31.7.09

American churches



There seem to be some 50.000 US citizens living in Paris. All of them are probably not church goers, but I thought it may be interesting to learn something about the American churches in Paris. As far as I know, there are two major ones.


One is referred to as the American Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) and you can find it on the fashionable Avenue George V. From here are administered different ministries in different countries in Europe. It’s Episcopalian and is of course visited also by British, French and many other nationalities. The church dates from 1866 but the community existed already a few decades before. (See also top picture.)

The other one is referred to as the American Church and you can find it on the Seine river bank at Quai d’Orsay. It has older origins, actually pretending to be the first American church established abroad, in 1814. The building is more recent, from 1929. It’s a protestant church which also offers a lot of more general services in the adjacent buildings. Unfortunately, I could not enter the church itself; only open for service on Sundays... and of course marriages etc.

There are at least two other smaller American churches, one is an Anglican church, Saint Michael’s, close to the British and American embassies, rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, and the other one is a catholic church, Saint Joseph’s, Avenue Hoche.

Nothing to do with the churches, but it may be interesting to have a look at an extremely decorated apartment house, just in front of the American Cathedral, designed by the nephew of Gustave Eiffel (André Granet) in 1914.

The entrance gate and especially the door handles at the building neighbour to the American Church struck me.

I wish you a nice weekend!

29.7.09

Rue du Faubourg du Temple


I have already made posts about Belleville, an area in the eastern part of Paris. Mostly you refer to Rue de Belleville and the adjacent streets in the 19th and 20th arrondissements. Originally, Belleville was however a commune (integrated in Paris in 1860) which also covered part of the present 10th and 11th arrondissements. The street I will talk about today, Rue du Faubourg du Temple is the continuation of rue de Belleville in the direction of Place de la République (see previous posts) and represents the border between the 10th and 11th arrondissments. The feeling along the street is very much the “Belleville” of today; cheap shops, bars and restaurants and a lot of Chinese and Arab influence ... and here more tags than graffiti or "urban art".
Once again, the charm is often to be found when you more or less successfully push some gates to hidden courtyards and alleys.

One remarkable building is the “Palais du Commerce”. It was built in the 20’s. Today, you will on the ground floor find some not extremely fashionable shops, but walking up the stairs there are some quite nice establishments, studios and offices. Your eyes are however especially attracted by the stained glass windows.

Some quite well-known theatres and clubs can be found along the street, including “La Java”, inside the “Palais du Commerce”, where as well Maurice Chevalier as Edith Piaf (with Belleville origins) made their first performances.

When crossing Boulevard Jules Ferry (covering the Canal St. Martin – see previous post), there are some trees and the statue of “La Grisette”, a typical Parisian profile of the 19th century; selling food or flowers in the surrounding streets or working in one the then existing factories along the canal and probably having a few male friends. (Adam, "Invisible Paris", made a very complete post about her.)





19.7.09

On top of the roofs

I will be away for a bit more than a week - back to Sweden. To give you some distraction, I will for once make a quizz.


I was up on a rather high point the other day and zoomed a little. I will kindly ask you, if you wish, to indicate which of the Paris landmarks you recognise on the pictures you can see in large below the "circled" patchworks. The zooming makes it sometimes not so easy; some are probably very easy but a few may be more difficult. I will leave the comments open, so you can help each other.

There is no prize, but be sure that I will offer some champagne to whoever shows up in Paris and wishes to join me.
I wish you two nice weekends - and the week in between!

17.7.09

Tango dancing


If you wish to go for some free tango dancing, you can do it every evening, as long as the the weather is warm and nice. It takes place in open air on Quai (or Port) Saint Bernhard, Place Tino Rossi. It has been going on for some 10 or 15 years.

The photos are far from sharp, but I hope that they show that people are really dancing.



I wish you a nice weekend!

15.7.09

Extra post - July 14th - fireworks


I already posted today (see below), but I thought I must show you the July 14th fireworks, which this year were splendid! The Tower celebrates its 120 years.


After 30 minutes it was over!


I was together with Virginia on the Pont de Grenelle. When it was over we dicovered that my family was on the same bridge.

Mid-month theme - subways.

Ming has left NYC and blogging - at least for a while and I'm not sure how our common mid-month theme about subways in different cities will continue, but for once I had some own pictures, so I continue.

The mid-month theme is still shared by bloggers from Stockholm, London, Budapest and Sydney. You can find today's and related posts by using the following links:

(You can also find some older related posts on my previous blog via this link: PHO.)

