The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

These photos are 80 years old this year. They were taken by LIFE magazine photographer William Vandiver during his business trip to the pre-war French capital. The people in the pictures do not suspect that this is the last peaceful summer of Paris and very soon their lives will turn upside down.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

This was Paris in July 1939. Who recognized the place?

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

Cars at the Vendome column.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

The autoflow flows around the Arc de Triomphe.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

In the same place.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

Advertising for the National Lottery.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

In these cozy cafes, Parisians will sit through the entire occupation. Only, I probably had to drink ersatz coffee instead of natural.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

Flower market.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

At first I thought it was a flea market in the Warsaw Ghetto, but it turned out that it was also a pre-war Paris.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

And this is already a classic - the stands of second-hand booksellers at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It seems they still sell books there.

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

On the Place de la Concorde

The last peaceful summer of pre-war Paris, 1939

Bastille Day parade on July 14. In less than a year, the Germans will be marching on the Champs-Elysees.

Keywords: Europe | Paris | Summer | History | Color photography | 30s

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