Thursday, June 9, 2016

Parisian Porters in 1835

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Loretta reports:

As part of Avon’s Diamond Anniversary, they’re highlighting certain of their books, one a month. Since my historical romance, Lord of Scoundrels,* is being honored this month, I’ll be offering bits of related research.

One personage who appears in the first part of the book is the porter for the apartment building in Paris in which the heroine’s brother lives. The porter was the all-purpose servant for everybody in the building.
Porter of Paris

When I wrote the book, believe it or not, I had no access to the Internet. Google didn’t exist. My main source was Frances Trollope’s Paris and the Parisians in 1835.** As is often the case in travel writings, the author’s attitudes and prejudices color her observations. My English characters reflect some of these views, though I may tone them down a bit to accommodate my readers’ sensibilities. (In historical romance, it’s always a balancing act, on so many counts.)

Porter of Paris
In any case, as Ms Trollope makes clear, the position entailed a great deal more than that of the porter in a large English establishment, where many other servants, especially footmen, were available to perform various tasks.
Porter of Paris

You may wish to continue reading the chapter (just click on the link under the image and continue paging through): The author makes some interesting points about Parisian vs London modes of living.

If I understand correctly, the porter/concierge is still part of Parisian apartment life, albeit he/she seems to be a dying breed. Parisian readers, please feel free to chime in!

*EBook on sale this month for $1.99 (U.S. & Canada only, sorry!)

** From whom I’ve quoted before, here and here.

Porter of Paris image from James Jackson Jarves’ Parisian Sights and French Principles: Seen Through American Spectacles (1853)

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

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