Trade in Avignon experienced major upheavals during the 20th century. Small shops, booming at the beginning of the century, led to changes in inventions, novelties and lifestyles. Their establishment, initially intramural and in Montfavet, accompanies the urbanization of the suburbs. But, at the turn of the post-war boom, they came up against fierce competition from large commercial areas deployed on the outskirts. And, as everywhere in France, the democratization of the individual automobile and the refrigerator as well as the generalization of the work of the women deeply change the practices of the customers.
The objective of the exhibition is not to create nostalgia for the city centers of yesteryear, but to investigate economic and social history and memory. It is an opportunity to question the history of local commercial life and the evolution of consumption practices and lifestyles of the inhabitants. It also makes it possible to look into changes in a living environment, that which geographers call “lived space”, by raising the question of the evolution of “centralities”, and of the notions of “proximity” and ” urbanity”.
The Archives of the City thus propose to explore the “meeting zone” between the interior and the exterior that constitutes the storefront. Over time and along the streets of Avignon, which we show the windows, these vast atypical windows open “from the outside of the street” towards “the inside” of the shop, the café or the craftsman’s workshop ? Is the doorstep an extension of the interior of the building? Hanging in the open air on the “inverted” walls of the establishment, this panorama offers us an immersion in the richness of the preserved iconographic funds… and revealed in the public space what is preserved inside the building.
He is also a call for the constitution of a collective memorybecause the Archives of Avignon are at the same time launching a collection of documents and testimonies on the history of commercial life Avignon: inhabitants and (former) merchants: your memories interest us!
A mediation accompanied this exhibition (for more details, inquire at the Municipal Archives):
- “Tour booklet: before / after” : better make the link with the city of today;
- Game for all audiences in the exhibition available at the reception of the Archives: sharpen your sense of observation and progress in the exhibition in a different way;
- Visits commented for groups by appointment.
- Workshop pedagogic.
- treasure hunt in the city.
A collection of archives and testimonies on commercial life in Avignon in the 20th century also accompanies the exhibition: former shopkeepers and residents are invited to share their “awakened” memory with the Municipal Archives.