Irish College

What since a few years is the Paris Irish Cultural Centre used to be an Irish Catholic College. An Irish College was established in Paris in 1578. The present building dates from 1769. The Irish Catholics established some 30 colleges on the European continent, but the Paris one was obviously the leading one. The reason for these foreign colleges was of course Protestant and Anglican supremacy those days on Ireland. During the 18th century one-third of the Irish catholic clergy were educated in Paris.

The college closed in 1939 (WWII). In 1945 the building was lent by the Irish to serve as a shelter for displaced persons claiming U.S. citizenship. From 1947 to 1997 it housed also a Polish Seminary. Karol Wojtyła stayed here at several occasions, as a young student, bishop, archbishop and cardinal before he became John Paul II.

The chapel is – of course – dedicated to Saint Patrick. Its decoration dates from 1860. The statue of the Mother and Child seems to come from one of the previous homes of the Irish College (Collège des Lombards).
I noticed that Catherine ("THE 5 OF US") went here the day of the "Fête de la Musique" (World Music Day) to listen to some Irish folk music. I would have liked to join her!


Saint Serge de Radonège bis

A year and a half ago, I made a post about a Russian orthodox church (well hidden), Saint Serge de Radonège (Sergius of Radonezh, Сергий Радонежский). I ask you kindly to revert to that post, if you want to know something more about this church.

When I then visited the church, I was not able to get any photos from the inside. I was luckier the other day. Some renovation work was ongoing. I was kindly allowed to take some photos.

As an extra reminder, some photos from outside.
If you are interested, I have made some other posts about orthodox churches in Paris: Saint Alexandre Nevsky and Saint Séraphin de Sarov.


A flower shop

I found this flower shop and was so impressed by the way the shopkeeper had decorated the stands in front of the shop that I thought I must make a post about it. There are several nice flower shops in the immediate neighbourhood of this one, just at the end of the famous Rue Mouffetard (see previous post). The shop in question is called “Jardin d’Ebène” and I found that they have an own website. (I have no commission on the sales.)

I wish you a nice weekend!


Flower market

On Ile de la Cité, in between Hôtel Dieu (see previous post), Notre Dame (see previous posts), the Palais de la Justice (see previous post) with the Sainte Chapelle (see previous post) you can find a Flower Market (Marché des Fleurs) which has been there since 1808.
One can of course find a lot of flowers and garden equipment / decoration. On Sundays, there is a “bird market”. I must go back! 


Manufacture des Gobelins

The Manufacture des Gobelins dates from the 15th century, created by the Gobelin family of dyers. During the 17th century it was taken over by the Royalty - Louis XIV. All kinds of tapestry and furniture for Versailles and other royal palaces were manufactured here under the supervision of Charles Le Brun, the major Royal painter at that time.

The Revolution stopped the manufacturing for a while, but it was resumed during the 19th century and the Manufacture is still in operation, run by the State.

Many old buildings remain, but the one which fronts the Avenue des Gobelins dates from 1912, replacing an older one which burnt down in 1871. This is where tapestries are displayed and which you can easily visit. It’s also possible to visit the old 17th century buildings … and the new added ones. Maybe one day I will do so and make another post.
Referring to previous posts about Square René-Le-Gall and about Lézarts de Bièvre, we can here again see the placement of the Manufacture and the river La Bièvre.
The day I made my visit, there was a temporary exposition of tapestries, normally presented in Spanish museums.
As said, the Manufacture is still in operation. There is a clear difference between the 16th century tapestries (with a close look, as the top picture) and the ones produced today – an example exposed is a Miró from the 60’s.


Square René-Le-Gall

The Square René-Le-Gall (see also previous post about “Lézards de la Bièvre) occupies a space which once was a small island, surrounded by two arms of the river La Bièvre, partly used as a kitchen-garden for the close-by “Manufacture des Gobelins” (A post will follow). The island was called “Ile aux Singes” (the Monkey Island). It seems that some monkeys used to be living rather free here.

A comparison between the Google Earth and a 18th century map gives perhaps an idea of what the landscape used to be. Under the street on the photo the old manufacture (still in operation) and the park runs the now covered river La Bièvre.
The park was created just before WWII, slightly enlargened in recent years.
It’s surrounded by grotto-work walls and stairs with some remarkable masks, birds… made by pebbles and fossils, which remind us of the famous Arcimboldo paintings.
I was impressed by some modern equipment on the children’s playground.
I wish you a nice weekend!


