750 Years in Paris is a historical graphic novel sans words as well as a stunning coffee table art book. Paris-based artist Vincent Mahé (aka Mr. Bidon) illustrates 60 snapshots of the same building in Paris, spanning from the year 1265 with cows grazing in front of its humbler beginnings to 2015 in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. With the smallest of details, from words of storefront signs to the clothing of people to the state of the building itself, Mahé is able to subtly and masterfully inject humor, horror, nostalgia, historical facts and pride into his various images.
The back of the book has a timeline to help decipher some of the historical events revolving around the images. For instance, directly quoted from the book (and images shown above):
1515 – Francis I is crowned king and enters the city in a lavish procession.
1804 – Napoleon's enthronement and imperial troops procession.
1915 – World War 1.
2015 – 4 million in the streets defending freedom of speech.
As I began to write this review, the horror of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded before the world, making this newly-released book all the more poignant and significant.
750 Years in Paris
by Vincent Mahé
2015, 120 pages, 8.4 x 13 x 0.7 inches