This will be post about a rather normal Paris street, Rue Boursault. First, however some words about the area, referred to as Batignolles (see previous posts here).
We are alongside the railway tracks from Gare Saint Lazare to the northwest, the first French passenger lines from 1837 (see previous posts here and here). Below, we can make a comparison of what this part of Paris looked like now (rather in 2012) and in 1860, the year when the Batignolles-Monceau area (and Montmartre, Auteuil, Passy, Belleville…) became part of Paris, the number of arrondissements increased from 12 to 20 and the tax wall (Mur des Fermiers Généraux) (see previous posts here) was demolished (see the green dotted line).
The rail tracks are today in open air. On the 1860 plan we can see that they are partly covered (slightly yellowed by me). In this then covered area there was in 1921 a serious accident – two trains collided, fire… - with a large number of casualties. It was decided to demolish the tunnel(s) and the buildings which were standing on their top. We can rather easily see what was once the limit between the covered and the open areas.
Coming back to the Rue Boursault…It was named after a man, J-F Boursault-Malherbe (1752-1842), who was actor, author, active during the Revolution (hardly survived), theatre owner, business man, ornithologist… (By the way, the main character in the Guy de Maupassant novel, Bel-Ami (published 1885), lived at Rue Boursault, overlooking the rail tracks.)
So, let’s make a walk from Square des Batignolles (see previous posts) to where the wall once stood, Boulevard des Batignolles.
Although a majority of buildings seem to be from the time just after 1860, a few a bit older, a few with added floors…
… I feel that this street is a typical example of a “normal” Paris street, where buildings from different periods are mixed, where city planners have had the ideas that the street in the future would be larger… meaning that the facades are often not rectilinear and probably never will be.
Some more remarkable buildings…
… like these ones. The architect of the one to the right, René Auguste Simonet, obviously died young, the same year as the building was finished in 1901, and I have not found any other traces of works by him. He was clearly an art nouveau adept, like Guimard (see previous posts here and here), Lavirotte (see previous posts here and here)… We can see that the ceramist Alexandre Bigot contributed to decorate the façade, like he did for most of the famous art nouveau buildings and later also for some modern art architects like Auguste Perret (see previous post here), André Arfvidson (see previous post here)… . What is surprising is the narrow space, no. 66, between the two buildings, leading to a house behind.
This one actually stands here since 1839, once a covered market, today occupied by (Sorbonne) university activities.
A fire brigade… this is where you are invited the night preceding July 14th.
Getting close to Boulevard des Batignolles we pass by what is marked as “Ecole Normale des Institutrices”, from 1872, today part of Sorbonne, one of the places where you learn to be a teacher.
… and we finally reach the boulevard, with a view of Sacré Coeur, the “Rome” metro station, the Condorcet school building.
Reverting to the rail tracks, the back side of buildings along Rue Boursault… First some photos from what used to be the covered part…
… and some from the area which always was open. We can see that efforts have been made to make the places as nice as ever possible, but the trains of course never stop.