Most ot the Paris metro lines were created in the beginning of last century, the first one, line number one, in 1900. The design of the metro entrances and the stations is thus old. In some cases, certain stations were redesigned, "modernised", especially during the 1960's, but there is now a tendency to try to bring them back to their original design. This is e.g. the case with "my" station, Brochant. I posted about it in April last year. The job is still not finished (possible to work only a few night hours when the metro is closed), but the tiles are now soon back, which possibly may be seen on the right photo below.The last line, number 14, came partly into operation in 1998, has progressively been extended and allows now, since 2007, to travel from Gare Saint Lazare to the Olympiades .

It's driverless, has a high frequencey, rather few stops, runs quicker than the older metro lines and allows e.g. a quick connection between the Gare Saint Lazare and the Gare de Lyon. It's the only line with platform edge doors, preventing accidents and suicides. There are plans to extend it futher, as well south- as norhtwards.




Obvioulsy, the design of the stations, platforms etc. is here different. There are even some green areas at some stations.

13.7.09

Broken chains

In a recent post Olivier talked about the General Dumas. This gave me the idea to return to an open space, a park-like square, called Place du Général Catroux (named after a general who joined Charles de Gaulle in London). On the place, you have the statues of Alexandre Dumas père (the father, the elder) and Alexandre Dumas fils (the son, the younger).

General Dumas was the father of Alexandre Dumas père and the grandfather of Alexandre Dumas fils. I will revert to them further down, but first I must say a few words about the life of General Thomas Alexandre Dumas, which is quite fantastic.

He was born a slave at Haiti, the son of a French nobleman and his slave servant Casette. When he was 8, his father returned to France and sold him, but later regretted it and made him come to France. In the meantime the mother had died. Thomas Alexandre got a reasonable education, enrolled the army. This is when he took the name Dumas (meaning “from the farm”, which was the nickname her mother had had). As we were then around 1789 and as the French Revolution left room for a non-nobleman to become an officer and thanks to his bravery he advanced quickly and was the first black man to become a general in the French Army in 1793. The Austrians nicknamed him “the Black Devil”. Slavery was abandoned in French colonies in 1794, but reinstated in 1802.

General Dumas participated in Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign. On his way back he was captured, stayed in prison some three years and got seriously ill. He later refused to participate in an expedition to fight a rebellion at Haiti. That meant the end of his military career and he received no pension. He died in 1806 at the age of 44. His son Alexandre was then 4 years old.

Thanks to his wife, his son and grandson, General Dumas was later granted some recognition. He got a statue erected at this place which was however destroyed by the Nazi occupants during WW II.

So, we can find the statue of Alexandre Dumas père, author of - among tens of novels – “The Three Musketeers”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”... He had a rather complicated life also, but has at least received all the honours and is buried at the Pantheon (see previous post) together with other French leading personalities.

His (illegimate)son, Alexandre Dumas fils, has also his statue here. He’s buried at the Montmartre cemetery (see previous post).

Alexandre Dumas fils is more particularly known as the author of “The Lady of the Camelias” (“Camille”), inspired by his relationship with a courtesan, Marie Duplessis, who died young. Alexandre made the adaption to what became Verdi’s opera “La Traviata”, first time performed at the Fenice theatre in Venice (see previous posts). Marie Duplessis has also her tomb at the Montmartre cemetery (see previous post).

To replace the disappeared statue of General Dumas, a new sculpture to his honour was installed at this place earlier this year (see also top picture). It symbolises the broken slave chains. So, now, it’s again the place of the “three Dumas”. (In the building you see behind lived Charles Gounod, composer of “Faust”, “Ave Maria”...)

There is a fourth statue on this place, of Sarah Bernhardt, who of course also played the role of “The Lady of the Camelias”. She lived for some time in the building you can see below (with some surprising decorations) in the neighbour street, rue Fortuny (see previous post). Sarah is buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery (see previous post).

Another link between the personalities here is also that the statue of Alexandre Dumas père was created by Gusatve Doré, who had a love story with Sarah Bernhardt. Gustave was perhaps more known as an engraver and illustrator, including e.g. of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales, “Tales of Mother Goose” (“Little Red Riding Hood”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Puss-in-Boats”... later retold by the Brothers Grimm).

Hopefully this picture can give you an idea of how the above personalities were linked to each other.

The Place du Général Catroux is surrounded – including the neighbour streets - by some magnificent mansions (hôtels particuliers). This includes more particularly maybe the “Hôtel Gaillard”, now belonging to the French National Bank (see previous post).

I’m sorry, this was long, but as it was all linked together... This is where you can find the place.