The photos below are a couple months old now, but I was reminded of them the other day when I noticed the same three types of street signs on the corner of another street. Despite being interesting as a reminder of the city’s age, a few other things are worth noticing:
- The decreasing level of permanency of “sign technology” over time. The oldest is literally carved into the building itself, the second is encased in the stone, and the third merely tacked up with some fasteners. (This particular building was constructed in 1750.)
- The decreasing height of the sign over time, presumably required as cars started to use the streets, and windshields limited the driver’s vision.
- The scratched-out “St.” in the street name (Saint-Andre des Arts), on the top sign. I only noticed this while cropping the pictures for this post, but I did a quick Google search and and found that my suspicion was correct: this was done on street signs throughout Paris just after the Revolution, in the surge of anti-Catholic sentiment and an effort to erase Catholicism from French history (which is about as ridiculous as Virginia discarding its state song because it was written by a slave, or the West creating the nomenclature “Common Era” in order to pretend that its calendar isn’t pegged to the birth of Christ.)