750 Years in Paris focuses on one building over the course of many centuries, starting from the 13th century. Spanning the hundreds of years, it takes an illustrated look at the changes that have not only shaped the physical structure of a building but also world events that have taken place around it.
This was a wonderfully illustrated snapshot of time with one Paris building as the subject. With no text or dialogue, the pages take us through some of the history of Paris starting in 1265 to present day. France has had a long history and while we may know pieces of it here and there in terms of events and people, this was a unique look at how the architecture changed with history. I was actually surprised how current the present day page ends on.
The final page has a timeline of Paris’ history which some of the illustrations depict but it’s certainly not a page-by-page companion. While I wouldn’t recommend trying to flip this large book’s pages like a flip-book, the images do transition from page to page, year to year in that familiar way. I loved being able to see a building go from a small humble abode to the construction during Hausmann’s grand-scale renovations. 750 Years in Paris is Mahé’s debut work and, if keeping in line with this concept & style of drawings, I’m excited to see what other cities’ histories I can learn from him.