Archive for January 17th, 2013

January 17, 2013

Some news from France LXXXXV

Well now the winter is not only here but the snow is coming;…already in some parts of France especially the east and southeast, here in the northwest it is announced freezing icy roads tomorrow by the Meteo service ok…

One of the news is that Germany is getting back the gold it kept in the Bank of France ,374 tons of it.  In the 1950 fear of an invasion from the Soviet Union ,they decided to spread their gold around with most of it in the USA and other portions in England and then France. Just in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Franco-German friendship agreement. The depart will be done over five years for security reasons lol!!!

The petite Ceinture or little beltway around Paris of railroad tracks is going to be for some future use now.  32 km running parallel to the  boulevards des Maréchaux, the problems of keeping it as green basin around Paris or making it use for transports more efficients; THe local citizen will have the opportunity to express their opinion to the mayor’s office of Paris until February 14 with a special webpage for it, here

And who wants to see the sewers of Paris, I admit ,saw it once, and thats it. However, it is very popular and folks still ask me about them and discussion on travel forums is lively.  The égouts de Paris, came in their actual self in the 19C alongside the great works going on by Baron Haussmann. This network of water evacuation is the work of Engineer  Belgrand.  They have a total of 2100 kms!!, and takes the treated waters of the sewers of Paris to the treatment plant of Achère in the Yvelines dept 78 and then to the river  Seine. You get there by Quai d’Orsay Kiosque face au 93 with metro Alma Marceau line 9, admission is 4,30€. info webpage

Another eerie site where I have been again once, is way underground in the catacombs of Paris or The Catacombes de Paris. Here, the bones of Parisiens taken from cementaries at the 18C found their place. It is made up of many galleries or ways, you can only visit some of them.The visit is done at daytime with a guide on the best maintained galleries. Part of the visit is done amongst human bones! Entrance is at 1 avenue du Colonel Henri-Rol-Tanguy , Paris 14.  You get here on the metro Denfert Rochereau lines 4 and 6 or RER Denfert Rochereau B; admission is 8€;  webpage However, keep an eye on the site, as they are now close and no dates as when they will be available.

Update on the Catacombes !!! It is having problems and close to the public again.  First it was the lights for the 2KM of galleries went out, last november, the ventilation system failed, and it was just put in there in 1995!. THe city has ordered tests of air quality for all visitors and employees. Last september it was some damage cranes holding the ceilings that made the place close too. Those problems still going on, and the question has been raised if the place need permanent closing!!! The good of this is that the musée Carnavalet of the city of Paris has been able to open more rooms because of the personnel available from the catacombes! profiter!

One historical moment and place to see is the Chapelle Expiatoire, this chapel built in the 19C in memory of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on the exact site whre their bodies were buried after been executed on the guillotine. It is neo classic architecture in the center of the plaza or square Louis XVI ,that is, 29 rue Pasquier, metro Havre – Caumartin lines 3/7/8/9/12/13/14. Admission is 5,50€  open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 13h-17h (closed Nov 1 and 11, Dec 25, Jan 1 and May 1, right now it is close so check here if available, +33 (0)

Some of my favorites passages in Paris that I will go by as in the city now are, Galerie Véro-Dodat,19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, metro Louvre Palais Royal . Open in 1826, the gallerie is associated to  Véro and Dodat allowing to connect the  Palais Royal ,and the business quarter of the Halles.  It is classic decoration with marble and similar stores fronts, very original. And Galeries Vivienne et Colbert, by rue Vivienne . Open in 1823 and 1826 each, these commercial galleries are of original architecture of the Restoration period.  Its frequency was less and less starting from the period of the Second Empire and abandoned early on the 20C. They have been restored from the 1980’s with new stores and  salons de thé. metro Bourse. Passage Choiseul, 44 rue des Petits-Champs on metro Quatre-Septembre, line 3.  It is close to the  théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, and open to the public in  1827.  The passage Choiseul is one of the longest in Paris, and very well lit. The stores have a floor and in between floor of shops. Passage Verdeau,6 rue de la Grange-Batelière ,metro  Richelieu – Drouot lines 8 and 9. One of thet last ones done, it was built in the same basis as the Passage  Jouffroy.  Passage Panorama and Jouffroy, at Boulevard Montmartre ,metro Richelieu – Drouot lines 8 and 9.  The passage des Panoramas  is one of the oldest covered passages in Paris. originally they were two rotondas where  James Thayer  show his  panoramas. AFter great success he decided to link by a passage in  1799 with one full of stores of luxe. Even with the disappereances of  panoramas in 1831, the passage did not lose popularity around the Grands Boulevards full of theaters of grand public. It is compose of one large gallery and five annexes.  The passage Jouffroy  is one of the newer covered passages of Paris, opening in  1847.  It is at the axe of the passage des Panoramas ,and its metal structure gave reasons as to its success even today. It houses shops and a gallery connecting to the museum of wax or  Musée Grévin.

Right at my Versailles ,there is the expo Versailles in the antiquity, or Versailles et l’Antique running to March 13 2013.  It has been said that Versailles is like a New Rome, the castle constantly gives reference to the antiquity and mythology, and the taste for the many monarchs that lived there show in the impressive collection inside.  All the powers and powerful of the 17C wanted it, however, more than any it was king Louis XVI who went out to acquire or copy all the glory of Rome.  Versailles is therefore, a real sanctuary of the antique arts.

Until we read again ,cheers and get ready for the weekend, life is beautiful. La vie est belle mes amis.

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