Paris is Shelf Appeal’s favorite city. Not simply because they do the best fashion and toy exhibitions there. Not only because you can still find odd and independent shops all over the city. Not just because their department stores are some of the earliest and architecturally pretty. And not entirely because they display cakes and pastries as art.
But because of all that. Yet I have resisted collecting Paris ephemera. Or almost resisted it. A few paper envelopes advertising department stores may have snuck on to the shelf. One or two small perfume cards have almost certainly declared themselves mine. But mostly my Paris is about memories and snapshots.
Yet eBay threw this lovely map / booklet into my search results and I was rather taken by it. It is a very attractive thing, with a cover like an endpaper design, a nice fold-out list of attractions (including my personal ephemeral catnip – the word ‘museum’) and great illustrations of comic people zipping busily around Paris doing their tourist thing.
There is still, it seems to me, a fairly brisk trade in old style guide books and hipster maps, despite the internet of planning. Probably because phone data abroad packages have still not become ubiquitous or cheap enough. I usually do Paris with a list (on A4 paper written with a 0.38 Muji pen) of destinations in mind and a bus map. I dislike carrying chunky books all day. This booklet, therefore, was probably aimed at people like me – map in-betweeners. It was published by (take a breath) the Ministère des travaux publics, des transports et du tourisme. Commissariat général au tourisme.
The booklet illustrations appear to be signed Le Coz. Nothing turned up for a search on that name. I spotted a later edition of the leaflet dated 1954 though and mine probably predates that a little. So, well, from a period of time in Paris that can still be glimpsed today, if you walk for long enough, down streets that just might not be on your list.