Monday, 14 March 2011

Postcard of the Day No. 45, Luna Park, Porte Maillot

Paris had its very own Luna Park with a wide range of bizarre attractions for more than twenty years until its demise in 1931. It was to be found at Porte Maillot on the voie triomphale between l’Étoile and the Pont de Neuilly. In Raymond Queneau’s novel, Loin de Reuil (1944) the hero exits the Métro at Porte Maillot and bumps into an ex-girlfriend outside Luna Park before dashing off to catch a tram to Reuil. Queneau’s fiction is often deliberately vague about timing and this suggests that Loin de Reuil was set in an era more than a decade before it appeared in print. The card below shows a steam tram at Porte Maillot of the type that might have transported Queneau’s character to Reuil. Porte Maillot today would be an unrewarding destination for anyone in search of distraction. Angry streams of vehicles scream up the exit ramps from the Périphérique and do mortal combat with the traffic on the voie triomphale in the shadow of the massive and depressing Palais des Congrès and a towering hotel behind it.

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