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

I will be absent from blogging until the end of the month. I will spend some time in Uzbekistan (Samarkand, Bukhara - the Silk Road...) and a few days in Istanbul on the way back. I hope to bring you some souvenir pictures. In the meantime, I made a post about the Pasteur Museum in Paris - see below.

See you again (rather) soon! 

The Paris Pasteur Museum

Louis Pasteur (1822-95) is of course known for different vaccinations, microbial fermentation, pasteurization… How many lives have been saved thanks to his research, his discoveries?

He was the founder of the Pasteur Institute which opened in 1888. Today the Institute occupies a large area in the 15th arrondissement.

The workforce is of some 2400 (60 nationalities) + some 500 students. … and there are today some 32 Pasteur Institutes worldwide. The Pasteur Institute is a leading biomedical research organization. It has offered solutions or improvements of methods to fight against diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, influenza, yellow fever, plague… The Institute was the first to isolate HIV (AIDS virus). Ten of the Institute’s scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize. It’s a private, non-profit organisation. The funding include donations, licensing royalties, French government subsidies…

The Institute was created thanks to fund raising. The donators also wanted to offer a decent place for the Pasteur couple to live in and the apartment can be visited. Louis Pasteur’s wife lived here until her death in 1910.

The apartment was more or less empty until 1935, when his grandson, who had kept all family furniture and objects, offered it all to the Institute. Since 1936 this is now a Pasteur Museum

Here we can see Louis Pasteur on a photo (by Nadar) and on a famous painting (by Albert Edelfelt) – one in the apartment, one at the Orsay Mauseum. We can also see a photo of his wife, Marie-Laurent. She was not only the mother of their five children, whereof only two lived to an adult age, but also by some considered as his best and very active collaborator.  There is also a portrait that Louis Pasteur made of his mother. He made a number of excellent portraits and other paintings until the age of 20, when he gave it up. 

Some photos from the apartment in one of the original buildings - many have been added since. I could draw your special attention to the portrait of Pasteur + grandchild, offered by the owner of the Carlsberg Breweries. They owed great thanks to Pasteur for his help with beer fermentation methods.

One of the rooms is displaying tools used by Pasteur in his different laboratories.  

Louis Pasteur was offered great national funerals at the Notre Dame. The wish was to give him a grave at the Paris Pantheon, but his wife insisted on having him buried in the basement of their home. This is some kind of extravagant mausoleum decorated with mosaics  see also top picture. 


Square Louvois

There is a quiet little square in the 2nd arrondissement, close to the Bibliothèque Nationale (National Library) with the name Square Louvois. (The Marquis de Louvois, minister under Louis XIV, had once a residence here.) In the middle of the square (prepared by the usual Paris “park team”, Alphand and Davioud)  you can find an imposing fountain – the day of my visit the water was however missing – created in 1844 (or 1839?) by Louis Visconti - also known for the tomb of Napoleon (see my post here) and for other great fountains, the Saint-Sulpice one (see my post here), the Molière one (see my post here) … and a lot more. For this one he was helped by the sculptor J-P-J Klagmann, who created the four ladies representing four French rivers, Seine, Loire, Saône, and Garonne.

(The building in the background is the National Library.)

There are four tritons, mounted on dolphins.

These twelve mascarons should normally spout water.  

The fountain is beautiful, was last time renovated in 1974 and may now need some new refreshing.

So, where the fountain now stands used, as aid above, to stand the Paris home of the Marquis de Louvois. But the place is particularly known for something else; it used to be the place of one of Paris’ opera houses. There have been many opera buildings in Paris since the first one was created during the 17th century, some for very short periods. Many of them disappeared by fire, others were demolished…  Today we have the Opera Garnier (see previous posts) and the Opera Bastille (see previous post). I posted about another disappeared one, the one preceding Opera Garnier, here
The opera house which stood where we now have Square Louvois was in operation between 1793 and 1820. It’s known with many names – also due to the fact that France then lived a period with a number of changing regimes – revolution, Napoleon, royalty… : Théàtre National, Théâtre des Arts, Théàtre de la République et des Arts, Salle de la Rue de la Loi, Salle de la Rue de Richelieu (the street name changed), Salle Montansier... after Mademoiselle Montansier who actually originally created the theatre, but lost it to the state in 1794. (You should read about her here, she had a remarkable career.)

