A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TRUE PARISIAN

“The true Parisian [was] from everywhere”: naturally chic, he was constantly on the lookout for new things, set the tone where others could only imitate, and, bien sûr, behaved according to the immutable rules of propriety and manners.

According to Raymond Zahm’s article in the Almanach printed by Devambez in 1921, the Parisian was an accomplished sportsman, an artist, a keen follower not only of modernity but also of tradition, a night owl, and a traveller: the “little guide to elegant life” based on a day in his life was intended to be a vademecum of the “best places where he [would] find the refinements indispensable to his existence”.

Monsieur would rise in the morning and break his fast at the Hammam on the rue des Mathurins; at around 2 p.m. he would take Madame to choose fabrics at Raimon and then move on to Martial & Armand, the society couturier on the place Vendôme, to buy her an evening gown. They would take oyster tea with friends at the Royal Topsy, attend a recital at the Salle Gaveau, browse for a while at Fast, the fashionable bookshop, and pop into Cartier and the Bourjois perfume shop. In the evening, Madame and Monsieur would sip Sandeman port at the Bodega on the rue de Castiglione.

The evening would continue with an exquisite dinner at the Continental, where they might be serenaded by an Argentinian or American band, after which Madame, with tireless energy, would drag Monsieur to Rizzi’s on the avenue de l’Opéra where, in yet another refined and intimate setting, they would sample some delicate titbits before returning home for a well-earned rest.

This guide to the most exquisite places in the City of Light was illustrated by Édouard Halouze, whose meticulous drawings portrayed a perfect day in the life of a society couple. The most fashionable French brands found the Devambez Almanach to be the ideal vehicle for a notion they were eager to promote: that of luxury as a way of life.

Almanach du Masque d’Or, 1921, first year, Devambez, Au Masque d’Or, Paris, 1921

Manufacture de pianos Gaveau, Paris, Devambez, undated.