Passing in front of d’Artagnan…

The area referred to as “Plaine-Monceau”, north of the “Parc Monceau” (see previous posts), used to be more or less hunting grounds until the second half of the 19th century. There was just a little castle and the village Monceau. In 1860, when the area was incorporated in Paris and became part of the 17th arrondissement, it developed rapidly. The brothers Péreire - bankers (and railways, shipping lines, insurance…) - were heavily involved in land and real estate business. It was also the case in this area, which was rapidly transformed to a fashionable district, with elegant housing including a number of “hôtels particuliers” (private mansions) for wealthy people. It was also where you then found some of the more successful artists, who possibly wished to live close to their clientele – I already talked about some of them, e.g. here on my previous blog.

The other day I just made a short walk along two of these streets (there are many), rue Henri-Rochefort and rue Jacques-Bingen, crossing Place du Général-Catroux (“the place of the 3 Dumas”) on which I also have posted and where you find d’Artagnan, as illustrated by Gustave Doré on the monument to Alexandre Dumas “père”. 
Here are some examples of the buildings, today mostly occupied by offices, institutions, consulates…

… and some examples of decorative details.



I’m a member of an association, now almost 60 years old, which has the aim of giving support to Swedish artists who work in France. The name is “Association Artistique Suédoise à Paris” and you can read more about it here (if you understand Swedish or French ... or make use of the translation tool). We organise exhibits, lotteries, visits to artist studios, museums… 

Last week we met some of “our” artists at a lithography workshop in the 19th arrondissement, “A Fleur de Pierre” (see their site here). Some of “our” artists have already worked with lithography, some have not.

“A Fleur de Pierre” works according to traditional methods, invented in 1796. The owners gave us a brief explanation of the process. The word lithography has its origins in the ancient Greek lithos, meaning stone, and graphein, meaning to write. It’s a printing method based on the fact that oil and water don't mix, using extremely smooth limestone plates, gum, oil, acids, ink … Well, I’m not going to try to explain it all - you can rather go to Wikipedia here.

There are different manual presses in the workshop, but especially impressive is the more than one hundred year old printing press machine.

Here are some examples of artwork produced at this workshop.

Here you can see some of the participants during the presentation. For us, it was also an opportunity to discuss with the artists about how we best can assist them, to listen to new ideas… Of course, the discussion finished over a glass (or two).

For 17 years our association has been distributing a lithograph made by one of "our" artists to all of its some 200 members.  


Place des Ternes

Place des Ternes got its name and present layout by the end of the 19th century. Most charts of Paris from previous centuries don’t include or show this area, as it for long was “countryside”. Below, we can see on the chart from 1790 that the district looked quite different from now. Things were changed by the Haussmannian modifications during the 19th century and the Place and the different avenues and streets leading to it looked in 1894 quite similar to today. The Place is crossed by Avenue de Wagram and makes the junction with Avenues des Ternes, Boulevard de Courcelles and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.  

The origin of the word Ternes is uncertain, but could have its origin in a “Villa Externa”, a medieval farm situated here and “externa” has later become “estern”, “ternes”.

The Place is known for its flower shops. There is a metro station (with its Guimard entrance), line 2, and also a “kiosque” where you can buy theatre and concert tickets - basically unsold ones for “today’s” performances and often at half price -, a newsstand and on a corner you find the well-known Brasserie La Lorraine.


Another little alley...

When you walk along the large Boulevards de Clichy, de Rochechouart… on the lower, southern borders of Montmartre (or elsewhere), you are sometimes lucky to be able to push a gate which opens, or find someone who lets you in. Here is an example. I don’t give the exact address as people who live here mostly want to be left in peace.

These little alleys, previously often occupied by workshops, are now sometimes occupied by some artists, architects… but mostly just by people who have chosen to live in a busy area, but still in a complete calm.

It’s always striking to see how these people are fond of plants… and bikes!

Here is another little alley. When you look up…. 


Back, for good?

