Stories of Line 12, Metro de Paris

After having worked in Paris, and living nearby for 8 years, I am amaze at the number of people coming from places where there is no subway.metro:tube and gladly jump in into the Paris metroand rave about it back home. Like it was a tourist attractions; well I like to tell some historical stories of the Paris metro, (check back in the blog for some other stories written before). I will try to write a bit on each line ,sort of like an historical anecdote rather than photos, maybe one if can find it. The story is the important thing here.

Paris has 14 metro lines so far, and it was not the first one to have one. It all started with the idea of hosting the Universal Expo of 1900, so to be ready work on the metro began in 1897. Tonite I will talk about line 12 of the Metro de Paris.

It has 13,8 kms of tracks, traverse the city from north to southwest; the first track opened in 1910 from Porte de Versailles to Notre Dame-de-Lorette.  There is a tunnel underneath Montmartre traversing the gypsun rocks to go to Jules Joffrin in 1912. The stations of Abbesses and Lamarck-Caulaincourt are 36 and 25 meters deep respectively.

We begin this rich ride at Abbesses,  opened in 1912, with 36 meters deep, and a nice stair in a helicoidale form, the name comes from the abbey from 1133AD Dames de Montmartre. It had 45 abbesses until the revolution stop all, the only remains of the times is the church of St Pierre. The main sight thus is the famous and magnificent Basilique du Sacré-Coeur,main entrance 35 rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre; started built in 1877 and done 40 years later; with a wonderful view of the city of Paris below it.  The church is 94 meters high, a crypt covers all its superficie,and the dome has the biggest  mosaics tiles in the world with a great bell call “savoyarde”. To reach the dome you need 237 steps up. Another imposing church and less known, is the Eglise Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre at 18 rue des Abbesses, named by the locals Notre Dame des briques or bricks; Built between 1894 and 1904. The first church to be build with solid wire cement. The colorful but by now highly touristic Place du Tertre, going down to the place des Abbesses, full of characters there. You move over to the Bateau-Lavoir, at 13 place Emile Goudeau, the fauvism and cubism at its greatest glory in painting is here. You have the nice théatre des Abbesses, done in 1996, to complement the one in Chatelet at 31 rue des Abbesses. HAve a drink at Le Saint-Jean,23 rue des Abbesses. Have a meal at the historic La Pomponnette, 42 rue Lepic, It is here that Poulbot starts the cry for the Republic of Montmartre, still held by the descendant of the original owner Arthur Delcroix, French cuisine with a twist. You can enjoy Chez Eugéne, right in the pl du Tertre as well. We continue to Pigalle, opened in 1902; after the famous sculptur of Madame de Pompadour-Pigalle. You see here the Cité du Midi, at 48 blvd de Clichy,quiet provincial heavens in a fast pace area,see the old baths of pigalle at No 12. Walk by avenue Frochot, with a huge grill door, nice homes, where Django Rheinhardt, Toulouse-Latrec, Renoir,,you do it too. For parties the mythical Le Bus Palladium, 6 rue Fontaine, from 1960, and the chic La Fourmi, 74 rue des Martyrs. Plenty to see other than the famous sex shops around here.

