20 Amazing Photos of Everyday Life in Paris During the 1930s

During the 1920s, France had a booming economy. This period, like the Roaring Twenties in the USA, was called Les années folles (Crazy Years) during which Paris saw reestablishment as the world’s capital of music, literature, cinema, and art. This artistic enlightenment and low cost of living made writers and artists of the world flock to Paris, some of which were Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, and Josephine Baker. The Crazy Years hit an abrupt end in 1931 when the Great Depression hit the world’s economy and, of course, it did not miss France and Paris. The economic turmoil brought hardship and a more dismal mood to Parisians. The population of the aforementioned Parisians declined faintly from its peak of 2.9 million in 1921 to 2.8 million in 1936. The lower birth rate was due to a wave of immigration from most of continental Europe.

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


Paris, 1938. (Photo by Boris Lipnitzki)

Fountain, Paris, 1935. (Photo by Fred Stein)

Paris street, 1935. (Photo by Gilbert de Chambertrand)


Papa’s airplane, Paris, 1934. (Photo by Robert Doisneau)

The two brothers, Paris, 1934. (Photo by Robert Doisneau)

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

Children reading newspaper, Paris, 1936. (Photo by Fred Stein)


Rainy day in Paris, 1934. (Photo by Brassaï)

Louvre, Paris, about 1939. (Photo by Nicolas Yantchevsky)

Parisian bar, 1935. (Photo by Brassaï)

The embrace, Paris, 1934. (Photo by Fred Stein)


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

Montmartre, Paris, 1932

Paris metro, 1930

Paris, 1936. (Photo by Herbert List)


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

Les Escaliers de Montmartre, Paris, 1936. (Photo by George Brassai)

The squared circle, France, 1937. (Photo by Gaston Paris)

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