It seems that my blog can again be reached under its usual address, thanks to six hours of (paid) expertise help.There is still a question mark for what will happen end January with a GoDaddy expiring date.   


Google problems

Right now, I hate Google ! (I know it’s thanks to Google and Blogspot that I have been able to create my blog, so everything is not negative).

I had hosted my blog, Peter’s Paris, with Google / GoDaddy under the name www.peter-pho2.com.  - and now you will, at  least for the moment, find "404 Error'. For this hosting I have to pay something like 12$ per year. I wanted to do this, but can’t reach the dashboard where my credit card references should be updated. I have spent two full days trying to get assistance from Google and GoDaddy. Nothing obtained, impossible to reach some Google representative who can help, no help from the forums…

I’m now trying to transfer my blog to another host. This will take some time (and I hope that Google will not have another bad surprise to offer).

In the meantime, you can find my blog, not hosted, under http://peter-pho2.blogspot.fr/ ou http://peter-pho2.blogspot.com/

I’m afraid that the about one thousand views I have per day will drop significantly. L

A different-looking metro station.

Under the typical designed Guimard metro entrance on Île de la Cité, the design looks different from most other Paris metro stations. The Cité station was opened in 1910. It’s on line 4, which was the first one to offer an underwater crossing of the Seine.  (You can read more about the line and the spectacular underwater work here.)

On Ïle de la Cité,, with its many famous landmarks, this is the only metro station.

I have not been able to find anything about the design, the architect(s) involved… 


Rosa Parks

The longest wall in Paris covered with street art, graffiti, has, for a few weeks, been found close to the “104” (the Paris City artistic centre on which I have already posted) and the Gare de l’Est shuntyard, partly on the Rue Riquet-bridge and partly along Rue d’Aubervilliers. It has been decorated by a number of street artists, mostly women, in honour of Rosa Parks (1913-2005), the well-known Afro-American civil rights activist, who once, in 1955, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man.

A recently opened metro (RER) station has been named after Rosa Parks.

Here are some examples of what can be seen in a closer look. Some artist names: Kashink, Katiastrophe, Zepha, Combo, Vinie.

On the opposite side of the Rue-Riquet-bridge there is some kind of a van Gogh portrait by PBOY. It’s amazing to see the technique used.


The Canal Saint Martin (almost) without water.

The Canal Saint Martin (see previous post) has to be emptied every 10 or 15 years for cleaning, repairs... Now it’s time again. The canal looks of course nicer when it’s filled with water, which should be the case again in about three months – spring time!

The canal goes from the Bassin de la Villette (see post here) to the Port de l’Arsenal (see post here). It’s to a large extent covered. We can see that the tourist boats are waiting on both sides to be back in business.

Here are some more photos from the open part.

As we can see also from the top picture, it’s (unfortunately) evident that the empty-of-water canal will reveal a lot of dumped things. I haven’t yet heard of any really sensational findings, but the research has just started.

Anyhow, there are obviously a large number of Velib’ bikes (see here).

The search for items of all kinds goes on and sometimes there seem to be things which can still be used. It’s also time for maintenance of the locks etc… Some people were trying to save some fish…,

… but a small water level is kept to save the fish which have not been rescued or which have not slipped away with the water, escaping into the Seine River. The birds seem to enjoy the present water level.

Walking along you discover also some street art, l’Hôtel du Nord… One wall which normally is revisited by street artists is now covered with “Fluctuat Nec Mergitur”, ([Paris may be] tossed by the waves but does not sink) the Paris City motto.

I continued my walk also along the covered part of the canal. I wanted to check if the water level of the Port de l’Arsenal, on the other side of Place de la Bastille, was normal. It was. 

The promenade brings you to see some reminders of the Paris 2015 events (see here). The Café Bonne Bière (5 victims) is reopened, the Bataclan is not, but there are still a lot of flowers around. I especially noted a little booklet made by the pupils of a French teacher in Scotland. There are also still some flowers to be seen where a policeman was shot dead by the fleeing terrorists after the attack on Charlie Hebdo – one year ago today (their office was quite close).