Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Cognac: Rue Aristide Briand

The Rue Aristide Briand (*) cuts through the historic centre of Cognac in a north-south direction. Together with the Rue d'Angoulême, it is the main shopping street of the town. It is now mostly pedestrianized and a stroll along it gives the visitor an opportunity to discover the names of a whole series of signs from bygone trades.

*: Aristide Briand was a French politician who served as minister on more than twenty occasions and President of the Council (ie Prime Minister) eleven times between 1909 and 1929. He had nothing to do with the Briand family, who owned the Cognac trading house mentioned in the post two days ago.

Maison fondée en 1800
[Company Founded in 1800]

Actually this sign was painted over another one, which read:
Draperie & nouveautes
[Drapery & Novelties]

On the other side of the street was a sign for a factory. Unfortunately it was right in the sun and fences erected while they were repaving the street prevented me from getting a better picture. I will have to convince my parents to bring me again to Cognac if I want to discover what was being manufactured there.

Manufacture française
Bo... ...s

The pharmacy in front the church of St Léger was founded in 1748. Even though the current one has a modern signage, two painted signs have survived in the little side alley. Only the part just underneath the 'sonnette' or bell button has almost completely faded away.



Further down this little dead end alley -the Impasse St Martin- was a garage.

Atelier de réparations
[Repairs Workshop]

More was written on the pillar by the garage entrance but the lower part is hard to read as there are three layers, all very faded.

...biles [Automobiles?]

Back in the Rue Aristide Briand, the two facades next to the pharmacy have kept traces of former occupiers.

The travel agent's used to be a...


The sign next door is tricky to read as the same space was used three times.

All I can properly read is
Mercerie Bonneterie
[Haberdashery Hosiery]
Of the other lines and layers I can only decipher a few letters.

After the pharmacy, further south came another place where one could get some health related products.

.eintures [most certainly 'Ceintures' -'Belts']

Next comes a palimpsest with a nice orange background.

On the very left, partly hidden by the street light, is:
A l'
but the font doesn't seem to go with any of the two layers that can still be seen:
Epicerie [Grocer's]
Alimentation [Food Strore]

For some dessert, people just needed to cross the street.

P. Thiollet
Patissier. Glacier. Confiseur
[Pastry Cook. Ice Cream Maker. Confectioner]

After all this food, people could stimulate their brain a bit by reading the different national and local papers available at this newsagent's.

Le Matin
mieux informé
L'Echo de Paris
du monde entier
Le Journal
Petit Journal
Dépôt central

Parisien ...
La Liberté


At the corner with the Rue Brémon d'Ars is yet another palimpsest, one part of which extends over three walls. Below are the three walls but first is that long sign for a printing office which was painted twice on the strip between the first and second floors ('|' indicates the limits of each wall and '/' superimposed layers):
S. N... ... Imprimeries | Pa...s / M... | Pichot réunies / Pichot ...

On the second wall above, the additional signs are:
... de vannerie en tous
[... of Basketwork in all]
This certainly continued round the corner but it disappeared when a newer sign was painted.

Usines [Factories]
.4 Rue de Clichy
8 Rue Georges
Maisons [Companies]
Fondées [Founded]
en [in]

Finally, here the facade facing the Rue Aristide Briand.

On the strip between the first and second fllors, the 'Pichot' sign covered another one which read:
... de Paris

Then just below was:
..a voitures d'enfants

'Voitures d'enfant' could mean either 'Prams' or 'Kids' Cars', usually with pedals or simply pulled or pushed by someone else.

The next sign is much easier to read.


Could this have been the same Esders as Henri Esders, the large clothes shop in the Rue de Rivoli in Paris?

Finally, just off the Rue Aristide Briand, in the Rue Challais is the last ghost sign for today.

Mercerie Bonneterie
..sse Frères
[Haberdashery Hosiery
...sse Brothers]

And all this spotted over a distance of less than 300 metres!

Location: unless otherwise stated, Rue Aristide Briand, Cognac, Charente / All pictures taken on: 03/06/2010

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