11.7.13

I'm off again for a little while...

I will be on the Amalfi Coast for a while, together with kids and grandkids. There will be no time for blogging. Normally, I should be back end July. See you then! 

(Just below you will find a post, which in the meantime could give you a possibility to learn something about French history, culture...- if you wish.)

10.7.13

86 statues


During important restoration and enlargement of the Louvre during the 19th century it was decided to decorate the facades of the « Cour Napoléon » by 86 statues of “hommes illustres” (not a single woman!) Here they are! I don’t know who made the selection. There are a number of statesmen, some religious, very few military, but a large number of authors, painters, sculptors, architects… which of course is normal for a building, dedicated to the arts. 

During my absence, I thought that some of you might wish to learn something related basically to French history and art, so I made links to the biographies. (I learnt a lot while preparing this post!) 













Nicolas de Condorcet, Pierre Corneille, Jean Cousin, Nicolas Coustou, Antoine Coysevox, Henri François d’Aguesseau, Charles de Brosse, Philippe de Champagne





























8.7.13

Salle Gaveau


I rather recently made a post about the concert hall “Salle Pleyel”. A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to visit another well-known concert hall in Paris, “Salle Gaveau”.

Like “Pleyel”, “Gaveau” was an important piano manufacturer, established by J.G. Gaveau in 1847. In 1960 “Gaveau” merged with “Erard” and then, for a while, their pianos were produced by “Schimme”. Today a French company owns the three brands “Erard”, "Pleyel” and “Gaveau”. A very limited number of “Gaveau” pianos are still produced.

The building with the “Salle Gaveau” opened in 1907 and included also the manufacturer’s headquarters. When “Gaveau” went bankrupt in the 1960’s, the building failed to disappear and to be replaced by  a car parking place, but was finally saved by private investors - also music lovers. The concert hall was later restored, with an effort to reestablish the original 1907 design, and opened again in 2001. Its capacity has always been limited to about 1000 seats. (The seats are really nice and quite comfortable!)




The reason I was there was to watch some kind of – almost three hours’ - musical show organized by the school my grandkids attend. With the rest of the family I was a proud grandpa! 





4.7.13

Like a few centuries ago (3)


As a little addendum to my recent posts about Versailles (“Like a few centuries ago 1” and “Like a few centuries ago 2”) I would like to report about two concerts that I recently attended at the Royal Chapel.

One was with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, directed by Sir John Elliot Gardiner. We listened to Bach’s Easter and Ascension oratorios.

Another day I attended a concert, “Magnificat Jubilate”, with La Capella Real de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations, directed by Jordi Savall and we could listen to works by Lully, Bach, Händel, Vivaldi.

If you like this kind of music (which I do)… this is certainly the perfect place to listen to it, performed by these outstanding artists.

A few words about the Royal Chapel:  It was finished only in 1710, when Louis XIV had only five years to live. The architect, as for other large parts of the Versailles castle, was Jules Hardouin-Mansart, after his death in 1708 finished by his brother-in-law. (Hardouin-Mansart was also the architect of the Invalides Royal Chapel, Place Vendôme, Place des Victoires, the Saint-Roch church…). The Chapel was then used daily for the king’s mass and until the Revolution also for Royal religious ceremonies of all kinds – baptisms, weddings (e.g. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette) … .  You can imagine François Couperin playing on the Cliquot  organ…




         
The Jordi Savall concert was broadcast on the French / German TV channel “Arte” and is today available on YouTube.


To give you a taste of the Sir John Elliot Gardiner concert, here you can listen to another Bach oratorio, the Christmas one.
    

1.7.13

Place de la République renewed


I’m not going to tell you the history of Place de la République - I already did so in posts on my previous blog (here) and on this one (here). This is about the renovation of the place - a further step to give more space to pedestrians in Paris. The place was previously not easy to access, surrounded by often jammed streets. This has now changed – cars, buses, trucks, motorbikes… now have to make their way on just one side of the place.


So, since mid June, the place is much more visited. Here are some shots taken a late afternoon and evening.




Part of the ground is covered by water to the enjoyment of kids, I imagine more especially during summer. You can also cool down your feet in the basin surrounding the “Marianne”-statue, devoted to the Third Republic.


The authorities have put up a placard where people have given their opinions about the “new place”. I saw only positive comments.