22.2.11

Parc Monceau (bis)

On my way through the Park Monceau a couple of days ago, a grey and frisky day, I thought I should after all look for some spring signs … and, if you look closely, there seems to be some hope.
This is thus not the best moment to try illustrate this beautiful park, but if you want to see it a bit greener, you are welcome to visit a post on my previous blog, from May 2007, when I more or less started blogging. But there is more than trees and flowers to see in this park, created during the 18th century as a private park for a member of the Royal family, but “bought” back by the French state in 1852.

To get into the park, you will admire the gates, designed by an architect, Gabriel Davioud (1824-81), who created a lot; the two theatres and the fountain at Place du Chatêlet (see previous post), the Palais du Trocadéro (not there anymore, see previous post), the Saint Michel Fountain (see previous post), not forgetting the little park, close to where I live (see previous posts)… and much more.
The park has a number of – false – old monuments. The arcade around the pond is one of the most popular places for “marriage photos”.
Many private mansions were built around the park during the 19th century. They are now rather museums (Nissim de Camondo – see previous post, Cernuschi) or fashionable office buildings.
This is also where you can find one of the (originally 62) remaining lodges where you were supposed to pay taxes in order to bring merchandise into the city of Paris. They were along the Wall of the Farmers-General, which represented the city limits until 1860. You can read more about this in some of my previous posts, e.g. here.
The first ever parachutist (André-Jacques Gamerin) landed in the park, jumping from a balloon in 1797. Da Vinci designed …, but – fortunately - never jumped!
The park is also known for a number of monuments, erected late 19th, early 20th century to commemorate some personalities.

One statue, (by Jacques Froment-Meurice) is representing Fréderic Chopin (1810-49), composing “Marche Funèbre” (Funeral March). Below you can listen to it, performed by Valentina Igoshina.

Another statue (by Antoine Mercié, who we also saw represented in the Montmartre Cemetery – see previous post) is of Charles Gounod (1818-93), surrounded by the heroines of some of his operas; Marguerite (Faust), Juliette (Romeo and Juliet), Sapho.
We can listen to Leontyne Price singing Gounod’s version of “Ave Maria” (the melody is superimposed over a prelude by Bach, part of the Well-Tempered Clavier…)

… and Anna Gheorghiu in the role of Juliet.

A third composer is Ambroise Thomas (1811-96), someone I guess most of us have forgotten, but he was much appreciated during his lifetime. The statue is by Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900), a quite successful sculptor, here portrayed by his friend Rodin. Ambroise Thomas wrote some 20 operas; Mignon, Hamlet (starring Christine Nilsson when first performed)… You can still quite often hear extracts for concert use, but not so often the entire operas, although Hamlet could be heard at the New York Met as late as 2010.
Maybe more for the “fun” we can listen to a 12 year old Julie Andrews singing “Je suis Titiania” (from Mignon)…

… and in another version by Maria Callas.

Antoine Mercié also made the statue of Alfred de Musset (1810-57), dramatist, poet, novelist … to a large extent known for a two years a love affair with George Sand, preceding Frederic Chopin. He could also draw; you can see a portrait he made of George Sand. Alcoholic, de died quite young,

His most famous theatre play is perhaps Lorenzaccio, with 36 scenes and some 400 actors… It was first played only some 40 years after Musset’s death, in a simplified version, starring Sarah Berhnardt (the poster is by Alfons Mucha). The leading role has alternatively been played by women and men (Gérard Philippe…).
Another name of someone, who we may have forgotten today, was Edouard Pailleron (1834-99), again much appreciated during his lifetime (monument by L-B Bernstamm), author, member of the French Academy and boss of the National Theatre (“La Comédie Française”). John Singer Sargent was a friend of the family and painted all the members.
Interesting is perhaps that the young lady admiring Edouard Pailleron is of an actress, Jeanne Samary (1857-90), very popular, but who died early, at 33. She was portrayed several times by Renoir and appears also on his famous “Le déjeuner des canotiers” (Luncheon of the boating party), painted at the “impressionist tavern” La Fournaise on which I previously made a post.
The last monument (by Raoul Verlet) is of another frequent guest at the same tavern, Guy de Maupassant (1850-93). A little text written by him can be found inside the La Fournaise tavern. I think there is no need to say too much here about one of the most loved French authors.
At last, a bit of geography.

