31.3.10

Even more about the Philippe Auguste wall

I have already tried to follow the trace of the Philippe Auguste wall, one of the walls (see previous post) surrounding a gradually bigger Paris and built 1190-1215. I have already posted about visible parts at Rue des Jardins Saint Paul, Rue des Rosiers, Rue des Francs Bourgeois, Cours de Commerce Saint André, Rue Mazarine and Boulevard Saint Germain. Here are some other spots where the wall can be seen:

Rue Clovis

This is normally one of the spots where the wall is most visible. Unfortunately – for my photo – but maybe after all fortunately, some restoration work is ongoing.

Rue du Cardinal Lemoine

This is in the same area as rue Clovis, and large parts of the wall are still there, but mainly behind closed doors. I managed to get into one courtyard.


Impasse de Nevers

This is a very small alley which you can reach via an arch under a building close to Pont Neuf (see previous post). Someone had decided to make it a place to sleep.

Rue du Louvre

This is facing the Bourse de Commerce (see previous post). This is the inner side of a tower that was rather recently discovered during the works for a new metro line (no. 14).

Tour Jean-sans-Peur

This tower was built about hundred years later than the wall for Jean-sans-Peur (John-without-Fear), duke of Burgundy, who had organised the killing of the King’s brother and tried to take the power in France. This lead of course to a violent civil war between the “Armagnacs” (defending the officially reigning royal family, the “Orléans”) and the “Bourgignons”, the Burgundy side. Jean-sans-Peur had to protect himself and installed his sleeping room in this extremely well defended tower. Inside this tower, you can see the rests of one of the towers of the Philippe-Auguste wall.

There are other traces to be found. I hope to revert, but they are often inside or behind buildings and not so easy to access.


29.3.10

Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré

Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré is a long street, but today we will concentrate on a part of it (please see map), where we find the Elysée Palace*, the official residence of the French President, some embassies and a lot of fashionable shops.


I happened to pass when the Brisitsh Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, left the Elysée Palace after a talk with Nicolas Sarkozy (see top picture).

The Elysée Palace was built 1720-22, has been occupied by different personalities including Madame de Pompadour, Napoleon I, The Russian Tsar Alaxander I, Napoleon III and by the French Presidents since 1879.

Mr. Brown had a very short ride to do in the Rolls as he headed for the nearby British Embassy. Actually, you will, among a number of  elegant residencies built during the 18th and 19th centuries on the southern side of the street, find the US, the British and the Japanese embassies (with large gardens behind).


The northern side of the street has some slightly less elegant buildings, but all along the street you can find all the luxury boutiques you need for your shopping. Especially notable is perhaps the Hermès building with the horse rider on the roof, the company symbol. (In June 2007, we had an exchange post with Nathalie about this, as she had found the same statue on a building in Sidney where she then lived.)
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*/ I was able to enter the inner court of the Palace during the "World Music Day" in 2008 and made a post about it.

26.3.10

Shopping

In a very limited area, close to Montmartre, there are some rather surprising shops to be found.

One of them was a surprise to me and I discovered it thanks to Carol Gillott, ParisBreakfasts, with whom I after a nice lunch made a little walk. It’s an amazing shop, “A l’Etoile d’Or”, run since some three decades by a surprising and charming lady, Denise Acabo. This candy shop is by many considered as the best in Paris.
Denise, with her pig-tails, always dressed like a school-girl, with necktie and a kilt-like skirt, is one of the sweetest and most charming shop owners I have met. She will immediately use the “tu” instead of the formal “vous”. You feel welcome, she doesn’t force you to buying (but you just can’t resist)!
Denise offers no own production, but sells only the very best of what you can find on the market. This includes the Lyon-based chocolate maker Bernachon, the Brittany-based Henri Le Roux caramel-maker..., both considered as world-leading. Here you can see what was left a few hours after I got home.








Another shop was known by me, as it’s a place where you can buy Swedish food (which I do very occasionally). It’s called “Affären”, which simply means “The Shop”. It has been here for some five years. I was told by Agneta (to the left on the picture) that it will fairly soon move to another address with some more space. I appreciate that more room is needed, considering the large choice available, some 400 articles including of course different kinds of herring, salmon, meatballs....

