Walking Around, Paris
The northern "border" of interesting Paris is dotted with a couple of arches with few differences except size. The biggest one, St Denis was built in 1672 and restored in 1988.
Twenty five meters high, it has some bas reliefs, and sculpted elements. Side-by-side with St Martin they represent the line between the touristy area and... the other.
Yes, it is frontier land!
A little out of the touristy area I was surprised by a very beautiful building - the Mairie of the 9th quarter. It is installed in a palace coming from the 18th century, built to be used as a hotel - Augny hotel.
It's long and interesting history may be read in the Mairie page (link below... in French)
Many years ago, I stayed a few days in one of the hotels in Caumartin St. I kept the idea that it was an ugly neighborhood, close to some of the really beautiful many things of Paris.
I stayed there again recently and... surprise! Meandering in those "hidden" streets, closed to traffic, I found another reality: A beautiful quarter, with fancy restaurants, statues, and a peaceful ambiance, in contrast with the rush of the main avenues.
Wrong idea in the first impressions, or an excellent work in space rehabilitation?
Out in the far-flung wastes of the 12th arrondissement is the Villa du Bel-Air, whose only real interest lies in the fact that the old abandoned Petite Centure railway runs alongside and where you can still see a platform of the old Bel-Air station. But abandoned!!! I thought so until I saw this strange machine going up and down the rails, obviously involved in some work or other along the line. (See photo 3).
Closest metro is Picpus.
This is a wonderful historical place and indeed many times overpassed. At the door there is a statue of the Virgin and Child that greets you with the inscription "Monstra te esse matrem" OR show yourself Mother. Metro Sévres-Babylone or Saint-Placide, both are not far from the chapel. Also available are city buses: 39, 63, 70 84, 87, 94, which bring you nearer. You are here, at 140 rue du Bac, in the 7th arrondissement or district.
It holds the House of the daughters of the Charity and it is a place of high pilgrimage as it is here that the Holy Virgin show up to Sainte Catherine Labouré. The building is the former hôtel de Chatillon,and the order opens on August 6 , 1815 ; first dedicated to the Holy Heart of Jesus. It was enlarged in 1849,and after several changes until 1930, the date of the apparition. After a complete renovation was done as the one you see today.
The doctrine of the immaculate conception was not officially done at the time of Sainte Catherine, but the medals with the insignia of « done without sins » influence the Pope Pie IX ; that proclaims on December 8 1854, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Catherine died 46 years after the apparitions without ever revealing its secrets to others than God and Holy Virgin. Buried in 1933 , her body is now perfectly preserve in a chasse in the chapel of the miracously medal. The body of Sainte Louise de Marillac ,also rests here not far from that of Catherine Labouré.
This is the official site of the miracle medal in French
this is a typical square in Paris sublime nice and I past by it many times !! It is also, cross by Avenue Victor Hugo. It was name as such from 1885,after the death of Victor Hugo,as also was the avenue. Before the square was call rond-point de Saint-Cloud, rond-point des Bassins,rond-point de la Plaine , and the place de l'Hippodrome. After the annexation of Passy to Paris (1860),it was called the place d'Eylau.
At the center of the square it had a statue to Victor Hugo done in 1902 . It was done n copper on a stone base. The part done in bronze was melted from weapons from the occupation of 1943. The decoration and bottom of the statue are kept today in the musée des beaux-arts of Calais and on Veules-les-Roses. In 1964,a huge fountain was done in its place.
In the square you have the Church Saint-Honoré-d’Eylau and it house the monks of Bethléem. as well as the house where Maurice Schumann was born; a hero of the French resistance and Radio free France announcer
the Streets that come out of this wonderful square are avenue Raymond-Poincaré, rue Léonard-de-Vinci, avenue Victor-Hugo, rue Copernic, rue Boissière, rue Mesnil, avenue Bugeaud, and rue de Sontay
The first thing that strikes you about this building is the main doors that are open during the week. They have been here so long, I'm told since the 14th c, that they have been classed Monument Historique. But what does the "D" stand for, perhaps the owners name, no-one has trace of it. Inside the porchway is a lovely old artisans workshop, renovated and in part, now an apartment.
There is also the burial stone of Mere Marie du St Esprit, la mere de Mme de Sevigné. The count of Chavigny, Leon Bouthillier, the foreign minister of Louis XIII, lived here for a time. and had his own mansion built almost next door at nos 7-9.
St Paul is the closest metro.