36 comments:

Owen said...

A tremendous amount and quality of information here Peter, there should be commendations for such herculean travaux. Must have been wonderful to parachute into the park, but a risky business no doubt back then. I think I shall retain most though... the hope for Spring. Am looking forward to it. Yes, Spring flowers, and music, and days in the park...

Studio at the Farm said...

What an amazing amount of fascinating information in this posting. Thank you, Peter, for all your work! I loved the film of Julie Andrews.

V Rakesh said...

Absolutely wonderful a post - so rich in history! Maybe one of those international places to go channels need to make you their brand ambassador!

Simony said...

Beautiful pictures as always... and I have to confess I am very jealous of your Spring already on the way.
We are still under snow and ice. I would love to start seeing flowers around here!
Enjoy the nice weather for me!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Parc Monceau is one of my favorites for watching people... It is small enough to walk the entire park in a short period of time with something of interest every few steps... What a wealth of information you have given.

I was there one day when the smallest of school children were released for the day from one of those mansions converted into a school... Thanks, Peter for the background

Bisous,
Genie

ALAIN said...

Les grilles sont magnifiques. C'est une drôle d'idée de faire de fausses ruines, mais avec le temps cela deviens de vraies antiquités.

claude said...

Paris recelle d'endroits merveilleux. Je ne sais si petite fille j'y suis allée dans ce parc dont j'entendai le nom par ma Mémé, mais si c'est le cas, je n'en ai pas gardé souvenir.
Magnifique post Peter !
L'Avé Maria de Gounod me file à chaque fois des frissons et j'aime beaucoup la voix de La Callas.
Effectivement les grilles sont magnifiques et les statues très belles.
Pas de chat au parc Monceau !

Ola said...

very charming place on your excellent pictures!

Cezar and Léia said...

The first picture is so impressive, I love the fog feeling and the gate reminds me "Nancy city".
Very beautiful flowers there!
Hugs
Léia

Dianne said...

Another wonderful post Peter ~ with a wealth of information and photos ~ Thank you so much for your time spent compiling these posts. I so enjoyed hearing Anna Gheorghiu in her role as Juliet.

SusuPetal said...

Please, Peter, show me more signs of spring.

Harriet said...

Another wonderful post. I've visited Parc Monceau, but now I must go back for a return visit with this info as a guide. Merci.

Starman said...

It will take days to read and absorb all this information. Thank you.

Delphinium said...

Grand bonhomme ce chopin, mais qu'est-ce qu'il est difficile à jouer! Même les morceaux les plus simples demandent beaucoup de maîtrise et de sensibilité je trouve. Je ne sais pas ce qu'a mon ordinateur mais il met de plus en plus de temps à charger tes posts. Il y a beaucoup de choses et mon ordinateur semble devenir très vieux. :-)

Je vais bientôt l'enterrer.

Maria O. Russell said...

What a wonderful post, Peter! Your photography is masterly! Mil gracias. Icould not agree more with Delphinium about Chopin's music. I remember it was time to get my piano degree and for the impuesta(thesis) I was given Ballade in la bemol mayor and Scherzo # 2 (two major, brutal pieces for a pianist) I had finally met my Waterloo!

ParisBreakfasts said...

What a tres riche post Peter!
And I love all the musical accompaniments, especially 12 yr-old Julie Andrews!
I don't think I have ever visited this parc - what a mistake!
A new Must-do bien sur
merci carolg

joanny said...

Peter:

You bring spring time into our lives -- a breath of fresh air is here in these photos and fascinating history.

Now when I visit this small park it will take hours, for the rich documentation your so aptly took the time to explore and research. So many individual comments under each photo... We celebrate Da Vinci days here one week end every year in July , I got a chuckle over the parachute he was clever enough to design it but smart enough not to be the one to test it. The whole composition of the statue by Froment Meurice of Chopin is magnificent.... was that really Julie Andrews at 12 yrs old hitting those high notes? I am sure it is if you said so, she came in with an adult voice her body just had to grown to catch up. You dazzle and hypnotize me with your photography and careful research.

