30.10.09

Avenue Victor Hugo


Today I propose a walk along one of the 12 avenues leaving from La Place de l’Etoile (Place Charles de Gaulle), Avenue Victor Hugo. The walk is relatively long, some 1.8 km (1.2 miles) and may take a while, depending on curiosity, wish to shop, to eat or drink....

It’s a typical Parisian avenue with trees all along, with a lot of Haussmannian buildings, but some smaller “hôtels paritculiers” (private mansions) remain. It crosses the Place Victor Hugo.
One of the private mansions that have disappeared is where Victor Hugo spent his last years. It’s now replaced by an apartment building from the beginning of the 20th century, decorated, over the entrance door, with a sculpture of Victor’s face. The avenue got its present name already when Victor lived here and he could receive mail addressed ” Mr. Victor Hugo, In his avenue, Paris”. Very popular and appreciated, when he died in 1885 it was decided to reinvent the Pantheon (see previous post) as a place for homage to great French citizens. The funeral procession from his home to the Pantheon was followed by some 1,5 million people.
I’m not going to tell the life story of Victor Hugo here, but everybody may not be aware that in addition to being a great novelist, poet and politician, he was also a surprising and talented painter. Consider that these paintings were made in the mid 19th century, well before the impressionism.

An original bronze monument to Victor’s honour at Place Victor Hugo disappeared during the Nazi occupation, as many other Paris statues; the material was needed for the war. There is now a water fountain. A statue made by Auguste Rodin (he made several of Victor) has later been placed at the extreme end of the avenue (see also top picture).

Place Victor Hugo is surrounded by some nice bars and restaurants, shops, a church...

Here and there you can find some openings, to the left or to the right. One of them is the Square Lamartine, where is also situated one of the three remaining Paris spring water sources (see previous posts).
There is also a gallery (at no. 111), “Cité l’Argentine”, created by Henri Sauvage, a remarkable architect with some interesting buildings also elsewhere in Paris (I will revert) – Adam / “Paris Invisble” wrote about one of them.
All along the avenue you will be tented by a large number of elegant fashion, antique, jewellery, cigar, gourmet shops and patisseries, bars, restaurants.... The avenue is very “chic”.

I wish you a nice weekend!

28.10.09

Ernest Hemingway in Paris - "A Moveable Feast"


This is a try to follow the trace of Ernest Hemingway in Paris.


Ernest made a short visit to Paris during WWI, but he really arrived here in December 1921, together with his then wife, Hadley, as a reporter for "Toronto Star", but with the ambition to become a real author. They stayed for a short while at "Hôtel d'Angleterre", 44 rue Jacob...







... and immediately discovered a favourite restaurant, the close by "Le Pré-aux-Clercs", 30 rue Bonaparte.











They soon settled down in a simple flat on the third floor of 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, close to rue Mouffetard, just behind the Pantheon. They stayed here for a couple of months.










It seems that Ernest also rented a room to be able to write in peace, 39 rue Descartes, just round the corner. (This is also the building where the French poet Verlaine died.)










The couple later moved to 113 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs...












... very close to "La Closerie-des-Lilas", which also became a bar and restaurant to which he often returned. Ezra Pound was a neighbour and friend.










Ernest ("Hem") managed quickly to get introduced to some of the leading writers and artists who then worked in Paris. He visited regularly "Shakespeare & Co", the famous library, at its preceding address, 12 rue d'Odéon, close to the Odeon Theatre, then owned by Sylvia Beach, who published "Ulysses" by James Joyce in 1922. Joyce became also a very good friend of Ernest, like other frequent visitors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. ("Shakespeare & Co" run by Sylvia Beach was closed in 1941 as she refused to sell a book - by Joyce - to a German officer. The buisness was taken over after the War by George Whitman, who opened the "Shakespeare & Co" we know today, rue de la Bûcherie.)


The same and other authors also met at Gertrude Stein's flat, 27 rue de Fleurus.












These were the days when these friends also discovered "Le Select", "Le Dôme", "La Rotonde", "La Coupole"... not too far from "La Closerie-des-Lilas", all on Boulevard Montparnasse...









... and "Les Deux-Magots", at Saint-Germain-des-Prés.












The couple moved to Toronto for a a while (the son John -"Bumby" - was born) and came back to Paris a few months later... divorced in 1927. Toghether with a new wife, Pauline, he settled down at 69 rue Frodevaux, just behind the Montparnasse cemetery...








... and then at 6 rue Férou, just between the Luxembourg Palace and the Saint Sulpice Church... before leaving Paris and moving to Key West.










Ernest later never really lived in Paris, but he was in and out frequently during the 30's, obviously mostly staying in hotels, one of which was "Hôtel-du-Mont-Blanc", 28 rue de la Huchette.









He was of course present during the liberation of Paris in 1944 and then back again and again...