We continue our journey to Saint-Georges, opened in 1911. Walk around the lovely place Saint Georges,great architecture, and Sand and Chopin met Bizet in the Square Orléans.At no 27 the politicians were arrested at the hotel Thiers while a coup d’Etat of Napoleon III in 1851. Not far from here Truffaut does the Le Dernier Métro in the little theater high up in rue Saint Georges. See the cié Malesherbes, near ave Frochot , here at No 5 lived Ludovic Lepic the initiator of the impressionists. Have a glass and see the world at Le Bergerac,13 rue Notre Dame de la Lorette. See the unique Musée de la vie Romantique to see the romantic life as per George Sand, Lamartine,and Delacroix,at 16 rue Chaptal. Move over to our next stop at Trinité-D’Estienne D’Orves, one of my romantic areas in Paris, the station was opened in 1910 in reference to the church. Here the heroes of the French resistance established the first radio communication between France and London. The man was Count Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves, betrayed captured by the nazis, transfer to Berlin, the nazi tribunal was so impress b his bravery,that ask for his grace to hitler, never mind he was shot in firing squad execution at the Mont Valérien (Suresnes dept 92) on August 29th, 1941. You must see the church of église de la Trinité, built in 1861, very nice at place d’Estienne d’Orves. have a nice drink and view the world at Café du Mogador, 57 Chaussée d’Antin? Walk the Rue de la Tour des Dames, quartier or district of intellectuals, such as No 1 Mademoiselle Mars, No 3 mademoiselle Duchesnoir, friend of Victor Hugo. See the wonderful Musée Gustave-Moreau, created while he was still alive, by the master of Matisse and influential of André Breton,painting of its best, see at 14 rue de La Rochefoucauld. Go see the théatre Mogador, at 25 rue de Mogador built in 1913, as a london music hall imitation, named Palace Theatre, change name in 1919 the old name of the city of Essauoira in Morocco and with the opening presence of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. www.mogador.net

We are now at my favorite train station in Paris, because to go to work in Paris went by it for five years straight. Saint Lazare, opened in  1904,and still one of the stations the most traveled in the Paris metro system. You can see the the sculpture L’Heure pour tous by Arman at the cours de Havre. The station took its name from the rue Saint Lazare and the train stationi SNCF. It is the second busiest train station in Europe!!! the hall of the salle des pas perdu dates from 1854. It is undergoing great renovations now with a nice gallery of stores including a schedule come back of Burger King,and a Virgin megastore. You come to see a wonderful monument ,Chapelle expiatoire at 29 rue Pasquier, built in 1861 at the same spot where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette before been transfer to the Basilique de Saint Denis in 1815. The chapel was covered by the personal funds of Louis XVIII The name expiatoire was because it was never use as a chapel, just remembrance. The altar is the precise spot of the remains of Louis XVI were found. Chateaubriand call it the “possibly the best remarcable monument in Paris”. You see and I past by every day the Lycée Condorcet, built in 1803,It was once named after Bonaparte, then Bourbon, Fontanes, and finally Condorcet. A prestigious high school or lycée of France, some of its disciples were Marcel Proust and Alexandre Dumas pére,, others were Desjardins, Jaurés, Mallarmé, Merleau-Ponty,Pagnol, Poulenc,and Sartre. it is at 8 rue du Havre. You come for a drink and great seafood at Brasserie Mollard, 115 rue Saint Lazare, go shopping at CC du Passage du Havre, two levels and FNAC, you see the wonderful cinema Les Cinq Caumartin, from 1939 at 101 rue Saint Lazare, see the Casino de Paris,16 rue de Clichy, done in 1730 by duke of Richelieu,built for his amusement the folie Richelieu,  then a place of spectacles in 1811, a skating ring was built ,the church de la Trinité was moved a bit further by Haussmann, in 1880 the Palace Théatre was done, then in WWI, the Casino took its place,and by 1930, the director offered Josephine Baker gives a leopard as gift name Chiquita,she sings here, many memories here. You see the church Saint Louis d’Antin at 63 rue Caumartin, at the request of Louis XVI in 1782, the church was done, stop service during the revolution, came back to the cult in 1795, and parish church in 1802.

