130-Year-Old Film Footage Lets You Explore 1890s Paris –
At the turn of the century, France experienced its Belle Époque. During this “beautiful age,” the country saw drastic advancements in art, culture, and technology. One particularly important invention that emerged at this time was the projected motion picture, which Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumiére patented in 1895. With this new technology, the Lumiére Brothers captured contemporary life in 19th-century Paris, culminating in priceless footage we can still see today.
Shot between 1896 and 1900, this remarkable compilation takes viewers on a journey back in time. In six minutes, it showcases several sites around the French capital, including still-standing landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Champs-Élysées, and the ten-year-old Eiffel Tower. In addition to featuring specific locations, it also offers a glimpse of daily life, from a scene showing firefighters on horseback to footage of children playing with petits bateaux (“little boats”) in the Tuileries Garden.
In order to set a lifelike scene, film restorer Guy Jones has slowed the footage to a natural speed and added ambient noise. When coupled with the video’s strikingly high quality, these alterations make it possible for people today to wander through the Golden Age of Paris.