It’s Paris – but probably not as you know it.
These amazing vintage images, taken in the 1950s, show the streets of the French capital before they became packed with tourists waving selfie sticks and ‘influencers’ posing for Instagram.
They were taken by photographer Allan Hailstone in the 1950s over the course of two short trips, one in July 1955 with his father and another with a college friend in September 1959. Mr Hailstone, originally from Coventry, took hundreds of stunning images of Paris’s most beguiling scenes and architecture – the Champs-Élysées, the quaint streets of Montmarte, the majestic Notre-Dame cathedral and the beautiful Arc de Triomphe.
During the 1950s, post-war Paris was beginning to establish itself as a city of culture, although many residents still lived in inadequate apartments, with many buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Tourists did visit the city but not in the huge numbers they do today.
Mr Hailstone, who has posted his vintage images on Flickr, told MailOnline Travel: ‘I think that the main difference of Paris then was the absence of tourists. Nowadays, the advent of cheap air fares means that every interesting city in the world is thronged with visitors. One of my old shots of Montmartre of the famous Boulangerie street with Sacre Coeur in the distance shows a deserted street. Nowadays that street is packed with visitors, as I saw last year when I was there.’
Scroll down to see a selection of Mr Hailstone’s stunning black-and-white Parisian pictures…
The stunning view overlooking Avenue d’Iéna snapped from Arc de Triomphe on July 30, 1955. Mr Hailstone travelled to Paris twice in the 1950s
Mr Hailstone wandered into the middle of the road to capture this stunning shot of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées looking towards the Arc de Triomphe, left. The historic thoroughfare runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the majestic monument is located. It is pictured on the right in the present day
On his trip to Paris in July 1955, Mr Hailstone captured this image, left, of the Place de la Concorde, with the Eiffel Tower visible behind. Place de la Concorde, pictured today, right, is the largest square in Paris
The scene outside the Assemblée Nationale building, the Palais Bourbon, on Place de la Concorde on July 29, 1955. Translated into English as the National Assembly, it is the lower house of the French Parliament. The building, pictured right today, dates back to 1726
Mr Hailstone captured this charming picture, left, outside the Paris Opera House on a warm July day in 1955. It is located on Rue Scribe in the city’s 9th arrondissement
Birds gather around two men selling their goods in a garden close to the Louvre Museum in September 1959. One Flickr user wrote: ‘Breathtaking – impossible to say why. Like a child’s dream’
One of the much-loved old green buses makes it way through the Paris streets. One person remarked on Flickr: ‘A long route, through some interesting places. Some are for tourists, but not all’
The view across the River Seine captured from the top of Notre-Dame cathedral in September 1959. A huge fire in April almost destroyed the landmark building
The view over the Paris rooftops taken from the top of the bell tower at Notre-Dame in July 1955. At the top of the tower, visitors get a 360-degree view of the French capital
Tourists stand among the gargoyles as they look out over the rooftops of Paris at the top of Notre-Dame in September 1959
A view across the Paris rooftops taken from the top of Notre-Dame in September 1959, left, and today, right. The huge domed building in the background is the Panthéon in the French capital’s Latin Quarter
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées at the intersection with Avenue de Selves captured in July 1955. The Avenue de Selves is one of the shortest avenues in Paris
Mr Hailstone’s images of Paris were snapped during two trips he made to the French capital – one in 1955 and another in 1959. Pictured are Parisians enjoying a glass of wine at a cafe in July 1955
Mr Hailstone captured this shot of three police officers crossing the road on Rue Flechier in July 1955. The street is located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris
Mr Hailstone captured this fascinating image of an artist trying to recreate Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa inside the Louvre in July 1955. One person remarked on Flickr that the artist ‘wasn’t too shabby’
Mr Hailstone captured this fascinating image inside a Paris restaurant in July 1955. After posting it to Flickr, one user remarked: ‘I loved the old France of family run restaurants and smoky cafe bars. Now sadly gone’
The tables are full of customers outside the Cafe de la Paix in July 1955. The cafe is located on the northwest corner of Boulevard des Capucines and Place de l’Opéra. It is still open today
A well-dressed Parisian woman walks a goat on a lead through the streets of Paris, left. Pictured right are the famous steep steps on Rue Drevet in the Montmartre area of Paris. Both images were captured in July 1955
The well-known ‘Boulangerie’ view in the Montmartre area of Paris captured in September 1959. The top of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica can be seen peeking through the top of buildings. Today, this street is usually teeming with tourists trying to get the perfect Instagram shot
The corner of Rue Saint-Vincent and Rue des Saules in the Montmartre area of Paris in September 1959. One person wrote on Flickr: ‘This corner has not changed since then. And the vineyard is also still there, behind the photographer’s stand point’
Commuters pack on to a metro train in Paris in September 1959. The Paris Metro first opened in 1900 and is mostly underground
This Parisian bar, pictured in July 1955, is advertising La Slavia ‘gourmet beer’. The 1950s saw the population in the French capital explode and tourism balloon
A group of young children smile for the camera on Rue Berthe in Montmarte. The ‘Mercerie’ on the corner is a haberdashery
A young girl sits gazing out the window of a building on Rue Gabrielle in the Montmartre area. The street is believed to have been named after the wife of the building’s owner