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A Walk through old Alençon in 1923 – woodcuts picture post!

A decision in 1848 to send the main Paris train line through Le Mans not Alençon may have been bad for the city’s economy, but also left it’s grand old streets untouched by progress. Then in 1944 Alençon was fortunate to be liberated with considerably less bombing than other areas of Normandy.

This two unforeseeable events have helped Alençon retain an old charm.

Below are a set of deceptively simple woodcuts from the 1923 book ‘Walk through old Alençon‘.  If you know the city, each image is easy to recognise as so little has changed.

The author was Alainçois R. Jouane, the illustrator Albert-Henri Besnard.  Link to the original book online at the end.

Maison d’Oze, Alençon


Maison de la place a l’Avoine, Alençon, woodcut by Albert-Henri Besnard


Looking down an alley off la Grande rue towards Franc Maconnerie, Alençon


Le chateau vu de la place d’Armes, Alençon


Hotel de Ville, Alençon


Hotel Dieu and the Sarthe river, Alençon


Cafe des Sept Colonnes


Notre Dame church, Alençon


Bibliotheque, Alençon


Jouanne René, Walk through the old Alençon; Literary and artistic guide of Alençon and its surroundings; With 26 original woods by Albert-Henri Besnard 1923. (French).


Cover 'A walk through old Alencon' with woodcut by Albert-Henri Besnard
Cover – a walk through old Alecon, woodcuts by Albert-Henri Besnard, 1923


Normandy Then and Now
Hello! Shamelessly obsessed with Normandy, we are discovering fascinating corners of this delightful region by following a bundle of bewitching vintage postcards. Led by these carte postale, unearthed in brocantes from Le Tréport to Cherbourg, Alençon to Vernon, our travels are uncovering lots of: - hidden histories - awesome art - brilliant brocante (vintage goodies) - amazing architecture - fantastic food and some salacious (if historic) scandal! One of the many attractions of Normandy are the wonderful flea market brocante sales and shops that let everyone bring little bits of Normandy home. We post regular updates on brocante markets in the region plus insider info on where to find the best brocante emporiums.

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