Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY IN PART 1, we began our time travel above Paris with the Opéra Garnier. Off in the distance at about 11:35 was the Grand Palais along the Seine. The neo-classic building about halfway between these two was La Madeleine. We continue recognizing famed Parisian sites here in Part 2.

This and following images from Legend of the Skies: Images and Objects From the World of Aviation.

Haussmann’s Nouveau Paris. Look straight down from the Antoinette’s right wing and you’ll see Église Saint-Augustin de Paris, built during Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s dramatic transformation of the city in the 1850s and 1860s.

It was Haussmann who replaced medieval passageways with broad boulevards. Our aerial view’s particularly broad thoroughfare running from L’Opéra to Saint-Augustin is Boulevard Haussmann.

Napoleon III was duly impressed. So, apparently was Ernst Starvo Blofield, the criminal mastermind behind SPECTRE (the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). In Thunderball, 1961, Ian Fleming described Boulevard Haussmann as “the solidest street in Paris” and also the site of SPECTRE’s headquarters (too recent to be identified in our aerial view).

According to Wikipedia, “Saint-Augustin, close to the spot where Haussmann was born, was built to provide a counterpoint to the famous columns of La Madeleine at the other end of the boulevard. It was also designed to be visible from the Arc de Triomphe down the Avenue de Friedland.”

The elevation of the main facade of Saint-Augustin, by Victor Baltard.

Wikipedia also notes that the church’s organ “is celebrated in the world of organ building…. One of the earliest organs to employ electricity, it features 54 stops with three 54-key manual keyboards and pedalboards.”

I hadn’t realized an organ keyboard didn’t have 88 keys, just like a piano’s.

Monsieur’s Reading Room Whilst Madame Shopped. Le Bon Marché (literally, “the good deal”) is a Parisian department store. It began in 1838 as a novelty shop called Au Bon Marché selling lace, ribbons, buttons, and the like.

Then in 1852 along came Aristide Boucicaut, sort of a 19th-century Parisian Jeff Bezos. According to Wikipedia, it was Boucicaut who “changed the marketing plan, instituting fixed prices and guarantees that allowed exchanges and refunds, advertising, and a much wider variety of merchandise.”

Elegant young ladies accompany an aviator above Au Bon Marché.

Wikipedia continues, “Boucicaut was famous for his marketing innovations; a reading room for husbands while their wives shopped; extensive newspaper advertising; entertainment for children; and six million catalogs sent out to customers. By 1880 half the employees were women; unmarried women employees lived in dormitories on the upper floors.”

Au Bon Marché, c. 1887. Image from fonds Boucicaut.

This Bon Marché is on the Left Bank, between the Rue de Sevres and Rue de Babylone; it’s not visible in our overall aerial view. 

Printemps Haussmann. By the way, the expansive building on the north side of Avenue de Haussmann (about a third of the way from L’Opéra Garnier to Saint-Augustin) is the Printemps Haussmann shopping complex.

Printemps opened in 1865 and, according to Wikipedia, “pioneered the idea of discount sales to clear outdated stock, and later the use of window models to display the latest fashion.” Its Jeff Bezos was Gustave Languionie, who took over the nearly collapsed Printemps in 1904. Five years later, he commissioned the Art Nouveau glass-domed complex seen in our 1911 aerial view

It’s interesting how many of the 1911 calendar’s views were relatively new at the time.  

A Prediction for the Year 2000. As indicated in Legend of the Skies, there’s nothing particularly novel about drive-through (or our pandemic’s curbside) services. 

A vignette from about 1910 heralding the wonders of the year 2000.

The caption is literally “the stirrup cup,” i.e., “one for the road,” left over from an earlier form of transportation. Or, in this case, “one for the air.” ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021

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