Balzac's Paris

A promenade through the monumental heart of Paris in the time of Balzac, as described through some of his works, and as documented in maps and engravings of:

The Vernon Duke Collection
Special Collections Department
University of California Library

Had we a time machine to transport us physically to Balzac’s Paris, we would discover a dynamic yet totally alien place. Where Balzac mentions monuments and places that seem familiar, we need to look again. The documents displayed from the Vernon Duke Collection—either taken from contemporary histories and guidebooks or reproduced from such books—allow us to see, wander in and explore the maps of Balzac’s Paris. We invite the viewer to retake the central circuit of today’s tourist: Arc de Triomphe—Louvre—Ile de la Cité—Quartier Latin. This time this trip becomes an exercise in defamiliarization.