A night guard at the Louvre takes photos of his model cars between shifts

The history of the French automobile industry set to iconic Parisian backdrops

Félicien Michaut sometimes brings his model cars to his workplace, the Louvre, where he describes his job as “Ben Stiller in ‘Night at the Museum.'” Michaut also holds a degree in photography, which he puts to good use documenting the items in his collection.

louvre11

While artwork like the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace (pictured below) may be more accustomed to taking center stage in a photograph, Félicien Michaut prefers them as backdrops to his tiny cars.

louvre22
A model Citroën Type A

Noting that he never takes his photos during work hours, Michaut explains that his goal is to highlight the French car industry and its history. He doesn’t focus on sports cars or flashier models, but rather cars of particular importance to France, its social movements, and its ordinary citizens. The Citroën Type A shown above, for example, was the first model conceived of by André Citroën and the first car in Europe to be mass-produced from an assembly line. It was sold between 1919 and 1921.

Below is a short video of a “Citroën Traction”, a car manufactured in Paris between 1934 and 1957. The car holds an important place in French history as it was an iconic car during World War II, used by the resistance movement, collaborators, and even the Germans.

 

Another one of Michaut’s favorites is the Citroën DS, a beautiful car unveiled in 1955.

A model Citroen DS, photographed at the Colonnes de Buren in Paris

The Citroën DS also has the distinct pleasure of having saved the life of President Charles de Gaulle. As the story goes, twelve gunmen opened fire on the presidential Citroën DS in 1962 but failed to kill anyone. The driver was able to get away because of the car’s well-made suspension that kept it level, even with deflated tires.

The presidential Citroen DS, photo courtesy of Jalopnik

Félicien Michaut’s work often highlights cars that were and are familiar to everyday French people. Here are some from the 1970s and 80s:

louvre7
A model Peugeot 205, manufactured from 1983 to 1998, hanging out at the Louvre
A Peugeot 205, symbol of the 80s, next to some Parisian street art
renault.jpg
A model Renault 25, built during the 80s, hanging out on the Seine 
A Peugeot 505, which you could also find in many taxi stands in the US, hanging out at le nouveau forum des Halles in Paris
louvre16
One of Michaut’s favorites, the Parisian bus of the 70s and 80s (Saviem/Renault SC10 U), hanging out next to la Comedie-Française

 

Michaut turned his photography last year into a protest against France’s labor law.

 

 

And here he is at the Louvre:

Photo taken by Céline Thiault-Michaut

Félicien Michaut’s facebook page and instagram account boast thousands of photographs of model cars next to Parisian landmarks.

 

Image may contain: car and outdoor

louvre5

louvre1

louvre4

louvre9

louvre2

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: sky, car and outdoor

🙂

Via Félicien Michaut: facebook and instagram

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s