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Seeing Paris - GI Tourists in April 1945

For most GIs, Paris is just a city they have heard about, with broad streets, mademoiselles and cabarets. But some of those who drove into Germany got a chance to see the real thing. YANK photographer Pfc. Pat Coffey followed three of them, on leave from the 359th Infantry of the 90th Division.

Collage of Photos 1 - Seeing Paris - GI Tourists in April 1945

Top Photograph

In front of the Moulin Rouge, one of the famous caberets in Montmartre, the three GIs get their bearing from a gandarme (policeman to you). The streets are emptier than they used to be, with no big crowds or barking taxicabs, but the old sights are still there to see. L to R: Sgt. Kenneth Fisher, Pfc. Norman Wilson and Pfc. Ben Herbert.

Bottom Photographs (L to R)

The three infantrymen pay their respects at the Toub of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, at the head of the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

Herbert, Fisher and Wilson stand off for a good look at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which, a guide would tell you, is a famous landmark and over 700 years old.

Collage of Photos 2 - Seeing Paris - GI Tourists in April 1945

Top Photographs (L to R)

On Paris's great avenue, the Champs Elysees, they meet up with a couple of French girls and try a little of the old charm with their latest French Words.

After looking over the Paris Opera House, or the National Academy of Music, in the background, they have to go up to another gendarme and get some directions.

Middle Photographs (L to R)

Sgt. Fisher, Pfc. Herbert and Pfc. Wilson look over a map of the city to locate some more points of interest.

Lady Godiva, if that's who it is, would make a nice backdrop for any picture. This is in Montmartre.

They Stand in front of a model of the Statue of Liberty. France gave America the original in 1886.

Bottom Photographs (L to R)

Backstage at the Folies Bergere they see some leg art at first hand and get an autographed pin-up picture from the lady herself, whose name is Gizelle.

A bistro being as good a place as any in which to take a break from sightseeing, the three GIs stop off to get some refresments from this solid French barlady.

 

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