Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Consolation

In the rather small street, Rue Jean-Goujon (named after the renaissance sculptor) there are two churches, one referred to as a chapel, Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Consolation, the other one referred to as a cathedral, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Armenian Apostolic Church).  They are both rather modest in size, were built rather simultaneously (1898-1904) and have the same architect, Albert Guilbert (1866-1949, who later followed the “fashion” and made some interesting buildings in Art Nouveau and Art Deco design).

More or less occupying the space between these churches – before they were built – a temporary building, the Bazar de la Charité, could be found here. It served for an annual charity event, organised by the French Catholic aristocracy … and in 1897 a catastrophe arrived - a fire which cost the life of 126 people and, of course, many more were seriously injured. The bazaar was held in some kind of a wooden shed, decorated like a medieval street. A special attraction was a "cinematograph"… and the equipment caught fire. Where were the signs for the exits…? Panic! The event made headlines in many newspapers, maybe also as many people – especially women – were of high ranks. The most famous person who died was the Duchess of Alençon, sister of the Empress “Sissi” and once the fiancée of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. She was born in 1847, meaning that she died at the age of 50.

Very shortly after the disaster, money was collected and the above mentioned Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Consolation was built. On this Paris map from 1894 we can see where the bazaar was situated… and on the Google Earth map, where the chapel today is situated.

Here are some views from the interior of the chapel. The ceiling has been painted by Albert Maignan (1845-1908) who also e.g. decorated the walls of the restaurant Le Train Bleu (see previous post) and of Opéra Comique (see previous post).

There is of course place made to commemorate the 126 victims. You can find a Veiled Christ, which somehow refers to the famous "Cristo Velato" in the Capella Sansevero in Naples (see previous post).

Over the years the donors have opened the church to different catholic communities with the hope of keeping the chapel in shape. This is costly and the Italian community which used to occupy the place has lately been forced to leave and has been replaced by what is referred to as “FSSPX”, the Society of Pius X, an extreme fraternity which among other things maintains the traditional Latin mass.

A special attention is of course paid to the Duchess of Alençon. Here we can see her portrayed young and just a year before she died. Something new for the time, at least in France, before the DNA, was the first-time identification of bodies with the help of dentists’ medical cards. Five people were identified this way, including the Duchess, thanks to some gold fillings... and here we can see her card.

She is buried in the Royal Chapel at Dreux. Her tomb effigy was originally made by Louis-Ernest Barrias (1841-1905), who has made a number of well-known statues on which I have already reported, La Défense (see here), the Young Girl on the tomb of Gustave Guillaumet (see here), Maria Deraismes (see here) and Bernard Palissy (see here). The effigy was considered to be too violent for the tomb and has been replaced - but can still be seen.


Back from Sweden...

A very short stay in Gothenburg. It was cold, but the sky was blue and nice most of the time. 

One major reason for my short visit was to go to the concert hall and listen to Marja Inkinen-Engström, a personal friend and who has a number of Paris friends after several visits here. She was the soloist in the Prokofiev violin concerto no. 2. 

I also paid a visit to the local art museum (see also top picture) and could admire some paintings which rather recently have been exposed at the Petit Palais in Paris ... and a lot more including some Rembrandts... 

Well, here are just a number of photos which I'm not commenting. I have already posted several times on Gothenburg, my birth town....

... and some extra pictures with a French touch. 


Off... for a couple of days

I'm off for a couple of days, back to my Swedish birth town, Gothenburg, to see friends, listen to music... Soon back! 😉


The Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois Church

The Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois Church got its name from a man who was a bishop at Auxerre during the 5th century. A previous church was destroyed by the Vikings during the 9th century, a second one from the 11th century was replaced by the present one during the 12th and 13th centuries – of course with a number of additions and modifications during the following centuries.

The church is situated very close to the Louvre and has always been some kind of a royal church. It became known in history because of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, when the bell, named “Marie” – still there – rang at midnight to announce the beginning of the killing of thousands of Huguenots, Protestants. The 12th century tower a spire in those days, which disappeared in 1754.

Here we can see how and where the church appears on a map from the Saint Bartholomew Massacre year. We can see that the Louvre didn’t look at all like it does today.

A few years later, the now oldest still existing Paris bridge, Le Pont Neuf, had been constructed, the Louvre had got an aisle and part of the Tuileries Palace had been built.   

A picture from the 17th century shows the church with the tower spire. In 1834 there were still a number of buildings between the Louvre and the church. The Haussmann modifications of the city plan led also to the idea of opening space in front of the Louvre. In 1858 we can see the church standing a bit alone (also painted by Monet in 1867), but around 1858-63 the Town Hall of the 1st arrondissement, with an architectural front very similar to that of the church, and the Tower / Bellfry were added.

Here are some pictures from the exterior...

... and some from the interior.

I actually found the fading colours and decoration in the side chapels – they have not been renovated since the 19th century (at least) - quite attractive – see also the top picture.  


Pavillon Marsan restored.

I sometimes report on things around Paris which would need repairs, restoration, refurbishing… With all historical landmarks, it’s obvious that it’s not an easy task to keep everything in perfect shape. Sometimes some donators are around, but in most cases we also talk about tax money. So, some kind of indulgence must be there, but also admiration when you look on the results of some restoration work. I just recently reported about the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church (see post here) and here we can admire the recently restored outside of the Louvre “Pavillon Marsan”.

The “Pavillon Marsan” has some origins from the time of Louis XIV and was actually more or less part of the Tuileries Palace which stood between the “Pavillon de Flore” and the “Pavillon de Marsan”,  which was set on fire by the “Commune” in 1871 and then was demolished. (Some “pieces” from the demolished Palace were saved and can be found here and there, one example is in the Tuileries Gardens.) I talked briefly about the Palace in a post 11 years ago - in my previous blog.) Below we can see what the “Pavillon de Marsan” looked like after the fire… It was rebuilt after 1874 and it was then slightly remodeled to look like its “sister”, the “Pavillon de Flore”.   

So… let us just admire…