Mosaic pavements

Especially the arcades along Rue de Rivoli and Rue de Castiglione, but also the ones around the Palais Royal gardens, offer some mosaic pavements. They are not all over the place, some are in good shape, some not…

For how long have the mosaics been here? I have no clear answer. I found the names "Gentil and Bourdet" behind a pillar. This corresponds to a ceramic company with activities during the first half of the 20th century. They worked together with leading architects and have left a number of decorations on (and inside) buildings in Paris and elsewhere. Here is just an example, the cinema Louxor, but I haven’t found any indication about Rue de Rivoli, Palais Royal…. "Gentil and Bourdet" also manufactured decorative vases and other pieces at their little factory in the Paris suburbs. This seems to indicate that most of the mosaics may not have been there when the arcades opened during the18th century - Palais Royal - and the 19th century – Rue de Rivoli, Rue de Castiglione.... or that they have been replaced.  

Some of the mosaics seem actually to be quite recent, the perfume shop Annick Goutal is fairly new, the Harold clothes shop may have been there since the 1950’s …  whereas the Swann pharmacy has been there since 1850.

In front of the hotels (and “Angelina”) you find mosaics in good shape, probably renewed.

But if this was the original idea...most of the names do not correspond anymore to any shop or other activity.

At 206, Rue de Rivoli, there is a very nice mosaic in front of a beautiful door (and a plate indicating that Leon Tolstoy stayed here for a little while, in 1857).

Some mosaics from the Palais Royal galleries.

The names on the ground indicate Palais Royal shops which in most cases are not there anymore, but some auction houses still offer some of the items which used to be manufactured and sold here.

It seems to me that certain recent modifications lack some kind of respect.


Jeanie said...

These are beautiful, Peter. They make for a terrific photo essay.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the photos of the mosaics at the Palais Royal, the one with the name Pontillon looked familiar: Jean Paul Prosper Pontillon 1829 - 1898, bijoutier à Paris en 1873 au Palais Royal, 45 galerie Montpensier.

His brother, Adolphe Pontillon, an officer of the Navy, was married to Edma Morisot, favorite sister of the Impressionist painter, Berthe Morisot.

Thank you, Peter,

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Absolutely marvellous!

lyliane said...

Pour une fois tu ne t'es pas promené le nez en l'air!, mais cela vaut le coup, c'est vrai que ces mosaïques sont très belles,on marche dessus sans y faire attention.

Susie said...

Oh so beautiful Peter. Makes me think of the days of glamour...that seem to be long gone. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

claude said...

J'adore ! C'est si beau !

Studio at the Farm said...

These mosaics are absolutely exquisite, Peter. Thank you for writing about them!


Lucy said...

Thank you, I really appreciate all your posts but this one especially.