The Year 2000 – As Imagined in France in 1910


Over 100 years ago, people in a modern age dreamed of what the distant future would hold…

In 1910, France was the most modern and progressive country in the world. It was the centre of the arts in its various facets – from the modern impressionist movement to new medium of cinema that had only recently emerged from their country.

This was the Belle Époque – a time of growth, technological advances and constant reinvention. This was a time when Paris as we know it today was a new and modern city: most of its buildings on the wide boulevards as well as the Eiffel Tower itself were all built within recent years and the world looked to France for inspiration for the next big thing. It was the “America” of the world during this time – a beautiful era that was to change forever in the coming decades of World Wars.

The illustrations below are from a series by artist Villemard. They were destined, it is believed, for the packaging of some foodstuff or another but they give an insight into how the grandparents of today’s French adult populace imagined what the world would look like a hundred years from now. Some of the notions have come to life (such as the video telephone) but with less cumbersome technology or are slightly different (the motorized roller-skates have become the Segway) and it’s interesting how none of the clothing fashions in the illustrations have evolved…

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