Posted 6 years ago
The second of the cards on the topic of “la place de la République” has a slightly different emphasis: transport or should that be ‘tramsport’? The statue of Marianne is in the background but up front and centre is the electric tram heading towards Opéra.
Septimus and Clara Miller were in Paris sometime in 1907. The Millers must have been impressed by the modernity of the city. They were from Melbourne, Australia and would have been familiar with the electric trams introduced there in 1885. There was even a line to Flemington racecourse in 1905.
But Paris during the Belle Époque. Oh, to have been there at that time!
The electrification of Paris began with 80 lights (Jablochkoff electric candles) used to light the Avenue de l’Opéra and the Place de l'Opera at the time of the Paris Exposition in 1878. At the Paris Exhibition of 1900 people were still debating whether lighting by incandescent gas mantles or open arc lamps was the better. By 1900 there were 50,900 street lamps in Paris.
Paris the city of light!
Paris the electric city!
I did not immediately notice the electric wires strung across the rue du Temple. In the photo they converge at the feet of the statue of the Republic and the energy flows down to the tram below.
Electric trams were first demonstrated by Werner von Siemens in 1881 at the International Electrical Exhibition in Paris. By the time the Millers were in Paris there were 13 tram companies operating services in the city. The tram we see in the photo is probably one of the trams of one company that operated in the east of the city: la Compagnie des tramways de l'Est parisien (aka EP). They ran two lines in Paris: from République to l'Opéra and another to Concorde.
In the photo we see the tram heading down the rue du Temple on one of four tracks.
On 15 March 1937, the Parisian press celebrated the closure of Paris’s last remaining tram line (Porte de Saint-Cloud • Porte de Vincennes).
Trams made a tentative return in the seventies in Paris with the fuel crisis.
In 1986 RATP decided to reintroduce this mode of transport in Ile-de-France. These days journeys made on the T1 tram line range from 85,000 to 100,000 each day.
“The tram is now perceived as an environmentally friendly means of transport, a way of rebuilding the city landscape and creating a new relationship between urban planning and transport. Despite being narrower than a bus, it can accommodate more passengers, transporting 20,000 to 60 000 people per hour, depending on its location and the local geography.” http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_10607/the-tram-story"
This is a postcard published by N.D. Phot No. 28: Neurdein et Cie (1860’s-1919) Paris, France.