Lapin Agile - again

This is not the first time I talk about Lapin Agile (see previous post), but as I recently had the privilege to listen to the present owner, the now 80-some-years old Yves Mathieu, during some two or three hours tell us the story about the place, I thought I must make another post. I was invited together with other members of “Le Vieux Montmartre”.  

This famous Montmartre cabaret was in the mid of the 19th century referred to as the “Cabaret des Assasins”, later “Ma Campagne”. In 1875, the artist André Gill painted a rabbit which jumped out of its saucepan, which later gave the place its new name; playing with words - “le Lapin à Gill” became “Lapin Agile”, the Nimble Rabbit. The painting on the façade is a copy, the original can be found in the Montmartre Museum (see previous posts, e.g. here and here).

So we were sitting in the old little cabaret, which is still open every night (except Mondays) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (see their site), listening the a number of fascinating stories, sitting on wooden benches, surrounded by tens of paintings and drawings (and a Christ) made by different artists who have been more or less regular visitors over the years.

One of the paintings on the wall is a copy of Picasso’s “At the Lapin Agile”. The original was hanging here between 1905 and 1912, when it was sold for 20 $. The original is today at the MMA in New York. It represents Picasso himself, a model (Germaine Pichot) and in the background the cabaret  “manager”, Frederic Gerard, “Frédé”, playing the guitar. Already in 1904, Picasso had made the portrait of Frédé’s stepdaughter Margot, today known as “Woman with a Crow” (Toledo Museum of Art).

During Frédé’s time, the place was owned by Aristide Bruant, famous then and still today, especially thanks to different posters made by Toulouse-Lautrec. Bruant sold it to the son of Frédé, Paulo, of which the present owner, Yves Mathieu, our host, is the stepson.  

Lapin Agile was (and still is) a meeting place for a number of artists. The bearded Frédé played the cello or the guitar and everybody – Picasso, Modigliani, Utrillo, Braque, Apolinaire, Max Jacob… participated by singing, reading poems… 

Frédé, Père Frédé, had a donkey, known as Lolo, which also became famous in 1910 when its tail was used as a brush for a painting presented at the Salon des Independants under the name “Et le soleil se coucha sur  l’Adriatique”, where it got very good reviews.

I will not make a list of all later famous artists who have performed, even started their careers, here -  a lot of French ones (Nougaro, Brassens…), but also some classical music ones like Sviatoslav Richter, who later returned regularly ….

… like the couple Alexandre Lagoya / Ida Presti who, young, even lived here  .

The guestbook is impressive. Here are just some examples: Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Leontyne Price, Foujita, Fernand Léger, Vlaminck, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edward G. Robinson...


A few towers etc....

A couple of days ago, I had a drink with a blogger friend on the top terrace of Centre Pompidou (Beaubourg) in a suffieicently warm spring temperature, although the sky was grey. I took a few zoom pictures. The top one is what you really have in front of your eyes, the roof of the Town Hall.
Here are two more, which perhaps also can serve as some repetition of the Paris geography. :-)

Here you can find links to previous posts I have made about the different points we can see: Centre Pompidou, the Town Hall, Notre Dame, Panthéon, Saint Merri Church, the Palace of Justice with the Concergerie, Place de Chatelet with the Théatre de la Ville, the Saint-Jacques Tour, The Val-de-Grâce Chruch, the Tour de Montparnasse.


When Gustaf Eiffel retired...

Gustaf Eiffel (1832-1923) is not only the man behind the Eiffel Tower (1889, see previous posts) and a large number of bridges, railway stations and other buildings all over the world (incl. in South America, Asia, Africa…) not forgetting the interior construction of the N.Y. Statue of Liberty (see previous posts), but when he officially retired he concentrated on meteorology and aerodynamics. Eiffel’s interest in meteorology and aerodynamics was of course particularly linked to the effects of wind forces on the structures he had built.

It is said that especially his contribution to the science of aerodynamics is of equal importance to his work as an engineer and architect.

He experimented at the Eiffel Tower with a drop test machine, built a small laboratory at the foot of the Tower in 1905, added a small wind tunnel in 1909 (used e.g. for Wright Brothers experiments) and in 1912 built a larger laboratory and wind tunnel in the Auteuil area of the 16th arrondissement, which is still working and which I had the opportunity to visit.

The wind tunnel at Auteuil is based on an open jet of air with a closed test chamber and this system can still be seen in many later, much bigger tunnels. However, this tunnel is still used, smaller models of cars, airplanes, buildings, towers… are tested.

Some old measurement panels are kept, but today, of course, much more computerized instruments are used.

Some of Eiffel’s scientific works on meteorology and aerodynamics are exposed…

… as well as the drop test machine he used at the Tower. 


After all and at last, the leaves start to appear...

Referring to my previous, latest, post about the Belleville area, I felt that with the sudden arrival of spring, I must go back. So, here are a few more photos. How things have changed in a few days! 

...and also some more inventive, decorative details…

… a little more of street art and tagging…

… a view of Rue Laurence Savart taken from the top by Willy Ronis in 1948 and from the lower end by me in 2013…

… not forgetting a few cats, of which one exceptionally seemed happy to pose. 


Still no leaves on the trees, but…

Paranthesis: No leaves on the trees... Actually, this is not true any more. I prepared this post a couple of days ago. Suddenly, yesterday, the spring arrived!
 End of parenthesis.

Last Sunday I had the pleasure to walk around for a long moment together with some fellow “greeters”. We are volunteers who regularly take smaller groups of Paris visitors beyond the usual tourist spots. Feel welcome to make an appointment for your next Paris trip. You can do it by going here or by clicking on “Parisien d’un jour” in the sidebar. … and tell your friends!

Sometimes we also visit places and make walks just between us, between “greeters”.  So last Sunday, on the proposal by one of us, Isabelle, we made a walk along Rue des Pyrenées, with some deviations, on the top of the Belleville / Menilmontant areas.  I have already posted about this part of Paris, but I thought that the area is worthy of some more pictures.

So, the spring is definitely late and last week there were still no leaves on the trees - the “April in Paris” is until now not quite what it should be. Anyhow, there is now at last some kind of a spring feeling, especially in nice company, as during this walk together.
We are quite on top of Paris and the view over the city is really nice.

There are a number of nicely decorated buildings.

On the façade of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Belleville church, you can curiously enough read “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”, originally a rather revolutionary message. I have not been able to find out how this inscription has ended up here.

This was much more of a workers’ area with a lot of small industries. There are still a number of small idyllic alleys, small individual houses with little gardens, old buildings more or less transformed or under transformation…

… mixed with much more modern ones.

The area is known for the high presence of urban art (see previous posts) (Nemo, Jérome Mesnager, Jef Aerosol, Mosko, janaundjs, Fred le Chevalier, Paul Santoleri, Cyclope…). I noted that the Belleville Park had got some - at least for me - new very nice sophisticated decoration… and there is of course also a lot of tagging.

I even saw some live animals, including some small chicken in a flower shop window.