The Secret Paris of the 30s

The Secret Paris of the 30s


  1. Translated from the French by Richard Miller
  • ISBN 9780500271087
  • 26.90 x 20.70 cm
  • Paperback
  • 192pp
  • 150 Illustrations, 0 in colour
  • First published 1983
‘Brassaï’s pictures of Parisian nightlife in the 1930s are remarkable … He is a wonderful writer and his book is a beautiful memoir of the age and the society that are depicted in the pictures, written with humour, precision, and the narrative ease of a good novel’ – The New York Times

‘Fascinating stuff . . . Brassaï’s descriptions of the people he came across are as riveting as the images themselves’ – Time Out
‘A classic . . . a fascinating exploration of an evocative era’ – Amateur Photographer

The Secret Paris of the 30s is one of the most remarkable photographic memoirs ever published. For years it was known that Brassaï had taken a series of ‘secret photographs’ which could not be published because of their daring nature. Alone, or in the company of friends, he discovered the forbidden Paris of the 1930s – its brothels, its whores, its pimps, its opium dens – the sordid yet bewitching bas-monde where high society mingled with the underworld.

Brassaï’s photographs reveal a milieu previously only known through books such as the novels of Henry Miller (a frequent companion on his nocturnal rambles): the seamy, grimy yet infinitely exciting reality that tourists still think of when they seek ‘Paris by night’. These fascinating images are accompanied by Brassaï’s own text, in which he describes the extraordinary conditions under which he took his photographs.