Archive for November 6th, 2018

November 6, 2018

Another dandy, Place des Victoires,Paris!

Well here I am got tangled up in the streets of Paris syndrome for a while. So many of them that are just gorgeous, and so little written on them. I am trying ok. My walks are eternal ever since stopped by the city in 1972 on a visit from Madrid where I was living at the time. It has continued since getting to know my late wife Martine in 1990, and then moving permanently to France in 2003 (already French since 2000).  The knowledge of history,architecture, and traditions is huge here and I am so lucky to come in contact with it, thanks to my dear late wife Martine.

Let me tell you about another dandy square in my eternal Paris. The Place des Victoires is especially, we can say an off the beaten path square but so much punch into it and especially if you are into high fashions. Let me tell you a bit more on the history side I like.

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The Place des Victoires or victories dedicated to king Louis XIV, it is, with Place des Vosges, