Posted 8 years ago
Septimus and Clara Miller visited Paris sometime in 1907. Certainly they were on a boat home to Australia in late May 1907: the R.M.S. Mongolia.
By that stage they had been travelling for 10 months on a round the world trip.
The Millers were racing identities in Melbourne, Australia. They gave interviews to various newspapers during their trip and later back home in Australia.
In a lengthy interview of May 6 1907 "Racing in Other Countries", Septimus Miller talked about his time in Paris: "At Paris, though, there was no racing on at the time I visited Longchamps. The French courses are exceedingly funny to an Australian, as they are not fenced off, and one wonders how they keep the non-paying public out. Perhaps they don't. They are a long way behind us in the matter of racing, except as regards the stakes offered, which are enormous. They do not seem to pay the least attention to detail, and do not cater for the comfort of their patrons. …. As for the totalizator, it is used extensively in France, but not at all in England."
The postcard that I have here is entitled "Paris - L'Avenue du Bois de Boulogne. These days this great avenue has a different name: L'Avenue Foch.
Longchamp may have been a disappointment for Septimus Miller and this postcard may have been a reminder to him of what "might have been"!
The reason for the lack of races at Longchamp might have been seasonal but I have also noted that there was a riot at the racecourse in early October 1906. A handicap event had been started unfairly," the public burst the barriers and burnt the pari-mutuel Totalisator booth, after stealing from it the sum of £12,000. The riot led to a stampede, in which many persons were injured. Troops were ultimately called in to quell the disturbance. The damage done on the racecourse was estimated at £14,000. The proprietors of the pari-mutuel sustained a further loss, estimated at £4 000 owing to subsequent races on the day's programme being cancelled !"
Whatever the reason it would have been a disappointment for the Millers!
The scene shows traffic on the way to the Bois de Boulogne perhaps early in the morning. In some other cards I have seen of the Avenue the crowds were thick to and from the races on Sundays along this grand avenue. It is one hundred twenty meters wide and 1300 meters long "flanked by sidewalks for pedestrians, riding paths for horsemen, and criss-crossing alleys, shaded by rows of chestnut trees and decorated along its full length by ornamental lawns and gardens with exotic flowers and plants. It was, in fact, an extension of the Bois de Boulogne, and connected directly with the avenues and paths of the park.
It opened in 1854, was immediately popular with Parisians, but it did not keep its name for long. After the downfall of Napoleon III in 1870, the name was changed from Avenue de l'Impératrice to avenue du Général-Uhrich, and then 1875 to Avenue du Bois de Boulogne. It was changed again in 1929 to Avenue Foch, after the hero of the First World War, who died in that year." (Wikipedia).
The traffic seems to be heading for the Bois de Boulogne on the right hand side of the road. The majority of pedestrian traffic seems to be heading for the Bois too. Elegant!
Note that the first car there is a right hand drive with a chauffeur at the wheel.
The street itself was and still is one of the most fashionable streets of Paris. It runs from the Arc de Triomphe to the parklands of the the Bois de Boulogne on the western side of the city in the 16th arrondissement.
This is a postcard published by N.D. Phot No. 93: Neurdein et Cie (1860’s-1919) Paris, France.