Although it seems that his working and living habits were concetrated to the left bank, his drinking habits seems to have spread also the right bank. When we think about Hemingway and Paris, we automatically think of "Harry's Bar", 5 rue Daunou - also formerly regularly visited by Coco Chanel, Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan, Humphrey Bogart, the Duke of Windsor..., where George Gerhswin composed "An American in Paris" and where the "Bloody Mary" was invented...



...and the bar which later even got his name at the very fashionable "Hôtel Ritz", Place Vendome.





During his Paris years, Ernest quit his job as a reporter for the "Toronto Star" and started "real writing", like "In Our Time", "The Torrents of Spring", "The Sun Also Rises", "Men Without Women"...


To conclude this "study", I thought it would be nice to have a drink at the "Bar Hemingway" at the "Ritz", so a couple of days ago, together with some friends, including Karen, we went there. The bar is supposed to have some of the world's best drinks ... and bartenders; you can see one on the top picture.

26.10.09

In a complete disorder...


I started to clean up my photo files and discovered a few things that I should perhaps show you... in a complete disorder.

The top picture is showing a small corner of the Pantheon (see previous post) and the Saint-Etienne-du-Mont church (see previous post)... and of course, the moon. Together with Karen from Florida (Kissimmee DP and Collage Maven’s Haven) - we were on our way to enjoy the “Nuit Blanche” (see previous post).

A long time ago I promised Terrie (Feasting with pixels), living close to Chicago, with strong Paris attachments and an excellent guide especially for good eating, to take some photos of Square-du-Cardinal-Wyszynski, Paris 14. The famous cardinal was a relative of hers! The square is just in front of the interesting church Notre-Dame-du-Travail (see previous post). I tried a few times, never felt I could get the pictures I wanted, but anyhow, here are a few examples.

I thought that our NYC macaroon expert, Carol (ParisBreakfasts) may have missed this patisserie with the inscription “Bourbonneux – ses macarons”, to be found rue Monge, Paris 5? ... and I’m also rather sure that these flower shops are in her taste, one in the Belleville area (see previous posts). The other one is “my” flower shop, in the Batignolles area (see previous posts).

Serge Gainsbourg, famous songwriter and singer, Gauloise smoker, closely “related” to Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani..., died in 1991, but the wall in front of the house where he lived, rue de Verneuil, Paris 7, is still covered by graffiti. Also the decoration of his grave at the Montparnasse cemetery (see previous post) is a bit surprising.

To park in Paris requires sometimes some difficult exercise. Better avoid Hummers.
This may look as if some old foundations have been kept when this house, rue Pierre Nicole, Paris 14, was built in 1979. It seems however that it was all just added as a decoration.

Oscar Wilde died here, Hotel d’Alsace, rue des Beaux-Arts, Paris 6. His grave is at the Père-Lachaise cemetery (see previous post).

Well, I may have to continue the “cleaning” another day!

23.10.09

Temporary decoration


In a recent post I referred to the yearly “Nuit Blanche” (White Night), the sleepless night, when different artists get the opportunity to create something related to the night and to light. This decoration of the Pont Louis-Philippe and the surrounding quays of Ile-St.-Louis was part of the event. Huge eyes of women from different parts of the world had been photographed (by “J.R.” – nothing to do with Dallas) and then glued on the bridge and the embankments. All this was supposed to remain there until November 2, but large parts have already disappeared. I should have been out earlier!
Added October 25:
Based on what some of my visitors have commented - more particularly Patrick and Yaëlle - I should have said something more about the background of this manifestation. I highly recommend that you visit the site Yaëlle indicated, giving you much more complete information about the fascinating project "Women are heroes"!
The facades of a building, close to Notre Dame, the Paris Police Headquarters, are being refurbished. In the meantime, the facade towards the Seine is covered by large portraits, illustrating different professions within the police force.
During my walk around the area, I noted some oil, or something similar, on the wet pavement (yes, it was raining). I thought that, framed, it may look quite nice, and I photographed some samples.

What I suppose is some kind of power box on one of the quays was covered with ads for different musical events. It’s amazing to see the number of concerts which always are proposed, often in churches, often free of charge.

I wish you a nice weekend. (I will meet bloggers again!)

21.10.09

Tour Saint-Jacques


This beautiful tower is all that remains of the ancient late-gothic church Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie (Saint James of the Butchery), built 1509-23. This was obviously a butchery area some centuries ago. The church building was demolished in 1797 – during the revolutionary years - and the stones were used as building material elsewhere, but fortunately the tower was saved.

It has been restored recently and has been under tarpaulins for years, completely visible again since a couple of months.

The 17th century physicist - and philosopher - Blaise Pascal is supposed to have used the tower for some studies on barometrical variations here, the reason why his statue can now be found under the lower arches of the tower. It was later also used for other physical experiments, measuring speed of falling objects etc.

Queen Victoria passed under the lower arches during a visit and one of the adjacent streets bears her name.


The church was (the tower still is) one of the major starting points of the pilgrim walk St. James’ Way (Camino de Santiago, Chemin de St. Jacques, Jakobsweg....) to Santiago-de-Compostella, where the apostle St. James is supposed to have been buried.