I know it’s a bit odd, and maybe even slightly immoral to romanticize an era where war was prevalent, human tragedies ensued, and the world in general was suffering. But when you take in film and literature from WWII, it’s apparent that even those living through it found the beauty in such tragedy. So this edition of my perfect date in every era takes place in German occupied Paris, finding the beauty in 1940’s art and music and moments amongst the rubble.
The 1940s: A date in war-torn Paris
Setting: It’s WW2 and the Germans have descended upon France. You’re an American in Paris, a news reporter covering the occupation, and the Arc de Tiomphe and la Tour Eiffel are still beautiful in your eyes. Perhaps more so when they stand against the monotone backdrop of khaki uniforms and gun smoke. Bicyclettes are the only means of transportation for most and the cobblestone streets are as hazardous as the soldiers marching down them. At the center of the 8th arrondissement lies Parc Monceau with its secret paths along the curved main, perfect for a mid-afternoon rendezvous which can only lead to stolen kisses in the back of Café Pré aux Clercs. The clouded sky and your hazy judgement keep you from noticing that you’ve become a muse for Hemingway’s next novel. Apertifs lead to cocktails and jazz in a smoky room hidden somewhere along the right bank, the rat-tat-tat of the symbols covering the explosions of the bombs over the Seine. (bikes: stormfront.org, occupied paris: france24.com)
Outfit: A flowing floral dress leftover from your ’30s youth for a day time frolic in a secret garden and a structured suit for ducking into a back booth of a café. (girls with sunglasses: flickrhivemind, floral dress: DearGolden, navy gabardine suit: brighteststar)
Conversation: The invention of the world’s first electronic digital computing device (the Atanasoff-Berry computer) and the microwave, WWII and the invasion of France and occupation of Paris by German troops, Children of Paradise directed by Marcel Carné depicting current Parisian life under Nazi rule, Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa’s surreal masterpieces, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and the looming thoughts of death in war, the fall of French fashion and its takeover by Hollywood. (women operating ENAIC: U. S. Army Photo, Akira Kurosawa: British Film Institute, )
Music: All Édith Piaf, all the time. (Edith Piaf: coveralia.com)
Next week, it’s good ole 50’s Americana that has me swooning.