After a meal (or a drink) at the “Closérie des Lilas”, one of the famous bars / restaurants along Boulevard de Montparnasse, I suggest that you turn around the corner, passing the statue of Marshal Ney (by François Rude), and take a walk along Rue Notre-Dames-des-Champs., (Ney was one of Napoleon’s marshals who was executed somewhere here in 1815, condemned by the Bourbon monarchy institutions after the Waterloo defeat. There were rumours that he survived and escaped to the United States…)
The Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs is not very spectacular, but is interesting thanks to all artists, authors… who have lived here especially since the latter part of the 19th century.
The list of names could be very long. I will give only a few examples.
Camille Claudel (1864-1943) lived as a young girl with her family at no. 111 and worked in a studio at no. 117 during the years 1882-88. 1882 was the year when Auguste Rodin became her teacher.
At no. 86, Fernand Léger (1881-1955) lived and had his studio for almost 40 years (1916-55). He was preceded by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) who worked here in a studio during the years 1891-1902. (For my Swedish friends I can also mention that this is where Isaac Grünewald and Sigrid Hjertén lived during their Paris years.)
Behind the gate of nos. 73-75 lived and worked William Bouguereau (1825-1905) and John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) had a studio here when he lived in Paris.
Some artists have also lived at no. 70, but maybe I should give a special mention for the poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) who spent the years 1921-24 here, became friends with many, including Ernest Hemingway (1889-1961), who moved around a lot, but for a while was a neighbour at no. 115 (building gone).
The street is long and this time I neglected the lower part, where many of the buildings, e.g. occupied by Victor Hugo, Auguste Renoir… have disappeared. However, before leaving Rue Notre-Dame-des Champs, maybe a special mention for no. 109 where you find one of the most distinguished schools in Paris, “Ecole Alsacienne”, founded in 1874. The list of famous people who received their education here is long.
Once here, it’s worth taking a look at a crossing street, Rue de la Grande-Chaumière, much shorter, but with a lot of history.
Here, at no. 8 is where Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) spent his last years and days, together with Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920), who committed suicide two days after Amedeo’s death.
They had met at the “Académie Colarossi”, at no. 10, where there now is a restaurant. Here you can see others who spent some time here – once again we find Camille Claudel. (I don’t know if it was here that she met Rodin.)
Since 1905 there has been another art school, at no. 14 – “Académie de la Grande Chaumière”, still in operation. We can see a number of well-known names, teachers as well as students.
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), lived for a while in the same building where later Modigliani and Hébuterne lived. He was a friend of Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), who lived and worked at no. 13, in a small flat above the little restaurant “Crémerie” (now gone), obviously partly decorated by him (and - again for my Nordic friends – where August Strindberg, here portrayed by Edvard Munch, was a regular guest.) Here we can see both Mucha and Gauguin photographed in Mucha’s flat. Both Gauguin and Mucha went to the “Académie Colarossi”.
Some other buildings on Rue de la Grande-Chaumière include a famous “Sennelier” art-supply shop. (They opened here only in 1930.) I found no information on the impressive building at no. 6.
On the opposite side of the street, you can find a four-star hotel, “Hôtel des Académies”. It seems that almost all the rooms have Jérôme Mesnager’s (see previous post) “white men” on the walls.