These historical composites layered over modern day scenes showcase the timeless postcard perfection and rich narratives that flow through the streets of Paris. By combining past and present portraits of the famous French capital, art director Julien Knez showcases just how many changes the City of Lights has seen over the past 100 years.
After receiving access to the Parigramme photo archives, Knez scouted out matching present-day locations to create his distinctive images. With a little editing, he was able to insert history into contemporary settings and, voila, a window into the past was opened. The vintage pictures date anywhere from the 1870s to the late 1960s, and capture some of the extraordinary political, social, and cultural events that have occurred in the beloved city of Paris.
The following images have been selected from Knez’s latest book Paris: Fentres sur l’Histoire and his clever visuals make the history of this vibrant city come alive.
Above: Tour Eiffel, 1900
Notre Dame, 1944
A joyful Liberation scene on August 25, 1944.
La Seine. Notre-Dame, 1930
Le Grand Palais, 1944
Rue Gay-Lussac, 1968
Le Moulin Rouge, 1900
The Moulin Rouge, which opened in 1889, drew clientele from all over, all eager to see the French cancan.
Place de l’Opra, 1940
June 23, 1940, the day after Germany established occupation of France, Hitler made a lightning trip to Paris. His two hour tour of the capital included Notre Dame, Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe and, as seen here, the Opera.
Rue du Faubourg-du-Temple, 1871
Quai de Conti, 1900
Passersby at the bouquinistes, or riverside booksellers.
Two friends celebrate the liberation of Paris at Place de l’Htel de Ville, in August 1944.
Place Vendme, 1871
“Odon” Station (Mtro), 1910
Passengers traveled by boat when the metro tracks were flooded in January 1910.
Arc de Triomphe, 1909
The now-defunct double-decker trams dropped passengers off next to the Arc de Triomphe.
Le Printemps. Boulevard Haussmann, 1930
Jardin du Luxembourg, 1895