Joanny

claude said...

L'année dernière, la femme d'Aristide, je l'avais appelée Zezette.

caterpillar said...

Amazing architecture...and the sculptures are truly wonderful....and may I repeat that the amount of information you share is truly great.

Ruth said...

I am always encouraged by your early spring photos of flowers in Paris, Peter. They come long before ours, and they are so gorgeous with those stone buildings behind. These are tremendous musicians and artists, and their statues remarkable. A fabulous park, where I have not been!

I sure enjoyed your reverie from the Motown songs ...

Virginia said...

Oh Peter, well you've outdone yourself on this one. It must have taken days to compile it all. I remember seeing Parc Monceau with you that summer when I stayed nearby. There was a lovely wedding party there that day as well. My friend Diana lives just across the street and I photographed that Metro when I visited her last summer. IT is a lovely place. I need to go back again and spend some time and take a few more photos!Maybe if you join me I'll make the hike to Etoile!

Virginia said...

PS, I don't have time to listen to all the clips/videos right now but I'll return and enjoy!
V

Ash said...

Beautiful and informative post, as always Peter!

Ash said...

Oh, and the flowers are gorgeous!

Olga said...

What an exciting post :) There is so much information and so many beautiful things.

Cergie said...

Comme dit Delphinium c'est de plus en plus difficile de charger tes messages, j'essaie d'arriver sur le dernier et cependant avec IE je n'y suis pas parvenue cette fois, je suis revenue avec Mozilla Firefox
Tu as mis tout Paris non pas en bouteille comme le dit la chanson mais sur un message : musique, fleurs, l'arc de triomphe, des statues des colonnes des arcades des grilles dorées. Même la brume doit peser son poids...

Shionge said...

Thank you so much Peter, I am not able to listen to it yet (coz at work :D) but I will get round to it.

It makes me wonder does Parisian appreciate the rich history behind each and everyone of the statue? If ever I do travel to Paris with more time in hand I'll have to check this out.

JM said...

I'm in love with top shot! The gate and railing are gorgeous and the mist/fog adds so much to the photo. Really mysterious. Fantastic post, Peter!
Also love the B.B. clip on the no less wonderful post.

Jeanie said...

Oh, Peter -- as I often think when I visit -- "I wish I had seen that when I was in Paris!"

There is much to love in this post -- the fascinating history, wonderful photographs, beautiful sculpture. I am particularly entranced by the references of Jeanne Samary, having read a book on Renoir not too long ago and becoming familiar with her then. And of course, after finishing Julie Andrews' autobiography last month and learning of her early days, seeing the clip is indeed a wonderful moment. Thank you!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Wow! You did an OUTSTANDING post Peter! THANK YOU! Love the amazing gate of the Park Monceau. I will return again to see the videos and appreciate much more these gorgeous photos.

Trotter said...

I love this park!! And the videos you add are fabulous!!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Peter .. How did I miss this !!! A fabulous post as Virginia said it must of taken you a long time Well done... I have been to Parc Monceau , didn't spend long there as we had been out most of the day but what a lovely place to sit and take it all in ..

Thanks for your comment , No I didn;t know about Square des Poètes, so that is another place for me to visit .. I need to come over more often :-)

Nathalie said...

Cher Peter, ce billet est si riche qu'il me faudrait y passer une heure pour m'imprégner de toutes tes photos et de toutes ces infos. Déjà là je suis en train d'écouter l'Ave Maria par Léontyne Price et je me réjouis d'écouter le reste. Quelle merveille !

Nathalie said...

Je trouvais Julie Roberts charmante mais j'avoue qu'avec La Callas on atteint à une maîtrise, une maturité, une plénitude que Julie n'avait pas (et c'est bien normal).

Merci pour ces versions comparées !

lajeunecaptive said...

http://youtu.be/QOlF3tJLTUs

From a member of your fan club!

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