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December 12, 2021

Amazing Color Photos of Paris in 1963

During the ten years that de Gaulle occupied the presidency (1958-68), France and Paris experienced rapid economic growth, which was accompanied by the building of new office buildings and housing, and the rehabilitation of historic neighborhoods in the center of the city.

In other neighborhoods in the center of Paris, the rehabilitation took a different form: residential buildings of the Haussmann era were transformed into offices. As the price of land doubled in the city center, middle class residents moved out to the suburbs. Dilapidated and crumbling residential buildings were torn down and replaced by office buildings. The population of the arrondissements in the city center markedly decreased.

The neighborhood of the central market of Les Halles was also a target for renewal. The old market was too small and traffic around it too congested to serve the needs of the growing city. One of the historic pavilions was preserved and moved to a park outside the city, but the others were closed down and the site, after long debate, was eventually turned into a park and underground commercial space, the Forum des Halles.

These amazing color photos from Simon Barnett were taken by his father when he traveled to Paris with his family in 1963.


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