Green space

I was a bit early for a meeting… and I discovered two charming green spaces - along the Avenue du Général Leclerc. The first one is surrounding an old (1780) hospital building, Hôpital Rochefoucauld, outside Paris borders when it was built. Today the hospital is specialising in gerontology. The surrounding park is of course rather there for the (old) patients, but you can walk around discretely (especially as I have the age). 

On the other side of the building (see "map" below), you can find one of the “regards” (no. 25) of the Medici aqueduct. I wrote about it here.

The other green space I found, very close to the first one, is named “Villa Adrienne”. It’s actually a private area, but with hundreds of inhabitants, so it’s quite easy to get in (staying discrete of course). It has been there since 1895 and got its name from the then owner, a Mrs Adrienne Desmont. On two sides you can find apartment buildings and on the third side some very nice villas (see also top picture). One specific thing is that there is no numbering of the different entrances – instead you find names of well-known artists, scientists…  

Even the villas have such names.

Just round the corner is a little nice alley, “Villa Hallé” which I already visited, see here.


claude said...

J'aime beaucoup ces coins de verdures parisiens, et ces jolies villas.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Peter for your beautiful post. Reading it and admiring your photos, it came to my mind a love story where this greatest of all great names: de la Rochefoucauld is involved.

Having read a lot about Jefferson, I always knew about Rosalie and William. But this story I stole from an article I found online.
This is a story between one of France's greatest peeresses and Thomas Jefferson's private secretary.

Rosalie de Rohan-Chabot was then a famous great beauty and the young wife of a French liberal duke – Louis-Alexandre, Duke de la Rochefoucauld. The duke was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson, the then Ambassador to France of the young United States. During the Terror, Rosalie's husband, the duke was brutally murdered in front of her.

William Short, Jefferson's private secretary was probably introduced to Rosalie at a public gathering, possibly in 1785, but more likely in 1787; and probably with her husband standing right there. It seems that from William’s first encounter with her that she reduced him to, well, mush. From then on, when he wasn’t working, he seemed to spend a lot of his time contriving somehow to see her.

She definitely aided those efforts. He is regularly writing to others of having been to dinners at her home – dinners that must have included her husband and others. (Gouverneur Morris, who would officially succeed Jefferson as Minister to France in 1792, offers numerous wry asides in his diary that William has just left some meeting with him to dine at the La Rochefoucaulds – for the gazillionth time.) Or Rosalie is dispatching hurried messages inviting him to join “them” at the theatre. Or she’s firing off teasing notes afterwards as to how they look forward to seeing him again soon and she likes to think that he enjoys seeing her.

They were eventually spending so much time together – as “friends” – that naturally rumors began flying. From what we can discern, Jefferson didn’t much like their “friendship.” It is unclear what her husband thought. Extra-marital affairs were common in that social strata, but there is no evidence the duke “distrusted” William. It’s impossible to know what went on among them all privately.

William remained behind in Paris after Jefferson left for the United States because it had been thought Jefferson was only on leave and would sail back the following spring (of 1790). But Jefferson did not return, so William became his country's unofficial representative to France. His tenure in that position lasted nearly three years. Clearly he loved it: the post allowed him to remain in France near her.

Things “hotted up” between them after Jefferson went home. William was by all accounts also quite a handsome guy, and she wasn’t the only one who noticed him; but there is no evidence he was ever involved at all with anyone else. If there was some “intimacy,” chances are it started during 1791. But naturally we don’t really know what happened when they were alone except for what appears in their letters written when they were apart.

Rosalie, in her letters, is recalling they had been out in the carriage for the day, or on a river excursion, or had lounged in sunshine in a meadow. Or she is remembering how the last time they had parted she had had to pull herself together quickly to leave him. She was late for an engagement at her grandmother’s and she hoped when she’d gotten there that no one had noticed the state she was in. (Cue the blushing.) That sort of thing is also a big help in trying to piece together what went on between them...

Thank you Google.