Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Beautiful Bus Book (1)

Bought for Big Bucks!
Those that spent post-Christmas recovering from turkeyitis may have failed to remember that fbb bought a book with his Christmas gift cash- except that nobody gave him cash or even a book token. The more alert of such persons may also remember that the book was in French.

It was published in France, and, unless you are a habitué of Paris "Librairies" you may not be away thare ALL books are jaw-droppingly expensive in France.

Amazon told fbb that it would be delivered by 20th January. So it arrived on Tuesday 3rd! It was adorned by timbres poste franşais, 6 off at €3 each. That's just over £15 at current rates of exchange.
Who says postage inn expensive in the UK? The stamps themselves are of interest. It turns out that they were issued in 1999, part of a set commemorating St Valentines Day. They follow the modern trend in being self adhesive.
Five have a romantic rose in the "heart" where as the sixth is lettered ...
... Je t'aime. Doucement romantique, alors.

Regular readers will know that fbb is a bit of a sicker for the Paris Transport network and this bus book fills a huge gap. In this review the vieux homme can only extract snippets in a nit very well structured order. More information and more research will undoubtedly lead to future blogs.

The book has a short introductory section covering six chunks of history ...
... plus a tentative look into the future.

The rest of the volume is a detailed history of the operation and its vehicles, although, sadly, not including a great deal of route history. There are some wonderful pictures of early vehicles of the 1900s ...
... including these gorgeous double decks, soon supplanted by near universal single deck buses.
The cabs were not very spacious and considerable athletic skill was required to gain access. One beautiful shot shows the "celebrations" as Parisians said farewell to the last horse bus.
Designs changed little through the First Word War and in to the 1930s. A large batch of vehicles powered by town gas appeared during WW2.
The gas bag was more of a gas box unlike the bulbous excrescences trialled in the UK.
London also had 150 buses powered by "producer" gas created by passing air (or sprayed water) over hot coals. The net result was a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen - just a tad poisonous and a tad explosive!
Paris had similar, but in this case the gas "generator" (sometines called a "gasifier") was built into the side of the bus.
Note the tin box behind the driver and the chimney protruding through the roof.


There are twelve chapters of detailed history which need to be read. fbb does read French, usually without the help of a safety net OR a dictionary; but it is slow and hurts the brain. Real French is so different from schoolboy French and the language of textbooks; think five year old reading "The Times"!

Tomorrow we will delve some more and, later in the year, expect some more detailed research based on this excellent volume.

The book cost €60 including postage. fbb thinks that his Mrs considered this an expensive outlay for "pretty pictures of green and blue buses". BUT, current offers on Amazon range from £80 to £105 which mages fbbs £50 something of a bargain.

But fbb is thrilled with his self-purchased Christmas present..

Is there a Paris tram book in a similar style?

Further "bus impériale" and more Paris stuff tomorrow.

 Next Paris bus blog : Thusday 6th January 

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