Lézarts de la Bièvre

Since ten years, a number of artists are proposing “open doors” to their studios during a weekend. These studios are more or less to be found along the river Bièvre, which also used to be “open” but today is covered on its way through Paris. (There is a campaign ongoing to make parts of it visible again.)

The event goes under the name “Lézarts de la Bièvre”, playing on the word “lézard” (=lizard), maybe referring to the shape of the course of the river (see the red dotted line) and its former shore occupants, and “les arts” (= the arts). Some hundred ateliers could be visited last weekend.

To guide the visitors, each year an urban artist has been invited to – respectfully - decorate the streets to be followed. This year most of the leading urban artists were invited.

Preceding the weekend these urban artists worked together on a covered part of the little park, Square René-Le-Gall (I will revert on this interesting little park in a future post). Here we can see the result of what “mesnager”, “Jeff Aerosol”, “FKDL”, “Mosko et associés”, “Speedy Graphito”, “janaundjs” and “Artistes Ouvriers” produced.
Of course I could not make the total itineraries proposed, but I walked along some of the streets close to the square and here are some examples of what I found. In addition to the artists mentioned above, there were also some illustrations by another famous urban artist, MissTic.
Of course I also visited some artist studios like a few in this little alley.
To finish my walk I went to the bar “Chez Fernando”, rue Arbalète, which is a meeting point for the Paris urban artists. The shutters of the bar are worth the visit, unfortunately - for the bar owner - even more when the bar is closed. On the photo here we can see “FKDL” (Frank Duval), “Jeff Aerosol” (Jean-François Perroy) and “mesnager” (Jérome Mesnager).
I have already made a number of posts on urban art and graffiti which you are welcome to visit if you are interested.

To finish this post, here is what I have as urban art on my own walls ... plus some kind greetings.


Playing in the metro

There is autorised and non authorised music in the Paris metro. Some 300 musicians or groups have got a permit to play in the corridors; not on the quays or in the coaches. In order to get this permit, they have to pass a selection in front of a jury. They are then given six months’ permits to play, which can be renewed. Some artists seem to be around since years, some even since 15 years. It seems that some make a fairly decent living on this.

You often meet musicians also in the cars, but they risk to be caught for illegal playing.

In the Châtelet metro station you often find groups of Russian, South American musicians … and certain days also this little orchestra – “Classique Metroplitain”. The members may vary from one day to the other, but the young musicians always perform extremely well. I took some photos and was particularly impressed by the “first violin”.
Someone also made a short video (from another previous concert).


"Colours of Sound"

Since ten years a way-marked trail is organised during a fortnight in the Saint-Germain-des-Près area, involving a number of local shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, art galleries… like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Sonia Rykel, agnès b., Emperio Armani, Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Hôtel Lutetia… .

It’s a manifestation, "Parcours Saint Germain", (June 3 – 17) allowing contemporary artists to expose their recent works, sculptures, paintings, photos… , under the name “Colours of Sound”; what is presented should be related to music. As exposed in shop windows (which led to a lot of reflection photos, where sometimes the photographer and passers-by are better visible than the real motive), inside cafés (where the guests don’t appreciate to be photographed)..., it was difficult to give the desired image of the manifestation. I decided to show you some illustrations anyhow.

First some examples of what can be found around the Place Saint-Germain-des-Près…
… and around the corner, including the famous cafés and the equally well-known library La Hune.
In some galleries, Sonia Rykiel exposes also her own drawings, obviously also for sale (some 300 € and more).
To a large extent, photos are exposed. Here are some examples of what can be found in some agnès b. shops, e.g. photos of a young Bono, Sting, Marianne Faithful, Blondie… (by Pierre René-Worms).
At the Hôtel Lutetia, which is worth the visit for itself, there are paintings exposed (by Fabien Verschaere).
The top picture was taken at a gallery, Anne Fontaine. The artist is called Kimiko Yoshida, specializing in self-portraits in all kinds of forms and shapes.
Well, sometimes there was really too much of window reflections.
Here you can see the approximate points to visit, if you are interested, and the little sign you will find on the pavement in front of each exposing spot.
I wish you a nice weekend!