all change is not growth, as all movement is not forward – e. glasgow

allo all! it’s very late and my last post from paris this time around. it’s been a fantastic trip with lots of great memories and pretty things coming home. but for the first time, it’s a little different for me. as you know i adore the flea markets and all the stories they tell. lately though, i feel a little bittersweetness about it because the subtle ‘progressive’ changes in the city are becoming more apparent and i’m not sure they’re for the best.

ok maybe at times paris can be a bit of a gilded lily, and i can understand wanting to mix the old with the new. but paris is the worlds’ muse and we come for her beauty and inspiration.

le train-bleu, in paris’ gare de lyon

and as someone who loves interior and exterior architecture, i can’t for the life of me figure out why the french allow their beautiful city to be ravaged by renovators.

the changes are everywhere, from the windows coming down and satellite dishes going up

to small details like the books being pilfered for engraving and endpapers sold as scraps

glass fronts on traditional boulangeries and boucheries are tossed aside and the storefronts are cemented over

handpainted panels are removed and separated from the grand walls they once adorned

and apparently stained glass is considered passé

why someone would want to dismantle a marble fireplace and mirror is beyond me

and why would the city allow such destruction?

i mean, i’m not complaining, it gets circulated all over the world i suppose

but it just seems that in this day and age we should preserve what we have and take care of it as stewards

these apartments will be here long after us and what will be left?

where is the love?

and why is it being replaced with  ‘sanitization’of the city’ as the french are calling it?

ok maybe i am complaining just a little. it’s happening throughout the city. these beautiful old tile frames in the metro are all coming down

and the old bouquinistes kisoks are being replaced with one of the prototypes below

maybe like joni mitchell sings,  paris, is old and cold and settled in its ways. but isn’t that why we love her so?  if the powers that be want to make changes, i humbly suggest adding a few more escalators in the metros, make it easier to catch a cab and run a design contest for a pretty something to cover the hanging clear plastic garbage bags on the streets.  of course outlawing satellite dishes and making it a crime to dismantle apartments and store facades over 100 years old wouldn’t hurt either! but some say it’s progress. i say it’s heartbreaking. what do you think?

September 17, 2012. Antique Shopping, Architectural Elements, Architecture, Clignancourt Flea Market, flea markets, Fleamarkets, France, Marché aux Puces, Paris, Paris Apartments, Paris Flea Markets.


  1. Rhonda replied:

    I crave old city life, living in a city that is so new is boring. Please tell Paris, spanking new is boring. Tell Paris we love her the way she is – it’s why we visit and stand on the street taking her all in. She is magical.


  2. Connie replied:

    Oh no! Not the bouqinistes! Ce n’est pas vrai!!!


  3. Wanda Brainbeuty replied:



  4. Jamie replied:

    This makes me sad.


    • Jill replied:

      Living in southern California, It breaks my heart that this proud and majestic city fails to recognize it’s rich architectural history.


  5. Claire from French Furniture replied:

    Its so sad. I think its the most beautiful city in the world and should be preserved! What are they thinking.


  6. Vicki Archer replied:

    It is shocking… I agree Claudia… there are too many bureaucrats in France making important decisions… it’s the same in the south in a much smaller way… beauty ripped out in favour of ugly practicality.. Although the French do prefer all things bright and sparkly… otherwise there would never have been such a thing as a flea market! Safe travels home… xv


  7. Nikon replied:

    I agree, progress can be a disaster.
    So much beauty in Paris to preserve.
    Those outdoor book stalls are hideous.


  8. Budoor replied:

    It’s really heartbreaking :(


  9. Faith Boggio replied:

    I love Paris. It is painful to see all those wonderful things that make her unique being removed and discarded. Yes, add the escalators in the metro. I am older and all those stairs make it almost impossible for me to use the metro.


  10. Deatra replied:

    Il est tragique, les Français devraient se souvenir de la raison pour laquelle nous voulons visiter Paris. et ce n’est certainement pas à cause de nous pouvons trouver tout le confort moderne d’un chez-soi. Même si je suis d’accord avec la conception de la nouvelle aux kiosques, j’espère qu’ils ne jamais modifier la Maison de Fromage.I will always be resistant to unnecessary change.


  11. Lynn Ross replied:

    How sad…do they need the money that badly??


  12. Dad replied:

    What you are experiencing is what I saw decades ago with the huge influx of tourism which led to the hotel boom of the sixties and seventies.
    This is not new for Paris, or France, for that matter. Think “La Defence” that Paris is still trying to promote for tourism. Think the destruction of Montparnasse in the seventies and Les Halles and the construction of the Pompidou Museum and so much more. Think the former ville de Roissy, not to mention so many other “updatings” of “La vieille Paris” especially during and since the presidency of Georges Pompidou, who proudly proclaimed that the days of old France were numbered,
    When I saw the rebuilt western port cities after the destruction of WW 2 I knew they were the first harbingers of what you are seeing now.
    Quel dommage!


  13. Jacqueline leDoux Trouard replied:

    I have never been and probably never will be privileged to visit and intimately tour Paris but I too think it is horrible that all the beauty is being ripped off walls, ceilings, buildings and being thrown away or, thank goodness, sold to someone who appreciates it. When I drive through the busy streets of downtown New Orleans I always take the, traffic alloted, time to look up at the stone work and all it’s beauty.
    Thank you for sharing The Paris Apartment with us!


