Boulevard de la Madeleine

BOULEVARD DE LA MADELEINE PARIS — Beginning at the noble church of the Madeleine, which so forcibly resembles a Greek Temple, there extends for nearly three miles to the Place de la Bastille a series of beautiful thoroughfares known as the original Paris Boulevards par excellence. There are eleven of these streets, succeeding one another like links in a golden chain. The first is the one outlined in this representation, and is called (from the building at its commencement) the Boulevard de la Madeleine There is a charm about these Boulevards which no other streets in the world seem to possess. They are a recognized rendezvous for fashionable idlers and pleasure-seekers. Throngs of elegant vehicles pass and repass here every afternoon in bewildering succession. On their broad sidewalks there are not simply thousands of promenaders, but hundreds of men and women seated at little tables in front of glittering cafes, sipping coffee or eau sucrée, or eating an ice-cream, as an excuse to have the privilege of occupying, as it were, an orchestra chair or proscenium box at this attractive spectacle of life and gaiety, of which the Boulevard itself is the stage. And if this be true of the Boulevards in the afternoon, still more brilliant and animated do these sidewalks become on pleasant evenings, when every cafe is radiant with lights repeated in innumerable mirrors, and when every jeweler’s windows look like the entrance to Aladdin’s fabled cavern! Two features of Parisian Boulevards will be recalled by every traveler. They are the tall circular structures called “Kiosques,” some of which are merely covered with theatrical advertisements, while others serve as newspaper stands, or little bars for the sale of unintoxicating drinks. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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