We move across river to the Assemblée Nationale , opened in 1910, until 1989 it was name Chambre des Députées.One of the places of government in France, the house of representatives equivalent if can do some comparaisons. The nice bridge I cross all the time in my car, Pont de la Concorde linking the quai des Tuileries to Orsay, done with the stones from the Bastille in 1791. You see the wonderful Palais Bourbon, annexed, guarded by the Republican guards, and the seat of the govt since 1798, itself built in 1726, dressed with corinthians columns in 1806, to replica the church of the Madeleine that faces it across the Seine, see the palais Bourbon at 126 rue de l’Université and 33 quai d’Orsay. See the wonderful Hotel de Brienne, at 14 rue Saint Dominique, built in the 17C houses today the Ministry of Defense. It was once the home of the mother of Napoleon I, purchase by the State in 1817. Georges Clemenceau prepares victory in WWI here from 1917,and De Gaulle makes two grand speeches from here in 1940, and from 1944-1946 See the Basilique Saint Clotilde, 23bis rue Las Cases, done in 1856,and church since 1857, given title of Basilica by Pope Leon XIII on the occasion of the 1900 years of CLovis baptisme to honor his wife Clotilde. King Clovis of the Francs ,as in France get it, and wife was wisigoth and Christian who converted him for the battle of his life in 496AD, then all French kings are crown at same spot Reims cathedral. Have a glass at Le Concorde, 239 blvd Saint Germain, see if you are poet at Club des Poétes, 30 rue de Bourgogne founded in 1961, www.poesie.net  Have a nice meal at Chez Francoise, aerogarde Air France des Invalides, an institution since 1949, with live jazz on Saturday evenings. And of course, the Tante Marguerite, 5 rue de Bourgogne, great food by the late chef Bernard Loiseau, his staff continues the tradition.

We reach Solférino, opened in 1910; For a great battle in Solferino , Lombardie Italy in 1859 then agains the Austrians, this huge battle of many dead 40 000 then French troop led by Napoleon III beat theAustrain emperor Franzs- Joseph, from this a man Henri Durant a Swiss, established the Red Cross with its first convention in Geneva in 1864. He receives the Nobel Peace Prize n 1901 before his death in 1910. Here of course, you see the monumental Musée d’Orsay, 62 rue de LIlle, an old train station destroyed by the communards in 1871, survive possible destruction in 1970,and save into the museum we see today. Across you see the Musée de la Legion d’Honneur, 2 rue de la Légion d’Honneur, it was this building called the Palace of Siam done in 1782, burned by the communards again,,,The American Thomas Jefferson was one of its most admirers; the museum houses the souvenirs of Napoleon that created it in 1802. Other beauty nearby is the Hotel de Beauharnais, 78 rue de LIlle, first stone done in 1713, attached to the other hotel de Seignelay, it was the home of the son of Joséphine ,wife of Napoleon I, and decorated by her. It is one of the best decoration examples of Napoleon I Egyptian campaign. The prince sold the hotel to the Prussian delegation in 1817,and today its the embassy of Germany in Paris. The gorgeous and historical La Maison de l’Amérique Latine, 217 blvd Saint Germain, with its French gardens, and wonderful Latin Americans specialties, great food indeed. The other jewel La Maison des Polytechniciens -Restaurant Le Poulpry, where my oldest son had an internship cook period; 12 rue de Poitiers, just lovely surroundings real Paris.