Some events are linked to this theatre. Bonaparte, then first consul, escaped in 1800 from an attack on his way to the opera – 22 dead and 56 injured. In 1820, the Duke of Berry was mortally wounded (by an anti-royal bonapartist), when leaving the theatre. He was the son of the future King Charles X and the one who could still potentially offer a heir, a future King, to the House of Bourbon. However, his wife was pregnant and seven months later a son was born, who however finally failed to become a King (under the name of Henry V) when in 1830 Louis-Philippe of the Orleans branch took over. (Since then there is a dispute between the Bourbon and the Orleans branches about who should be considered as King, if France decided to bring back royalty to power – which of course is doubtful. J)

The murder however completely upset the royalty and it was decided to demolish the theatre where the attack took place. Instead an expiatory monument, a memorial, was built, which however soon disappeared and was replaced by the present fountain. 

There was actually another theatre on one side of the square, Théâtre Louvois, which was demolished in 1825, but which for a very short period, after the destruction of the Théâtre National, was used for operas.

Here is what the area looked like in 1816 … and today.  


"In Situ" art festival

Fort Aubervilliers is a former fortress, built 1842-46, for the defense of Paris. The site is now subject for renewal, although the plans seem no yet quite clear. One problem is that radio-activity research took place here during the 1920’s and although decontamination has been undertaken there seems to be some worries. The latest decades part of the area has been used for industrial activities including car demolition. The place is now emptied and before preparing for new projects, the area was this year opened for street art.

Some 50 international street artists were invited to participate: Guy Denning, Dan23, Lavalet, Ripo, Borondo (top picture), 13Bis, Jef Aerosol, FKDL, David Walker, Faucheur, Mosko, Jana&JS, Kenor…  .

When you take the little road to the former industrial area you are guided by CyKlop’s works.

Buildings and walls are all covered. 

The car demolishers who used to work here, obviously left a few cars for the artists.

Maybe a special mention for this 1200 m2 painting by Jorge Rodriguez Gerada. It must be seen from the sky. (I just copied a photo of a photo.)

There is even a chance to get restored.

The last chance to see this is now, in September (during weekends).

Here is where it’s located, just north-east of the Paris city border. This is also where the Bartabas – Zingaro horse shows take place.  You can see one example of what has been planned for the area. Will it be this one? 


A chimney in the Marais...

In my preceding post I mentioned a chimney. You can find it inside a surprising building (39, rue des Francs-Bourgeois). 

This is what the facade and entrance look like.

This was a factory built during the 1880’s, for La Société des Cendres, (The Ash Company). This company was created to handle dust sweep and “scrap” that was left after manufacturing of jewellery – some 500 jewellers, dentists, photographers, engravers... were associated in the creation of the company. The intention was to recover, platinum, gold, silver… . The activity continued here until 2002. The company still exists, now situated in a suburb – and is still the owner of the premises here.

However, today the place is now occupied by a Japanese clothing company (Uniqlo). The restoration of the building, severely surveyed by State Architects, has been done so that the major elements of the building have been saved, including the chimney. 

Furthermore, on a lower level, some elements from the former factory have also been saved and are exposed - all completed by explanatory texts, videos…

A blogger friend (his blog about Paris is remarkable) visited the place before the restoration works started. Here are some of his illustrations and here is a link to the posts (1) (2). … and what he also was able to then visit was the cellar below, where you again can find traces of the Philippe-Auguste Wall (see my previous posts). 


Philippe Auguste wall, again and again and again...

I have already made number of posts on the Philippe-Auguste Wall, built 1190-1210, which once surrounded a much smaller Paris. If you click here you can also find the previous posts.

A tower of this wall has recently been restored, made visible. You can now visit it in a little garden, also refitted and embellished in the Marais area - "Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph Migneret". It’s not obvious to find it – you can enter via 10, Rue des Rosiers (see previous post) or via 35-37, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois (see previous post).  

One has obviously been forced to make an opening in the wall to enable the entrance to the little garden.

I would like to draw your attention to the chimney. My next post will talk about this chimney.