A new Palace of Justice

I have already showed a number of times how the new Palace of Justice, with Renzo Piano as architect, has risen to become one of the highest Paris buildings – 160 m (525 ft). Well, we don’t wish for any new high buildings in Paris but… the building is as far from the centre of Paris you can be without leaving the city. (See map below.)  (The Montparnasse Tower is 210 m high (689 ft) and the Eiffel Tower 324 m (1063 ft).)

The new Palace (Le Tribunal de Paris) has now been in operation since mid-April.

Just a little comparison between the 18th century entrance of the old Palace and the new one. (I would be curious to see the new one in some 250 years.)

Unless being part of the magistrate administration, you can visit only the lowest of the “cubes”, six stores, some 90 courtrooms…  and during this first visit I didn’t look into any courtroom, where no photo should be taken during audiences anyhow.

The large lobby, where you and your lawyer, barrister, may spend a – long - moment before it’s time to enter a courtroom, is in France referred to as “la salle des pas perdus”. Knowing a bit of French you may believe that the translation should be the “hall for lost steps”, considering the long time you may wait here, maybe walking around. However, “pas perdus” can also be translated as “not lost”, and actually this may be the real origin of the expression. In 1815, Napoleon had left for St. Helena and the royalty took over again. King Louis XVIII created a Chamber with royalists, some even more royalists than the King, and it was quickly decided to have a new election, where some lost and some didn’t. The non-losers, the “pas perdus”, met in a large hall at the Palais Bourbon (see previous posts)…which got the name. (Awaiting the results, I guess they had taken a number of steps, the 100 "pas perdus".) 
As a comparison this is what “la salle des pas perdus” looked like in the old Palace (see also previous post)..

The criminal investigation quarters, which were already part of the old Palace, were situated on and always referred to as “36, Quai des Orfèvres”, well known from e.g. George Simenon’s "Commissaire Maigret" novels. They have also moved to this adjacent building, which, a bit artificially, has kept its famous street number “36” – now on another street, rue du Bastion.  

Rue du Bastion refers to the last Paris defence wall, the Thiers wall, built during the 1840’s and for the largest part destroyed during the 1920’s, but here remains a rather large part, which now is brought back into light and sight. … and just behind it you can see the only old buildings which have been left untouched in this area - the opera warehouses with Charles Garnier as architect (not quite as glorious as the “Opera Garnier”, see previous posts) – today partly hosting some theatre activities. (I talked about the warehouses and the wall already here.)   

Some higher courts will still remain in the old Palace (Assize Courts, Courts of Appeal, Cassation), the “36 Quai des Orfévres” will possibly host some police museum activities… but there will be a lot of space free.  


lyliane six said...

Intéressant l'origine des pas perdus !

Virginia said...

Je préfère l'original.

Maria Russell said...

Thank you so much for guiding us from the old Palace of Justice to the new one and telling us its impressive history.
I imagine that such a place would have the last word in air conditioning? And...of course...being France...an excellent place to eat?

Seems like everywhere else in the world, a theater's place for storing "bambalinas" has at least once caught on fire. Not ever so, I guess, in those warehouses designed by Garnier.

claude said...

Comme Virginia, je préfère l'ancien.

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