  14. Darleen~ Places In The Home replied:

    Sad turn of events in a city rich in history, beauty, and architectural details so many of us stand in beautiful awe of. Structures and elements can be emulated with materials that do their best to imitate, but the history and provenance can never be replicated. To appreciate you must preserve and vice versa.


  15. peggy braswell replied:

    It is so easy to tear down + not enought voices to cry out. Thank you for being one of those voices.


  16. lelanie replied:

    Claudia, I couldn’t agree more. It is so sad to see heritage and culture tossed aside in favour of ‘progress’. I suppose that is just the way the world is going. It is good thought, to have people like yourself who love the French culture and it’s heritage. Hopefully, this way, we will be able to preserve some of the beauty and joy for future francophiles. People all around the world should cherish and protect what they hold dear. We have just bought a very old and run down home. The trend in our area is to modernise and change these homes. People here rip up original Oregon pine flooring that is more than 60 years old. I want to embrace our home’s cottage charm. My plan is to enhance the home’s style and bring out the best of the period. While obviously adding a few mod cons. ;)A girl needs a dishwasher. We should respect our past, it guides our future.


  17. Theresa Seabaugh replied:

    I want to scoop it all up and save it! Thank you for posting these beautiful photos. It breaks my heart, though.


  18. Merillion replied:

    I find it heartbreaking also. Unfortunately, stupid people in control of such things have stupid ideas. Why must THEIR opinions be the ones that are OK’d by people? These people come & go all the time. They destroy everything – they ruin peoples’ lives, then they’re gone. We cannot let them do it – but how to stop them? People who CARE have to FIGHT!


  19. Jayne on Weed Street replied:

    I am in complete sympathy with you! Hate to see the old torn down and the new that replaces it which is sometimes not its equal. But I try to imagine if we never evolved past the 17th century where I am quite certain my ancestors were washing laundry by the river…or some such ghastly chore.


  20. Paris Rendez-vous replied:

    Yes..I agree with you Claudia…it’s all such a shame…sanitization…there should be a law against it!!!


  21. Shelly Gregory replied:

    Heartbreaking! Just heartbreaking. The things this world does and does not preserve is crazy.


  22. Valerie replied:

    Yes, it is heartbreaking – “where is the love?” as you say.
    The objects in your photos are very beautiful, as well as functional when not purely ornamental.
    Surely there are laws covering preservation of certain heritage items?


    • Merillion replied:

      Yes, something like a “historical society,” like we have here (U.S.).

      Can’t let people do this stuff! It isn’t right to let them!


  23. jennifer@nicolejanehome replied:

    Oh, Claudia. It must be particularly difficult for you to witness these changes. Such a sad development for all of us, who are so inspired by the intricate beauty of Paris.


  24. Rebecca replied:

    I think it’s a Crying Shame! (What beauty you’ve captured in your photos though…)


  25. Style Maniac replied:

    Maybe it’s that we often fail to see the beauty right in front of us — but instead get jaded or overlook it? I agree with you — this is not a sign of progress at all but a sad sad development.


  26. Style Maniac replied:

    p.s. that train station restaurant! Mon dieu, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Will be including the pic on an upcoming post on my blog (with linkback to you of course).


  27. French Furniture replied:

    It is so sad to see this heritage being torn out. These articles are the soul and character of the old buildings. I agree with Style Maniac, sometimes one does get so used to the treasures around you that they lose their charm.


  28. Kat replied:

    I think it is important to remember that while Paris is a very beautiful city, people live here and therefore function is also important. We cannot just keep Paris the same, always. Sometimes there needs to be change, that is not to say that the old things are not beautiful. Also by no means are all things “old” or “historical” being replaced. Rather if something needs to be modified, it is, because people live here. Also these old furnishings and decorations aren’t being thrown in the trash, they are being sold because the vendors recognize that they do have value and someone else would want to own a little piece of the beauty of Paris. I think one of the things that makes Paris so great is its juxtaposition between the old and the new.


  29. The Paris Apartment replied:

    Hi Kat,
    I hear you but also walk past lots of windows with their original hardware in the garbage on the streets as well as doors being tossed into giant containers with appliances and landfill. thankfully lots does end up at the markets. no one wants to see paris stay in the dark ages but with decor it’s a little different than something like technology which obviously needs to change.


  30. Shadi replied:

    I’d add to the title of this important, hopefully sobering post (maybe some Paris city councilors or others concerned will drop on your blog some day and take some action to stop to these atrosities ASAP) and add another quotation I read in a book criticizing modern economic developtment:

    “Growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

    Though I do realise that this post is not strictly about economic growth, but about change (for the worse!) in general, I thought it’d be fitting.

    Also (and I apologize for your already grieving readers) I’m reminded of a post on my one of my favorite artists’ blog about how in the ’50s thought the ’70s many art schools deliberately and cowardly smashed their exquisite, irreplaceable collections of busts of great statues (think: Michelangelo’s), which previously was an invaluable aid to art students to learn to draw realistically (and one wonders about the state of modern “art”, as well as the overall decline in aesthetic sensibilits nowadays!).


    BTW, it’s my 1st visit to your CHARMING blog. Keep up the good work!


  31. Rue View – 75003 Paris replied:

    […] I’m not the only one who feels this way; Claudia of The Paris Apartment noticed it on her recent trip to Paris and writes about it here. […]


  32. kayleigh replied:

    Where are all these places that you visited? Please please please let me know??? :)


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