In November last year I wrote about the bad shape of the pavements on the lower part of the Champs-Elysées (see here). When I passed by a week or two later, I noticed that some repairs had taken place. Can this experience be renewed? I would like to report to the mayor of Paris that the pavements of “Cours-la-Reine” also are in a very bad shape!!

“Cours-la-Reine” was originally a garden promenade along the Seine River, created by Marie de Medicis during the early 17th century. Today you can walk between lines of chestnut trees and since some decades also admire a number of statues representing Simon Bolivar, Adam Mickiewicz, Lafayette… and also King Albert I of Belgium, who after WWI gave his name to part of the “Cours-la-Reine”, it became “Cours-Albert-Premier”.

We can compare between 1780 (when one had learnt to distinguish north and south on maps…) and today.

There is a paved lane close to the river. This is where more courageous people would walk if they decided to join “Place de la Concorde” and the “Eiffel Tower” on foot. I would say that this is one of the more prestigious Paris walks you could do… but shame on Paris again – have a look!

… and when were the benches last painted? Slats are even missing!   

I have, March 4, received this message from the Mayor's office:
Votre message relatif à l'état des cours la Reine et Albert dans le 8ème arrondissement a été transmis à la Direction de la voirie et des déplacements.
Le Cabinet de la Maire de Paris


My www-blog address is back!!

After having been able to get hold of some helping people on the phone, first in France, then in Arizona… spending a few hours on the phone (and paying some 205 US$, in addition to the phone costs) ... my blog’s www-address is back. Don’t ask me what went wrong, how it was solved - too complicated… but now you can again find my blog under www.peter-pho2.com.  … and the message that “the domain registration expired” should not any more appear, when you hopefully also in the future will look for Peter’s Paris.

Birds need to make a pause...

... so do I. A bit too much to do lately and I have no real post awaiting to be published. Sorry! I hope to be back next Thursday.


Another little night walk

I took a nice little night walk again, maybe less spectacular to the eyes than my recent walk along the Seine River (see here).

I started at Place de la Bastille (see previous posts). The Bastille Opera has since the end of last year an illumination, named “Saturnales”. Why this name? Why not - “Saturnalia” was some kind of Roman winter celebration, in December, a short period of great festivities, when even the slaves had some kind of limited freedom…   

I continued along the rue Saint Antoine, since “forever” the major way to enter Paris from the east.

You pass by the statue of Pierre Beaumarchais (1732-99), a man known for an enormous amount of activities, but today perhaps best known for having created the Figaro plays, later linked to Mozart. The “Temple Sainte Marie” is a former catholic church, given to the Protestants during the 19th century – and of course, differently from the catholic churches, always closed except for masses. There is also the 17th century “Hôtel de Mayenne”, today a school. The doors to the “Hôtel de Sully” were closed. During day time, when the doors are open, this is one of the nicest ways to reach the “Place des Vosges” (see here). 

I took a little side street instead to have a short glimpse at the “Place des Vosges”...

... and another one to see the “Place du Marché Sainte Catherine” (see top picture)… and I also looked at some other side streets.

What I appreciate is that the street lamps in this area, and also in many other Paris areas, are maintained in a style which seems to fit the old surrounding buildings, a feeling of gas lanterns.

Most of the bars were closing when I made my walk. Unfortunately I could also see some traces of crushed windows, traces of some recent demonstrations.  

I finished my little walk, after having passed the “Saint Paul Saint Louis Church” (see here). It was not very late, only a quarter to twelve, but I decided to take the metro and go home.


Clemenceau's slippers

I made (again) a visit to the Clemenceau Museum. It’s a small museum in the 16th arrondissement, actually the rather modest flat that Clemenceau occupied as from 1896 until his death in 1929. You have the feeling that nothing has changed, that everything is exactly as it was when he lived there.

Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) is one of the most remarkable men in French history. Medical doctor, writer, journalist… but especially politician (Prime Minister during WWI). This is not the place to write his complete biography, you can find it e.g. here.  A lot of positive things can be said about him, but as with all of us, maybe also something negative. The major criticism concerns perhaps his being too uncompromising against Germany during the Peace Conference in 1919, which is often considered by many to be a major reason for what happened in Germany during the 1920’s and 30’s.  But, there are many positive things to be said about him, including on social (8 hours’ working days …), religious (separation state / church…) and cultural (great friend of artists, especially Monet) matters and he was also a great defender of Dreyfus.

I would dream of having a desk, a writing and working table like this.

A little look at the bedroom, the dining room… all quite modest, those days, for such a personality.  


The only one left?

