Industrial Paris

Wherever a small workshop has held its own and they are tenacious there you will find a bit of industrial Paris, such as that of de luxe dressmaking, interpenetrating the commercial, the artistic, or the literary (even in the fashionable regions). Around the Bourse the manufacture of such things as passementerie has intrenched itself because textiles and dressmaking both need it.

The so-called articles de Paris, which means every-thing from buckles and belts to purses and artificial flowers and much else, occupy, for their fabrication, the fine old 16th- and 17th-century mansions in the Marais and Temple quarter, the 3rd Arr.

Here, too, are the small fine articles of brass and bronze, for which Paris is famous and which are known to all visiting foreign importers. But the real “metallurgical Paris” is in the Outer Boulevards, or in the 17th Arr. with the bicycle and automobile plants, or in the 11th with the plumbing industry. The history of any industry in Paris will usually lead you to the region where it still exists.

A proof of this is in the chemical industries which began in the Plain of Grenelle when that was an outlying district. The famous javel water was first made there; and from that, bleaching and dyeing establishments took root where you can still see them, in the very midst of a crowded part of Paris.

The leather industries, particularly tanning, followed, in the 13th century, the little river Bièvre, which lies, now partly covered over, in the 13th Arr. From the suburb of Gentilly to the Seine itself you can trace leather in all its phases.

Exceptions can be made to every statement set down in this attempt to bring order out of chaos. But if you will reconsider what I have said with a map before you, you will get a sense of Paris as a living and working organism, which will make it immensely more human and yet not deprive it of any of its mystery and charm.