The garden that was started in the Hotel de Coulanges/Maison de l'Europe is now finished and enlarged to over 2000 sq.metres. It also now has the passage right through to the rue des Rosiers. Another of the towers of the Philippe Auguste wall has been re-discovered and renovated. The tower was buried under trees and bushes and only the fact of chopping these down to enlarge the pathways and garden permitted the discovery, that everyone at the the City Hall had forgotten about. When I was there in Sept. 2014 they were still working on it but it should be finished soon.
St Paul is the nearest metro.
Constructed between 1500 and 1550 St Merri is known as the church that has never closed its doors to any one. Even during the recent renovation work on the façade it remained open to anyone. On the corner of rue St Martin and rue de la Verrerie it has stood in what was the centre of Paris' red-light district and gave shelter to many a working-girl that had nowhere to go or had been thrown out by her pimp for not earning enough.
The façade has finally been renovated due to the danger from falling stones and the City Hall had to do something. But the church is run down and really needs its roof doing before touching the inside.
It also has the distinction of having Paris' oldest bell dating from 1331 and saved from a previous chapel that stood here. Many of the paintings were destroyed during the Revolution, but no-one touched the bell.
When I was here last the main entrance on rue St Martin was closed as the renovation work was not quite finished so you have to go down the side to 76 rue de la Verrerie.
Hotel de Ville is the closest metro.
Not for the squeamish, the shopfront of Julien Aurouze.Full of dead stuffed rats and other unwholesome pests. The shop has been here since 1872, now being run by the original owners great-grandchildren, coinciding with the need for pest control in Les Halles market just yards away, along with the dozens of restaurants in the area. Although the market has now moved to Rungis near Orly airport, the shop is still doing a roaring trade as new foundations are dug up practically every day, so plenty of the beasties are still coming to the surface and need to be brought under control. Worth a look even if you don't need their services.
Chatelet is the closest metro.
Tucked away in the S-W corner of place Vendome is the Cour Vendome, a luxury passage notable for its lack of windows with something in. Being part of the Hotel Lebas de Montargis it held the HQ of the Club de l'Entresol, a private club in the early 1700's before being banned by the clergy.
At the rue St Honoré end Mme Geoffrin a rich bourgeoise held a famous literary club until she died in 1777, visited by Marivaux and foreign celebrities like the Polish Prince Poniatowski.
Tuileries is the nearest metro.
This is the third of the "Edicule Guimard" of the Art-Nouveau type still standing after Porte Dauphine and Abbesses. Whilst the others are originals, the Abbesses one being deplaced from Hotel de Ville, this one was reconstructed identically to the original by the RATP in 2000. Built with a "v" shaped glass roof and open sides and three posts to hold the roof it resembles the one at Abbesses.
Obviously Chatelet is the closest metro (if you come out the right exit.)
Very small dead-ended passage that originally went right through to the rue de Rivoli with nothing much of interest here apart from the luxury shops, boutiques and art galleries, although there is this ugly fountain that is pretty dated.
Entrance is at 91 rue St Honoré.
Louvre-Rivoli is the nearest metro
After coming through the seemingly artificial light of the Galerie Vivienne we come out onto this lovely quiet little place. On one side Notre Dame des Victoires, started by Louis XIII in 1629, not finished but inaugurated in 1666 and finally terminated in 1740. Opposite at no 8 but originally at no 6 where a statue of Mary is still in a niche, is the Maison Bleue where you can buy all religious articles. On the 3rd side there is an ordinary looking building but of sinister memory. It is the building from which the Police for the Jewish question held their own inquisition for the Anti-Jewish Vichy regime of France during WW II.
On the corner of the place is the tiny street "rue Vide-Gousset", which literally means "Empty-Pockets", the theory for the name being that there had been lots of muggings and robberies going on here. Next it is "rue du Mail", Mail being a form of croquet played in the 17th c and probably played here. Franz Liszt lived at no 13 on and off during 50-odd years.
Bourse and Sentier are the closest metros.
Owned by a certain Maurice Duplay, this house was the residence of Maximilien Robespierre, one of the great movers of the French Revolution, but also the instigator of the "Terreur". A noted speaker Robespierre was friends with Danton and Desmoulins, both of whom lost their heads despite his "friendship". After the fall of the King he made his way up to become one of the leading members of the new Parliament. After his entry into the "Comité du Salut Public" or the Revolutionary Committee he became known as the "Incorrupible". After becoming President of the Committee and embracing the "Cult of the Supreme Being" he also finished on the guillotine in July 1794 when the people and Committee had had enough of his dictatorial tendencies.
Concorde is the closest metro.