Crafty, Paris à cheval
[Paris on horseback]
Paris : Plon-Nourrit, 1883

"Ralli cars and basket wagons hitched to tiny ponies and driven by the delicate hands of the prettiest women in Paris trot down the road in the middle [...] There is nothing more fun to see these reduced and often highly maintained teams, themselves reminiscent of children's toys due to their size and the joy they give to their drivers. The two-wheeled, varnished wood cart drawn by a young horse is especially used by people who are used to demonstrating their independence and have no need to carry a groom. It is an excellent vehicle for those looking for explanations from sole riders and who do not want their livery, and hence their name, to be associated with some daily discussions that they prefer to keep secret [...] Young mothers have a strong preference for the pony-chase, which allows them to drive one or more of their children without her husband. This is the only truly serious carriage driven by a women which is a pleasure to be seen driven: she sits rather than is perched, leading two ponies bright enough so that one can perceive her command, and light enough on the bit and gaits that her hands and arms hardly seem to work; there is, accordingly, a perfect balance between the team and the forces a woman is expected to exhibit."

Image :
English cart, drawing by Vallet, 1893, Le Figaro illustré, May 1893

National Car and Tourism Museum, Compiègne © RMN-Grand Palais / Gérard Blot