Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paris in the 17th century:

"A politician called Jean-Jacques Rounuard de Villayer, tired of sending servants to deliver messages and money across the expanding city, came up with the idea of a postal service and postboxes began to spring up in the well-heeled parts of town. The first properly run public transport systems had apepared earlier in the century – a carriage for hire by several citizens at once and called a carrosse had been invented by an enterprising carpenter called Nicolas Sauvage in around 1654. By the 1660s, more than twenty or so of these carriages could regularly be found lined up for hire at the church of Saint-Fiacre (they were nicknamed fiacres thereafter) and a decade or so later, following itineraries dvised by the philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, for 5 sous, the Parisian could travel in some comfort from the Palais de Luxembourg to the Pont-Neuf to the Louvre and back again."

from Paris: The Secret History by Andrew Hussey