31.10.08

More Seine bridges

Let’s continue the tour of some of the 37 Paris Seine bridges.

Referring to my last post, with a map, I mentioned that there are four bridges made for pedestrians only. They are the Passerelle (foot-bridge) Debilly, Passage (or Passerelle?) Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, Pont (or Passerelle) des Arts and Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir. A few other bridges were built for more heavy traffic, but are today open only for walkers.

A few words about two of the pedestrian ones:

The Passerelle Debilly (which got its name from a general) was originally built as a temporary bridge for the Universal Exhibition 1900 – it was ready in 1898. It was slightly deplaced and became permanent in 1906. It got a new floor of exotic wood in 1997. It seems that the bridge was a notorious meeting place for eastern secret services during the Cold War.
We are quite close to the Eiffel Tower, but I would especially recommend the bridge as a connection between the Palais de Tokyo, housing the Paris Museum of Modern Art– also a very nice place for all kinds of exhibitions - on the northern (right) bank and the new Quai Branly Museum for primitive art on the southern (left) bank, designed by Jean Nouvel. One particularity is the “living wall”.

On top of Palais de Tokyo you can until the end of the year find a one-room-hotel, Hotel Everland, with possibly one of the best views in Paris. There might be one or two nights free still before it’s removed; price range 333 – 444 € depending on the day of the week.





The Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor is recent – 1999. It replaced different older bridges (Pont de Solférino) and got its name even later (in 2006) from the former President of Senegal (and poet – the first African to sit in the French Academy) who died in 2001. It has only one single arch and the arch serves as a second level for pedestrians. It has also exotic wooden floors. The bridge has been constructed by the Eiffel Company, still existing. It’s a perfect way to reach the former railway station, now the Quai d’Orsay Museum (with its art from 1848 to 1915, including the impressionists) from the Tuileries Park – or vice versa.
You can find these photos "in full" and as a slide show on Ipernity.

Well, it’s already Friday again! Have a nice weekend!

29.10.08

Seine bridges - Pont Marie

Within the Paris borders, the Seine River is crossed by 37 bridges, including two for the metro only and two, at the extreme ends, for the circular highway (Boulevard Périphérique). On this map I have indicated all the other bridges. Four of them are only for pedestrians. You can, if you wish, check the posts I have already made about the bridges Alexandre III, Pont Bir-Hakeim, Mirabeau, Pont-Neuf and Bercy.

Walking along the Seine, you can of course use the “berges”, the banks, and watch the barges (see previous post), you can do some shopping – or just watch – the book (and souvenir) stands. Part of the lower banks were opened for traffic some 40 years ago, but Sundays they are open only for pedestrians, bikers, skate rollers... and during some summer weeks, they are occupied by “Paris Beach” (“Paris Plages”) - (see previous post). I will revert later about some other bridges, but this time I will just mention Pont Marie. The bridge is one of those connecting Ile Saint Louis (see previous posts) with the northern (right) bank of the river.

It’s one of the oldest bridges in Paris, from the 17th century – the oldest one being Pont-Neuf (the New Bridge). The name of the bridge, Marie (Mary), has nothing to do with what you first may believe, but it was the name of one of its architects. It was originally covered by buildings and shops, as many bridges those days (like e.g. still the Ponte Vecchio in Florence), but they were demolished during the 18th century. One reason for this was that floods those days often destroyed those buildings – and people died. One special thing with the bridge is that all the arches are unique and another thing is that the niches have never got any statues.
If you wish to see the above pictures "in full", you can find them on Ipernity.

27.10.08

100 years ago... (again).

I already made a few comparisons of streets in my neighbourhood, about 100 years ago and today. It’s surprising to see the number of postcards that were produced those days. Here are some more examples. (See previous posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)

To start with, some pictures from Rue des Dames and maybe a few words about this very old street (formerly rather a road) which led to the Benedictine “Abbey des Dames” which during some seven or eight centuries occupied most of Montmartre. Today remains only the modest 11th century church, St. Pierre de Montmartre (see previous post), with its small cemetery (du Calvaire) (see previous post), very close to Sacré Coeur. You can see how the street was cut by the 19th century Montmartre Cemetery (see previous posts). The street and most of the buildings as they look today are basically from the second half of the 19th century; this goes also for the pictures which will follow, all from the Batignolles area in the 17th arrondissement.

(Some local readers may be interested to have some more details of where these photos were taken and I have given such information on a list referring to the indicated numbers at the end of the post.)

Number 5 here is from Avenue de Clichy. We can see how horses still took care of most transports ... and there was a tram. Number 7 is the entrance to the private street Cité des Fleurs, full of flowers during the season (see previous posts). Number 9 and number 10 are the rail tracks connecting with Gare St. Lazare (see previous post). This was where the first Paris railway line (1837) passed. More tracks have been added with the time. The small station, Batignolles, has been demolished and replaced. In most cases trees are bigger now then 100 years ago, but this is not the case on number 11. In the background on number 12, we can see a building which remains from the Farmers’ General wall (see previous post), now an entrance to the nice Parc Monceau (see previous post). The front building on number 14 was a bath for women when the postcard was published ... not any more.

I don't know if it was nicer to live those days, but at least the streets looked cosier!