There seem to have been some experiments with gas lanterns in Paris during the first decades of the 19th century, but the real start was obviously only during the 1830’s.  Around 1870 there were some 20.000 of them in Paris, but the electricity had already started to replace them. It seems now that there is only one gas lantern left and it’s not in Paris itself, but very close to the Paris border in the suburb of Malakoff, in a very nice little street, surrounded by small individual cosy houses, “Sentier de Tir”. 

The one left, the only one in the Paris region and maybe in France, is of course there thanks to some initiative from the local population and some volunteers who take care of it. The mechanism is obviously very fragile and that seems to be a reason why the lantern now is in operation day and night.

I went one evening. We can see how the gas light is feeble, compared to what the recent electric lanterns offer (too strong light to give nice photos). A little help was also given by the moon.


Ship bows

A new visit to the “Palais Royal”…, but first something about the address of my blog. 

I’m back to my original blogspot address. Some bad experience about a “lost blog” (for a couple of days) a few years ago made me consider using a “domain” and I got, via Google, a www-address, which you have to pay for (not much). This has to be renewed on an annual basis. I have paid, but the www-address can’t be reached: "This domain registration expired on 01/31/2019". I spent a very long moment on the phone with the domain-company (a Google subsidiary) in Arizona. The person was kind, but, sorry, of no help. I have now decided to go back to my original simple blogspot-address – I see no reason to pay for something which doesn’t work – there was a small problem also last year. I hope that my readers will find my new (old) address. I will of course lose a number of readers, who found my blog by looking for "Peter's Paris" and who will now just continue to receive the message that the "registration has expired".  
The link via Facebook could help to find my blog. 
Well, coming back to the “Palais Royal” on which I have posted a number of times (see here). The Palais was originally built for the Cardinal Richelieu, who in 1639 could move in … and then there is a long history which I’m not going to retell here.

But, in 1763 there was a fire… and the whole thing had to be rebuilt, with one exception, “La Galérie des Proues” – the bow gallery, now the only part left of the original “palais”. First, one question, why bows? Because Cardinal Richelieu was – also – “grand maître, chef et surintendant général de la navigation et commerce de France », which in a simpler way means that he was – also - the boss of the navy, war and commerce. So, to illustrate this magnificent title the gallery was decorated with ship bows.

I took photos of all the 8 bows … and then I thought – they are all the same.

But, after a closer look, I found out that the bows all had different faces. There has for centuries been a wish to decorate buildings with “mascarons”, in general quite frightening, grotesque… and here we find them again.    


The cat is back!

In a post I wrote soon four years ago (see here), I wrote about the black cat, "Le Chat Noir", a famous cabaret which existed between 1881 and 1897. I'm afraid the cabaret closed forever, but the people behind the cabaret also published a weekly newspaper with the same name... and the newspaper is now back, until further on a monthly basis, and the number 9 will soon be published. 

The previous one which was published between 1882 and 1897 had some very famous contributors with writers like Alphonse Allais, Guy de Maupassant, Victor Hugo, Edmond de Goncourt, Emile Goudeau, Paul Verlaine... with musical critics like Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet... with illustrators like Steinlen, Wilette, Léandre, Caran d'Ache... 

The life of the original newspaper was rather short, but if it stopped, it was only because of the death of the creator of the cabaret and the newspaper, Rodolphe Salis. 

The new "Le Chat Noir" is back thanks to a young man, Romain Nouat, and the purpose is the same, satire and humour. 

I had the pleasure to meet him. One amusing detail is that he works in a small flat which once (around 1880-98) was occupied by the composer Erik Satie, during the time when Satie wrote the Gymnopédies, the Gnossiennes... and when he, together with Claude Debussy and others, took care of the music at the cabaret "Le Chat Noir" and when he had a short love story with his neighbour Suzanne Valadon... (I wrote about her several times, maybe especially here.) From Satie's window we are overlooking what now is the Montmartre Museum.
On the top picture we can see Romain Nouat, holding his newspaper (no. 8), standing in front of the Montmartre vineyards (see here), the cabaret "Lapin Agile" (see here)...

Here we can see a 2019 version of the newspaper, compared to an 1884 one.

... and at last, the newspaper on sale ... and Romain Nouat again, here together with one of the present contributors to the newspaper, Rodolphe Trouilleux, author of a number of books, especially on Paris and Parisians, including the bestseller "Paris Secret et Insolite"

... and, of course, if you wish to subscribe to the new monthly "Le Chat Noir", which I just did, I suggest that you go to this site. ... and the annual fee is: France 35€, rest of Europe 50€, rest of the world 55€.


Lack of time...

Lack of time to do what I would call a “real post”, so… The other day I was at the Palais Royal (on which I have posted quite often, see here) and once again I was impressed to see some roses fighting against the cold.

A little reminder of my country of birth.