Paris Just Before WWII: 22 Stunning Photos Capture Daily Life of the French Capital in the 1930s

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After the First World War ended. The French economy boomed from 1921 until the Great Depression reached Paris in 1931. This period, called Les années folles or the “Crazy Years”, saw Paris reestablished as a capital of art, music, literature and cinema.

Paris in the 1930s

The artistic ferment and low prices attracted writers and artists from around the world, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Josephine Baker.

The worldwide Great Depression hit Paris in 1931, bringing hardships and a more somber mood. The population declined slightly from its all-time peak of 2.9 million in 1921 to 2.8 million in 1936. The low birth rate of Parisians was made up by a wave of new immigration from Russia, Poland, Germany, eastern and central Europe, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Besides, Paris also hosted major international expositions in 1937, and the Colonial Exposition of 1931, all of which left a mark on Paris architecture and culture.

These stunning and impressive photographs will give us a glimpse of Paris during the 1930s.

Café, Paris, 1930. (Photo by Alexander Artway)

Daisy Bar, Montmartre, Paris, 1930. (Photo by André Kertész)

Divers, Paris, 1930. (Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene)

Les Halles, Paris, 1930. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt)

Notre Dame de Paris after Midnight, 1930. (Photo by Brassaï)

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