The list:
1. Rue des Dames, direction Rue Lévis.
2. Crossing Rue des Dames, Rue Boursault.
3. Rue des Dames, close to Rue Nollet.
4. Rue des Dames, close to Avenue de Clichy.
5. Avenue de Clichy, close to Rue La Condamine.
6. Crossing Avenue de Clichy, Rue Legendre.
7. Avenue de Clichy, entrance Cité des Fleurs.
8. Rue Cardinet, Square des Batignolles.
9. Crossing Rue de Rome, Rue Cardinet.
10. Along Rue de Rome.
11. Place Lévis.
12. Rue Legendre, direction Monceau.
13. Crossing Boulevard des Batignolles, Rue Lévis.
14. Crossing Boulevard des Batignolles, Rue des Batignolles.


24.10.08

Parc de Bagatelle (2)

Referring to my post last Wednesday, the Parc de Bagatelle is not only famous for its roses. The gardeners keep it beautiful with a lot of flowers and the bees were still busy last week. I already referred to the buildings in my previous post. The castle and the close by pavilion are today used for exhibitions and concerts. An annual Chopin festival is organised. At the moment, there is a “crystal exhibition”, not only indoors, but some palm trees, some ponds... have also been decorated by Baccarat, Daum, Lalique and Saint-Louis. The old stables and service buildings are today transformed to a restaurant and bar.There are plenty of peacocks all over the park. I insisted, but none of the males wanted to make a “show” with their dorsal plumage.

You can see these photos "in full" on Ipernity.


Once more I got the award BFF (Best Friends Forever); this time from our Brazilian friend Sonia. Sincere thanks! Well, sorry, but I don't follow the rules, giving it to five nominated people. Too difficult to choose!




Well, that’s the end of another week; have a nice weekend!

22.10.08

Photos on Ipernity

As I noticed rather few visitors to my photo blog (and as it also requires a lot of "space") I have left it empty since a couple of weeks. Some visitors have however expressed a wish to see some of my collage photos "in full". I will now for some time - now and then - create specific albums on Ipernity. When I do so, I will make the direct link to an Ipernity album - which will have the same title as the post it's referring to. I have done so for the first time on the below post (link at the end of the post), Parc de Bagatelle (1). If you feel like it, I would appreciate to know if you find this of interest.

Parc de Bagatelle (1)

In my opinion, the Parc de Bagatelle is the most beautiful of the Paris parks. It’s situated at the other end of the Bois de Boulogne, which makes it a bit distant for short time visitors; too far away for a normal walk and no metro reaches this far. (There are two entrances and you can reach it either by bus line 244 from Porte Maillot or by line 43 from Pont de Neuilly). If you have the time, it’s definitely worth a visit! Originally a hunting lodge, the property was bought by the brother of Louis XVI, the Comte d’Artois, in 1777 and he had a small castle built here - in 63 days, after a wager with the Queen Marie-Antoinette. It’s still there, survived the Revolutions!

Before being finally taken over by the city of Paris in 1905, some improvements had been done to the park by the Royal Family, by Lord Seymour (who bought it in 1835) and by his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace - the man who was also behind the famous Wallace water fountains which you still can find everywhere in Paris, offering fresh water for free (see previous posts). Additional buildings – pavilions, stables, an orangery... were also created - and are still there. I will revert to the buildings in a coming post, also referring to exhibitions, concerts etc. which take place here.

But the large park itself (24 hectares = 59 acres) is what is more particularly worth the visit. It’s very romantic with a lot of small lakes, ponds and waterfalls.The time when the park is mostly visited is early summer; there is a fantastic rosary with today some 9000 plants (see top picture), then in full bloom. An international competition of the nicest rose plant takes place every June. But, as we know, the autumn is here (my visit took place last week). ... however, so is the rose garden (I repeat, see also top picture) ... and some roses still insisted. I believe the park is worth at least a second post. I will thus continue on Friday.

You can see these photos "in full", on Ipernity.

20.10.08

104


The Paris municipal undertaker services were occupying this 1873 building as from 1905 until 1997, as a monopoly until 1993. In 2001 it was decided to make it to an artistic centre for the City of Paris and heavy reconstruction work has been made. It was opened officially October 11 and got the name of “104”, from its street address, 104 rue d’Aubervillers.

Totally some 39 000 m² (420 000 ft² or 9.5 acres) offer room for all arts, exhibitions, concerts... There will also be a library, restaurants, bars... , but the day I was there, a few days after the inauguration, the place was still in preparation. I hope I will get some good reasons to return.

17.10.08

Hotel Ceramic - Lavirotte

We have already a number of times met Art Nouveau and also one of its more remarkable architects, Jules Lavirotte (see previous posts). Here is another example of his creations. You can find it on Avenue Wagram, very close to l’Etoile, half way down towards Place des Ternes with its permanent flower market.

This building, completely covered by ceramics, was completed in 1904 under the name of “Logiluxe Parisien” where you could rent a room or a suite a bit cheaper than in the renown palaces, but the address was of course very central and the look of the building was clearly fashionable. (Some claim it rather served as a brothel.) Today it’s a hotel with the name Hôtel Céramic, a suitable name.



The names of the creators are clearly visible on the facade and include the stoneware specialist Alexandre Bigot and the sculptor Alaphilippe, artists that we often find in connection with similar buildings.

If you are interested, a double room rate is today 220 €.



You may not be able to book for this weekend, but I wish it to be nice anyhow!







Marie6 (Laetitia) so kindly gave me this award; BFF = Best Friends Forever ! Sincere thanks for the honour! I forward it symbolically or for real to all dear friends who come here so regularly!