Simanaitis Says

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PARIS 1922

“…PARIS IS a moveable feast,” said Ernest Hemingway. And, based on the 1922 Continental Hotel’s Guide, it must have been memorable.


1922 Continental Hotel’s Guide, Édité par la Societé Fermière de l’Hotel Continental; 3, rue de Castiglione, Paris, 1922.

Surely Google Translate has this wrong: What I suspect is a corporate entity of the hotel, la Societé Fermière, gets translated literally as “the Farmer Society.” Mon Dieu!


This and other images from 1922 Continental Hotel’s Guide.

Fortunately, once past its title page, the 1922 Continental Hotel’s Guide has lots of français/English duality. There are capsule entries on everything from Ambassadors to Museums to Promenades to Transports, with plenty of recommendations and period ads that enhance the guide’s charm.


Women’s apparel appeals both to the past and the future.

Paris in 1922 was on the start of the Flapper Era. For instance, an ad for Puniet, purveyor of Fabricant breveté, provided “bodice corsets countering obesity” as well as “girdles for all abdominal ailments.”


“Salomé” offered a much trendier look for mam’selle.

By contrast, Alice & Armand/Alice Capart put a bob-haired flapper in its ad and promised high fashion for the day, afternoon or evening.

And, just in case one’s partying got a bit out of hand, the guide also offered a listing for Cochert; 30, rue Tronchet; Détective privé.

Comment dites-on (“How does one say?”) shamus en français?

Since the guide was published by a hotel, indeed, then and now one of Paris’s finest, there aren’t many other Paris hoteliers cited. However, one caught my eye: Dans Hotel Particulier.


Here, a first guess yields what français/English speakers call a faux ami/false friend: Does this ad suggest a fellow named Dan has a special place offering “coquettishly furnished rooms”? (European friends would tug an eyelid down with an index finger.)

However, there’s no apostrophe. What’s more, dans is French for “in” and the ad is actually offering home-like accommodations, “by the day or month.” Sort of what they’d call chez nous.

There are several out-of-town hotels mentioned, including the Hotel de Parc in Mulhouse, on the eastern extremity of France close to the Swiss and German borders. Today, this Alsatian city is home to the Cité de l’Automobile, now the national home of the fabulous Schlumpf auto collection. Just 60 miles up the road from Mulhouse is the town of Molsheim, ancestral home of Bugatti automobiles.


Years after 1922, a Bugatti Brescia enters Pebble Beach Concours at dawn. Image by the author.

If I were picking up my 1922 Bugatti Brescia directly from the works, I might have stayed in Bugatti’s Molsheim accommodations, the Hostellerie du Pur Sang (Hotel of Thoroughbreds). “Might” because my research is unable to determine precisely when Le Patron acquired the old Villa Gertrude and transformed it. The most definitive sources say “in the 1920s.”


Hostellerie du Pur Sang. Image from Bugatti Magnum.

According to Bugatti authority Hugh Conway, the Hostellerie du Pur Sang provided posh accommodations for customers and race drivers. By contrast, mechanics stayed in a wooden annex behind the main building.

Returning to Paris in my new Brescia, I might fancy a bit of dinner. What about the Chinese Umbrella? It certainly offers a varied menu.


And, were nightlife in mind, what better place to hang out than 66, rue Pigalle; Montmarte. The Monico is le plus Gai de Paris and Ouvert touts la nuit.


Yep, my kinda place. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2015

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