26.1.12

Grand Palais - again




I have already made a few posts about the « Grand Palais », but I thought I must make another one, covering the present event “La France en Relief” (Jan. 18 – Feb. 17). It takes place under the great nave, the part of the “Grand Palais” which is the most spectacular with its large glass roof.

Maybe first a few pictures to remind you of the beauty of the place.




Exposed are a number of “maps”, landscapes in miniature, in relief, manufactured between 1668 and 1873. They were created basically for defense reasons, to be able to imagine how the enemy could attack and to plan how the French could defend their places and territory. For this reason, most of the miniature landscapes are made of cities and fortresses close to the borders and coasts. They proved to be of some value until the experience of the 1870-71 war against the Prussians when the long reaching artillery made the traditional defense organization void.

During the roughly 200 years, some 260 models were made, about 100 have been saved and 26 are permanently exposed at the “Invalides” (see previous post), but this exhibition, showing 16 of them, is an opportunity to draw the attention to the beauty of the work.

Some of the models are really large, up to 160 m² (abt. 17.000 sq ft) and they show not only the defense installations, but also the surroundings, cities, landscapes… with all its details – buildings, roads, trees…






Some landscapes have been updated, e.g. when new ports were constructed, when the railways arrived… of course of highest importance when it comes to military actions.


Everything is showed in a spectacular way; large mirrors, foot-bridges, telescopes… make it possible to study the models in detail and from all angles. The pictures sometimes get a bit confusing… what is mirrored, what is not?




The central floor is covered by a gigantic map of France, obviously representing it in the middle of the 19th century. People walk around looking for their home place, origins… I took a picture of the central cupola and expected to find the centre of France just under it. I checked and when I came home I added the red centre point, just between my feet. I also found the little village, where we once had a country-house. Not surprisingly, there seems to have been more buildings those times than today.


Google Earth is present, offering today’s way of looking on our landscapes. This is how the Strasbourg Cathedral appears with the two respective systems. 
   

23 comments:

Vagabonde said...

Jacques Brel’s songs are so moving. I still have the 45 rpm record of Ne me Quitte Pas – I think he was selected as one of the greatest Belgians ever and I am pleased that he sang in French rather than Flemish.

Last May while in France I saw a map like this of the Marais – so interesting to look at. The map you show is huge and it would take a long time to really look at everything. Great post Peter.

French Girl in Seattle said...

I concur, Vagabonde. Great post. I had no idea there was so much to see at Le Grand Palais right now. I wish I were closer to see "La France en Relief." What a fabulous geography lesson for all visitors! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Studio at the Farm said...

What a fascinating exhibit! The detail of the miniatures is truly remarkable, and when I think of the work of constructing them ... Peter, I thank you again for a most interesting post.

Virginia said...

Peter, I know we talked about this exhibit and as always seems to be the case, we had to make choices of what to see and what to postpone. Now of course I see your wonderful photographs and am so very sorry we didn't work this into our schedule. Paris... so much to see... so little time. I'm grateful for your many marvelous.photographs.

If I'm lucky enough to visit Paris again, the Grand Palais is at the top of my list!

Merci mon ami.

V

Olivier said...

un endrpot toujour aussi magnifique, et l'expo semble tres sympa

Thirtytwo degrees said...

I enjoyed this exhibition very much, and especially the cathedral at Strasbourg also. The glass roof is simply incredible. A must see I have learned now thanks to you, Peter. Merci!

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing.

claude said...

La structure du Grand palais, du grand art architectural. Qu'elle belle et bonne idée que d'exposer ces cartes en relief. Tiens encore une expo qui m'aurait plu et que j'ai loupée.

Ruby said...

Very beautiful shots. The models are exquisite.

Synne said...

I love the confusing photos - they look like psychological artwork! - and of course the Grand Palais itself. That particular exhibition looks very interesting!

hpy said...

Et aujourd'hui on a tout ça par satellite!

delphinium said...

Quel boulot mais le résultat est, il est vrai, magnifique.
Bon, tout le monde parle anglais ici.
Very great!

M said...

Fascinating exhibit .... Wish I could have seen it (I love maquettes and relief maps)! Thank you for bringing it to us with your wonderful photos.

Maria O. Russell said...

¡Pero que maravilla!

¡Impresionante!

Ese enorme techo de vidrio me recuerda al Crystal Palace en Hyde Park...

¡Este articulo está fantastico, Peter!

Mil gracias.

Starman said...

Now, that's an exhibit I would love to see. Unfortunately, we have no plans that include Paris this year. If we go to Europe (and that's a big IF) we will most likely go to Antwerp with side trips to Brussels and Amsterdam. The we hope to go to Bordeaux and Montpellier with the idea of deciding in which city we would like to live.

arabesque said...

great exhibition inside Peter.
of course, apart from France's history, i would love to see its interior, just look at the details.
love it!
have a bon weekend!

Cergie said...

Quel travail de fourmis fait pour des géants !
La partie la plus spectaculaire de l'édifice, en effet !

ALAIN said...

Une expo que j'aurai bien aimé voir.

Cezar and Léia said...

AWESOME! what a wonderful structure!
Léia :)

Catherine said...

the interior structure and the architectural detail looks splendid - as does the current exhibition....

Nathalie said...

J'ai entendu parler de cette expo, apparemment c'est vraiment spectaculaire.

PS - dans ton texte : cupola, pas copula (qui suggère autre chose LOL !)

Peter said...

Nathalie: Thanks! Corrected! :-)

Trotter said...

Ce n'est pas un plat pays... ;)