Updated: Sep 26
The photograph grouping here shows a Soldats tour with his fellow Soldaten across Paris. Seen here are 7 photographs that show the sight seeing tour of Paris, Seen taken from the angle of the photographer, giving a personal feel to them. This of course being taken as a part of the occupation of France, Paris was occupied on June 10th 1940. It is suggested the photographs were taken just after the occupation. Although the branch of service of the Soldaten seen in these photographs cannot be confirmed it us suggested that they are in the Heer. Notable that they are seen wearing M36 tunics, with M38 side caps.
The first photograph shows us Les Invalides. Les Invalides was constructed under the order of Louis XIV in 1670. The building of Les Invalides was said to of been too large for its original purpose, this is seen in the grand scale of the build. It has 17 courts, covering a large area that many would find themselves exploring in down time like this. This photograph here focusing on the iconic dome at Les Invalides. The dome measuring 107 metres (351 ft) tall and decorated with 12.65 kilograms (27.9 lb) of gold leaf decorations. This showing the grand scale and wealth of not only Louis XIV but France. This being a reason like many to visit and be photographed. Boasting as a trophy of their occupation and something to celebrate around. Seen photographed here by one Soldat in his group as they explore the grounds as they walk towards the dome. Showing the personal element to this photograph group, they are seen wearing M36 tunics, M38 side caps and some are seen with bayonets whilst towards the front a NCO or officer can be seen wearing a Pistol holster on their belt. Also notable is the belt hooks that can be seen reflecting off of the light slightly. Being an amateur photographer they have still focused the camera to capture the detailed architecture.
The next photograph in the Soldats tour of Paris is the Panthéon. The Panthéon being built in 1790, it is a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve. The building showing a resemblance to the Italian Panthéon with its tall columns and stunning architecture, what is seen in detail here is the pediment. Seen in the pediment (The triangle shaped detailing above the pillars) is seen some central figures, these are of the Nation and Liberty; statesmen and scholars to the left, soldiers to the right. The stone dome being seen in full just above it. The Soldaten are seen crowding together to take in this architecturally detailed building and admiring another of their nations trophy's.
The third photograph shows Notre-Dame de Paris (Meaning Our Lady of Paris). This another historical monument in Pairs as well as France. This iconic building being seen in this photograph from a side on angle that boasts its amazingly tall and detailed central spire. The medieval Catholic church was mostly completed in 1260 and finally in 1345. Notably seeing some damage during the French Revolution in the 1790's. The iconic and large Rose Window can be seen here, this being the north facing window which was constructed in 1250, just also visible below would be the vertical window. A church being a place of worship that some may hold close to their hearts with their religion but also notable like all of the photographs of this tour to be a trophy of their occupation. The close and personal element is seen to this like the others as the amateur photographer photographs the back of one of the other Soldats head.
The fourth photograph shows the Pont au Change bridge. This bridge being built in 1860 and spanning 103 meters long, it also joins the Île de la Cité from the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the Right Bank, at the Place du Châtelet. The Île de la Cité being one of the small islands inside France that is surrounded by the Seine River, The bridge joining to this. The sides bearing French Imperial insignia, another trophy as the Germans boast their occupation. The Place du Châtelet notably seen on the left, this being a public square on the right of the Seine River. This meaning that the photographer was taking the photograph from the left side of the Seine River, possibly just after their visit to Notre Dame.
The fifth photograph shows the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. This building holding all local administration. It was built in 1357 and later expanded in 1533. It also where the major of Paris resides and notably in 4 years (1944) when the Germans would loose France as well as Paris. On 25 August, Charles De Gaulle would give a speech to the people of Paris from the front window. The detailed figures in the architecture of the building being taken in by the Soldaten. Being photographed and still capturing part of his fellow Soldaten in the photograph.
The Sixth photograph shows us one of Frances most iconic landmarks. The Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower being built as a part of Frances World Fair and Paris's Exposition. It was built to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution and to demonstrate France's industrial prowess to the world. In this photograph most of the Eiffel Tower being seen in shot here as the amateur photographer attempts to capture the whole tower. The Tower located on the Champ de Mars, but seen here photographed from the Plaza Torre Eiffel. The Plaza Torre Eiffel or the Eiffel Tower Square was a common place to visit and have photographs taken. Seen here in this photograph, the detailed 300 meter (980 ft) Tower can be seen, taken from the detailed square designed plaza floor. Other civilians and Soldaten can be seen taking photographs in front of the photograph as they are seen looking down, this is as they look into the viewfinder to take the photograph. Like this photographer they too capturing their time visiting the landmark, as well as remembering their visit to Paris.
The Seventh and final photograph also shows the Eiffel Tower except this photograph is taken at a different position. The photograph here taken at a south eastern view of the Tower as the Les Invalides dome can be seen to the left in the distance. This photograph angle of the Eiffel Tower shows a more defined detail to the ironwork and cross over patter of the frame. This photograph also capturing civilians around the tower. Notably is another Soldat taking a photograph of the tower as he is seen standing looking down into the viewfinder. Seen to the left in the foreground of him, seen below the Les Invalides dome in the distance stands another group of Soldaten. Likely another group possibly from the same or different unit as they stand likely together to be taking in the sights of Paris not only admiring the stunning view of the Eiffel Tower this close up but also the Les Invalides dome in the distance.
These 7 photographs would hold as a reminder of the trip to Paris in the Soldats service, possibly sent home to his family so that they could experience what he had from the comfort of their home in Germany. The photographs have a very personal and amateur feel to them that despite in some places lacking definition adds to its enjoyment as well as meaning. The photographs also show us that they appreciated the architecture of these buildings enough to photograph them. Occupation of other countries not just France saw Soldaten take photographs at monuments and places of interest, much like what happens in modern day life. Whilst the reverses are not shown they too held information, with brief words on each of "Paris" and some with the name of the buildings. This being a nice grouping of their time in Paris.