A little square

Just north of the main entrance to the Sorbonne university and south of the medieval building and museum “Hôtel de Cluny” and what remains of the Roman Baths (see previous post), is a small park, called Square Paul Painlevé. (Paul Painlevé, 1863-1933, was a French scientist and politician.)

The square was originally created in 1900 and 100 years later remodeled in a medieval style, basically because of the types of plants and flowers chosen.

There are a number of monuments, including a copy of the famous Capitolian (She-)Wolf, given by Rome a few years (1962) after Paris and Rome were “twinned” in 1956. Rome is actually the only city with which Paris is twinned ("Solo Parigi è degna di Roma; solo Roma è degna di Parigi"). I don’t know what Paris offered to Rome.

Another monument is dedicated to Puvis de Chavannes (1824-98), a major painter, who e.g. decorated part of the Paris City Hall (seee previous posts) and is represented by a number of paintings at the Orsay museum (see previous post).

A third monument and fountain is erected in honour of Octave Gréard (1828-1904), who was an eminent member of the Sorbonne University and initiated secondary education for girls. 

If you look for fresh drinking water, there is a small model of the Wallace Fountains (see previous posts, here and here).

... and just outside the little park, in front of the Sorbonne University offocial entrance is a statue of Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), a statesman and author, probably one of the most influential Renaissance writers. His "Essays" established a new literary form. The sculptor is Paul Landowski (1896-1961), perhaps most well-known for Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro (and present at several places in Paris, see e.g. here, here and here). Originally in marble, the statue is now in bronze in order to better resist against some students' practical jokes ... and their habit to touch his shoe, which is supposed to bring examination luck.

You may take this post as an introduction to what probably will be next one, about the Sorbonne University. We can see the main entrance behind the trees on the top picture.


Jennifer Pearce said...

I always enjoy your posts and photos as you choose interesting and perhaps less commonly seen monuments and areas of the city.

Starman said...

We've only gone to l'Hôtel de Cluny once, but we really enjoyed the visit.

martinealison said...

Un endroit magique, serein et si peuplé de belles sculptures... Une grande présence en ce lieu.
Merci pour ce merveilleux reportage.
Gros bisous à vous.

helen tilston said...

What a fascinating and informative post and I cannot wait to include this in my next trip to Paris. I read, "When I am playing with my cat, how do I know he is not playing with me"
(it is about the life of Michel de Monagne) The bloggers "Hattatt" Jane and Lance recommended it to me

Thanks again


Thirtytwo degrees said...

News to me about the twinning...love the idea of the Roman baths next door to the Sorbonne. Merci!

Anonymous said...

Puvis de Chavannes...

First time I heard about him was

when I read that he was the

perennial suitor of the beautiful

and brilliant Berthe Morisot, the

only woman founder of


Fantastic post

Fantastic photos


Studio at the Farm said...

I'm glad this post directed me to the Hotel de Cluny. What a magnificent building!!! I think I'll have to do a bit of reading up on it.

Olivier said...

c'est fou, chaque square de Paris (petit ou grand) est presque un musée

Adam said...

I didn't know about Montagne's foot. There's a little touch of Victor Noir about it!

Cergie said...

On croit inventer et tout a été fait depuis longtemps : Michel de MontaIgne (et non Montagne) a vanté l'amitié, le jardin médiéval revient à la mode avec le jardin au carré (square, hi hi !).
Etait-elle bonne l'eau de la fontaine ? Sais tu de quelle source elle provient ?

Shionge said...

I know I must have missed this despite numerous visit to Notre Dame ;D Thank you :D

Shionge said...

I know I must have missed this despite numerous visit to Notre Dame ;D Thank you :D

Virginia said...

Correct me if I"m wrong, but I do think I might have visited this little park with Melissa and the children that summer. As we both know, I could be off base but appreciated this nice visit with you Peter.

Ruth said...

To think that at one time the essay did not exist! I could have used that bronze shoe before some essay examinations in my English literature degree. :-)

Cezar and Léia said...

Bonjour Peter,
Your pictures are always beautiful postcards, you did a great collage and the first composition is my favorite of the day!

Catherine said...

A pretty place and so many monuments for such a little square!

Synne said...

How cute! The statues are so pretty!

Jeanie said...

This WAS a place we happened to discover during our Left Bank walk -- and I have a photo of Rick rubbing the shoe to prove it! It is a charming park in a lovely area. Cluny is my favorite of the museums, I think.

arabesque said...

haha! tnx for this post Peter. ^0^
i am still in the process of recollecting my post and i have to admit that blogging management is something i;m not good at! ^0^
i was also researching for that gold shoe and read at some web that it's supposed to bring luck like what you've posted! ^0^

we did stroll around that area and it was one of my faves. ^0^