The last shop here was a discovery for both of us. It’s a “boot maker”, “Clairvoy”, selling own home made production of very exclusive shoes since 65 years. Among their customers you will find some of our local and some international stars, theatres, the Paris Opera, Moulin Rouge (the cancan dancers), Lido, Crazy Horse...
The map below should help you to find the way.

24.3.10

Spring !!!!

Still a bit too busy; here is just an "in-between-post". I think I cannot neglect to advise you that spring has not only officially, but also really – at last - arrived also in Paris.

The last couple of days, we have had some +15-18 °C (I’m afraid I have to translate this to the, sorry, “stupid” °F: 60-65), some mostly blue skies...

It's really nice to again be able to have some coffee or wine on a terrace...

... and for the kids to be able to play outdoors. (This is an empty space between two buildings, which has (temporarily?) been transformed to a playground.)

Of course, especially welcome are the leaves, flowers...

22.3.10

Notre Dame (part two)

This is a second post about Notre Dame. My preceding post concentrated on the exterior, so here are some shots from the interior. Referring to the preceding post, I will not give any further information here; just let you – hopefully – enjoy the beauty of the place, including the stained glass windows, some samples from the treasury...

The top picture represents the North Rose Window from 1250 – it has its almost copy in the South Rose Window from 1260. Both have of course suffered from time and revolutions and been restored, but basically they are as they were. Togehter with the third Rose Window - behind the organ - they are certainly worth all our admiration!

19.3.10

Notre Dame (part one)

Thanks for your patience during my repeated absences! I’m back in Paris!

After three years of blogging and some 600 posts, I have not yet made one on Notre Dame! So, it’s about time. I will actually make two posts, one about the exterior of the Cathedral, one about the interior. Let’s logically start with the exterior, including a visit to the top of one of the towers. (The global pictures below have been taken during different seasons, which explains that the trees are not always naked.)
The richness of arches and other decorative aspects is perhaps even more visible from the back side.The Notre Dame de Paris is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris. It was basically constructed between 1163 and around 1250, but was really completed in 1345. It’s definitely one of the master pieces of the Gothic* architecture – arches, vertical emphasis, light....

As most churches Notre Dame suffered a lot during the Revolution, but was restored as close as possible to its original state during the 19th century by the architect Viollet-le-Duc (see previous post), who also restored and saved the Sainte Chapelle (see previous post), the Saint Denis basilica (see previous post) and a lot more.

The mostly rich ornamentation is very present here; it's amazing to see how the whole building is covered by friezes, statues of saints, prophets, kings and also by legendary creatures, gargoyles... originally partly painted, as often was the case with gothic church facades.
Many of the stained glass windows have suffered from previous restorations, revolutions..., but fortunately the rose windows which we see here only from the exterior (we will see them from the interior in my following post), from the 1250’s, are still there; the smaller one on the front facade is even from 1225.The towers date from about 1250 and are 63 m (207 ft) high. You can visit the SouthTower. There are some 400 steps to climb (no lift).

The top picture as some of the other ones where we can see some “funny” creatures are taken from half way up.
On the way to the top you can have a look at the biggest bell (the Emmanuel bell) which is to be found in this tower. It dates from 1685 and has since rung out the high historical points of the Cathedral, of Paris, of France...From the very top, you have of course some splendid views of Paris. We can also have a look at the “parvis”, the open space in front of the Cathedral and see the traces which have been left of the small streets and buildings, including the old hospital “Hôtel Dieu”, which still existed here until around 1870, when Baron Haussmann “cleaned” it all (see previous post).
On one of the close-ups we can see the little, perhaps oldest, Paris church, Saint-Julien-du-Pauvre with the oldest Paris tree in front of it, planted in 1601 (see previous post) and the bookshop “Shakespeare & Co” (see previous post).__________________
*/ “Gothic” architecture has actually nothing to do with the historical Goths. The Goths are said to have their origin in “Götaland”, in the south of Sweden. They crossed the Baltic Sea during the 2nd century and established themselves in the present Poland. Different Gothic civilisations, often referred to as “vandals” can be found in Europe until the 6th century. “Gothic” architecture is actually originally a pejorative term used by the Italian Renaissance finding this type of architecture too extravagant and not in line with their Roman ideas.