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way.” -An American In Paris
"When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise." -Henry Miller
“I love Paris when it sizzles.” -Cole Porter
“The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant.” -T.S. Eliot
As Pender realizes at the end of the movie, we always see the past as this glorious and romanticized time we wish we were able to experience. But there’s no doubt that this city has something that makes time freeze and transports you to that version of itself you’ve always longed to see. Whether you’re walking down its streets seeing the sophisticated and fast-forward fashion of the time, or you’re just sitting at a café, the city will always show you exactly what you’re looking for.
Here are other stories that will transport you to that glorious decade: