A "monster"

I have already made a post about the Grand Palais, built for the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) 1900. The building is large and proposes several exhibitions simultaneously, a few of them in the nave, under the fantastic glass and iron roof. The one that takes place at present (until June 23, 2011) is the fourth in a series that started four years ago,”Monumenta”, for the exhibition of gigantic works. This year the invited artist is Anish Kapoor, who has made an enormous installation-sculpture under the name of “Leviathan”, the sea monster.
You can even enter the “monster”.
Here are some other examples of Kapoor’s creations elsewhere in the world, including what is still under preparation and will be ready for the London Olympic Games 2012.


If Monet had still been around...

I took these photos in the “new park”, Clichy-Batignolles, close to where I live, a recent park which somehow has replaced what could have been the Olympic Village in 2012, if London hadn’t got the games! I talked more about this park in a post some two years ago.


Palais Royal ... again

I had no intention to post about Palais Royal again; I have already done it a number of times as well on this blog as on my previous one. My intention was to visit what may be considered as the first “skyscraper” in Paris, situated just behind the Palais Royal. But… I could not resist against taking a few new photos.

Finally, I made a very short post about the “skyscraper”, which you may see just below this post.
For hopefully the specific pleasure of Virginia, who is a real fan of the Palais Royal, I can inform that, after several months, the restoration of the Galéries d’Orléans now is – almost - finished. As some additional information I could add that these colonnades in the 17th century were preceded by some similar ones, then in 1789 replaced by some wooden barracks. In 1829 a real gallery with shops was built, destroyed in 1930, but the colonnades were saved, thus now restored.
So, if you wish, below is the second simultaneous post about the “skyscraper”.

A "skyscraper"

The building you see below, just behind Palais Royal, was constructed around 1780 with, for those days, some exceptional 9 stores. Inside there is a double-helix staircase, meaning that each level can be reached by using one or the other of the superimposed stairs. This was obviously helpful as it seems that then some more or less legal activities took place here and there was a chance to escape one way hoping that the police was using the other one. This is not an issue today, but the double-helix staircase is fortunately still there.


A herbalist's shop

There are still a few herbalists’ shops around in Paris. This one has kept its original charm from 1880. Some 900 plants, herbs, mixtures... are available + I guess some special and individual variations. I have not been a fan until know, but the professional service by real pharmacists gave me the impression that “why not try”, so I left with a little bag.


Grenelle (2)

Referring to the previous post about Grenelle, my intention was not really to show a church again, but this one is so different. It is called Saint-Léon and was built 1924-33, in concrete, covered by brick. Both the exterior and the interior are in a for those days typical art deco style.
The original Grenelle 19th century buildings have to some extent been replaced and completed by more modern ones. During the first years of thye 20th century, some architects have excelled in art nouveau style, perhaps here more visible by the decoration of the buildings than by the architecture itself, so maybe more due to the sculptors.
Please notice the roots of the vines covering this building.
The Grenelle area is also known for having hosted the Paris winter cycling stadium – Vélodrome d’Hiver – best known as “Vel d’Hiv”. The building was destroyed in 1959. Unfortunately the name is especially linked to an event in 1942, during the Nazi occupation. Some 8000 Jews, where of 4115 children, spent five days here in terrible conditions before most of them ended up in Auschwitz.
In 1995, Jacques Chirac, soon after he became President, said: “Yes, the criminal madness of the occupier was seconded by the French, by the French State, everyone knows it. That day, France accomplished something irreparable.”

Close to where the "Vel d’Hiv" stood, on the Seine bank, is today a “Place des Martyrs-Juifs”, opened in 1986. The monument is there since 1994 and was created by Walter Spitzer, born in Poland, who managed to come back alive from the ghetto, Auschwitz, Buchenwald…).


Grenelle (1)

I don't know hat happened, but this post was published May 12, got some comments, disappeared, lost its comments... Now published again, May 13 late.

I noticed that after some four years of blogging about Paris, I had not yet published anything about this part of the 15th arrondissement, referred to as Grenelle. Until the 19th century this was a more or less unexploited area not yet part of Paris , even hardly used as farm land. Then, a certain Mr. Violet (and some associates) bought the land and started to have it exploited. We are then actually talking about the area south of the border represented by the red dotted line on the plan here below; north of it was already Paris. The Paris border was until 1860 situated where we today at some places, like here, can see an over-ground part of the metro (see top photo with Invalides in the background) and where we those days would find the wall “Fermiers Généraux” (tax farmers) (see previous post). Grenelle as well as other villages around Paris (Montmartre, Batignolles, Belleville, Charonne….) became thus in 1860 part of the growing Paris and the wall disappeared.
Mr. Violet allotted the area in a very rectangular way, something we hardly find elsewhere in Paris. The reason was of course that we were on virgin land and that no older roads or streets influenced the planning. For himself, he built a little "castle", rather soon transformed into a fire station. In front of the station is a very nice example of the special red lamps that you generally find in front of these stations.
What you may consider as one of the major streets is Rue de Commerce with Place de Commerce, a little square with a building which was the “town hall” until Grenelle became part of Paris and the 15th arrondissement.
Along the street you can also find the “Café de Commerce”, a three story brasserie, which opened in 1921.
There are still a lot of the original buildings around in the area and a surprising number of little squares.
I took also some photos behind some closed gates, but I’m not indicating the addresses; people who live there prefer of course not to have too many “tourists” around.
There are some more remarkable buildings and monuments to be found, but I will revert on that in a later post.


2CV's... and other vehicles

During a walk last week, I found all these old legendary Citroën 2CV cars parked outside a hotel … and also some of the drivers. I had seen a few of them around in the city now and then, but not this concentration. I looked up the site. It looks like a nice way to visit the city.
A long time ago I drove a 2CV for a year during a traineeship in southern France. Only good memories!

I took some more photos, which came out like this. My camera is now for repairs.
Some other examples of vehicles, more or less well adapted for driving around Paris ... and parking.

At last ... This is how the "street views" are photographed by Google.