Paris (パリ, Pari) is the capital city of France and the main setting of the Ikoku Meiro no Croisèe series.
In the latter half of the 19th century, Paris undergoes noticeable changes in both economic and social aspects brought by the introduction of Japan into the French culture. Yune, a Japanese citizen, would eventually discover the newfound interest of the French people in Japanese culture as she lives in Paris, working as the Enseignes du Roy's poster girl.
Birth of JaponismEdit
The beginning of the Meiji Restoration era in Japan opened the country for the first time after its two-century Seclusion period. At this time, many foreign merchant ships have docked on ports throughout Japan, and many of the goods exclusive only to Japan have reached Europe and other countries. France is among those countries who became obsessed with the culture and art of Japan, and Japonism was born.
As artists of the period (including Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir) began to adopt Japanese art styles in some of their works, the upper class acquired an interest in collecting various Japanese crafts. Kimonos are often sought and are priced extravagantly, and ukiyo-e portraits can be found in upper class residences. Although the interest of Japanese art and crafts are seen also in middle-class citizens as well, the prices involved in getting authentic Japanese merchandise often leave the collecting aspect of Japanese items to more wealthy people.
Decline of the GaleriesEdit
While the economy of France has stabilized after the French Commune, the gap between the upper class and the lower-middle class has widened. Richer businessmen have switched to constructing multi-storey department stores, and this causes the much smaller shopping establishments to lose their customers.
In the past, small shopping districts called galeries are famous throughout the common Parisian folk, often visited for the specialty shops available inside. One of these galeries, the Galerie du Roy, is famous for the metalworks shop Enseignes du Roy among others.
After the construction and opening of the Blanche family-owned Grand Magasin, the Galerie du Roy has lost much of its customers, forcing some of the shops to close down. Nonetheless, the Enseignes du Roy continues to serve its customers in spite of the struggle in sales.