The Liberation and the end of the war did not end the hardships of the Parisians. Rationing of bread continued until February 1948, and coffee, cooking oil, sugar and rice were rationed until May 1949. Housing in Paris was old and run-down. In 1954, thirty-five percent of Paris apartment buildings had been built before 1871. Eighty-one percent of Paris apartments did not have their own bathroom, and fifty-five percent did not have their own toilet. It was also expensive and in short supply. In 1950, the government began a new large-scale project to construct apartment blocks for low-income Parisians, called HLMs (habitations à loyers modérés), usually on the edges of the city or in the suburbs.
Check out this amazing photo collection of everyday life in Paris in the 1950s by Peter Cornélius
Housing was a particularly daunting problem. The population of Paris grew by about 50,000 persons a year between 1946 and 1954, adding 379,000 residents. However, very little housing had been built in the past twenty-five years to house them. 35 percent of the apartment buildings had been built before 1871. 81 percent of the apartments did not have their own bathroom, and 55 percent did not have their own toilet. 100,000 housing units in the city had been declared unhealthy; 90,000 which had been declared uninhabitable were still occupied. Health was also a major problem, with 100,000 cases of tuberculosis in the city, killing hundreds of persons each year, particularly in the crowded apartment buildings and furnished lodging houses.
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