Move over to Rue du Bac,  opened in 1910, named Motte, then renovated in 1984. In 1550, a long boat call a bac was used to descend to the Seine here, now its the quai Voltaire. It serves for the c onstruction of the palais des Tuileries in 1579. See here the Prime Minister’ home at Hôtel Matignon, 57 rue de Varenne, built in 1722; with an interior park of 3 hectares done in 1902. See the Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons at 57-59 rue de Grenelle it once provided water to Paris. Voltaire critic the size of the fountain,and wasteful funds in 1739. See the wonderful Hotel de Roquelaure, 246 blvd Saint Germain, the seat of the ministry of ecology etc, built in 1724, with a beautiful room of shells! See the uniquely nice, church or Eglise Saint Thomas d’Aquin or St Thomas Aquinas at place Saint Thomas d’Aquin, started construction in 1682, finished in 1769. In 1791 it was the parish church and place under his orders, before it was name church of Saint Dominique. See the unique museum of glass of musée de Verre, 31 rue Saint Guillaume, only visited upon previous request, great architecture with metal and glass.  See the Musée des Lettres et des Manuscrits, at 222 blvd Saint Germain, built in 1608,you have the letter done by Louis XVI to all French before departing to escape t Varenne.  You see the ball of Moulins, from the name fo the city, that during the war in 1870 were not getting letters, they put like 700 inside a canon ballast and put afloat on the river ,the last was founded in 1980! Another nice museum, Musée Maillol, 61 rue de Grenelle, showing the painting and sculptures of Maillol,and other such as  Gauguin, Bonnard, Redon,Kandisky,and Poliakoff. For delicious chocolates and French come to Maison de Chocolats Debauve et Gallais, 30 rue des Saint-Péres, the pharmacist of Louis XVI was Sulpice Debauve,he finally opened the store with the help of his nephew in 1800,and became the supplier to  Louis XVIII,Charles X, and Louis Philippe. pure delight. And for exotique Paris see the store Deyrolle Taxidermiste, 46 rue du Bac, stuff animals since 1931;weird.

We move on to Rennes,  It was an old phantom station closed since 1939,and finally reopened in 1968. until 2004 its hours were reduced to closing by 20h,Sundays,and Holidays. Now its as normal as any other station. See here the Chapelle Saint Joseph des Carmes, 70 rue de Vaugiraud, done in 1620, it served as prison during the revolution,and known massacres of Sept 1792, when 116 priests were killed. The Chapel today is part of the Institut Catholique. Walk the wonderful Rue du Cherche-Midi, a solar cadran was at the origin this old Roman road was call Chasse Midi, later renamed to Chemin de Vaugiraud in 1388! At no 40 you see statue of count or comte de Rochambeau, who was at the head of French troops helping the American rebels gained independance from England and aide in the American victory at Yorktown. at no 44, the home of Garat, the succesor of Danton at the ministry of justice, and the one who announced the arrest of Louis XVI. At no 47, the couple Paul and Laura Lafargue, the daughter of Karl Marx lived. The two took their life in 1911, to avoide the arrival of old age…at no 85 and 87, the hotel du Petit-Montmorency, decorated with macaroons from 1743,the home and shop of painter Ernest Hébert, converted into museum in 1933.Here my culinary tastes has taken me to La Maison du Jardin at 27 rue de Vaugiraud, near the jardin du Luxembourg, great French food.

And we end our ride at Notre-Dame-des-Champs, opened too in 1910, named after the church in blvd Montparnasse,and the underground entry to the greens of the Jardin du Luxembourg or as locals call it “luco” . Of course, we start to see the Jardin du Luxembourg, done in 1617 for Marie de Médicis.The great Le Nôtre had its hands on the gardens from 1635; great decorations of nature all over, main entrances by Place Edmond Rostand, rue Guynemer, and rue Vaugiraud. Inside see the Palais du Sénat or the French govt Senate; the building was done in 1612, it has been a royal palace, prison, then national palace in 1792, many famous spent prison here such as Danton, Fabre d’Eglatine and David. We need to wait to 1814 for Gisors to built the semi circle chairs that is part of the Senate today. You see around here the unique Musée Zadkine, 110bis rue d’Assas, born in 1890 in Russia,and frequent the Montparnasse of the years 1910, In 1981 he gives all his properties and creations so that a museum be done by his wife. See the funny Théatre des Marionnettes, inside the jardin too, great for children since 1933 by the great Guignol. See outside the Le Lucernaire, 53 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, theater, art expo hall, photo, library very nice events. Have a meal at Le Timbre or the stamp, 3 rue Saint Beuve, small like a stamp but delicious French food but the chef is English! Have a drink at Cafe Pasteur, 35 blvd Pasteur, and Café du rond point Vaugirard, 198 rue Convention.

Enjoy the 12!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: