Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Paris IS burning

I once contributed to one plate of the Historical Atlas of Canada.  Volume 1, Plate 26, if you are interested. And my contribution was to go to Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseilles, and examine records on the export of Canadian cod to Europe in the 18th century. Tough assignment, no? Which I did, and you can see my couple of lines and arrows on the plate to prove it.  Wrote a paper on the subject, too, I think it's still on SSRN or something.

Anyway, the downside of the project, if there was one, was that the budget was tiny relative to the travel required, and in Paris we stayed in a 60 franc room on the Left Bank which was not so charming after a while. (Long time ago. It amounted to about $15 a night.) One of the upsides was that each morning after my pain and café I put a slim leather folder under my arm and walked across one of the Seine bridges and right in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral on my way to the Archives Nationales in the Marais.

It was one of the cool experiences of my life as an archives rat to walk to work each morning with all the other Parisian foot-commuters, going right in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral, feeling pleasantly superior to people already flooding off the tour buses starting to fill the place.

Never occurred to me then I might outlive Notre-Dame.  History is change, I guess.
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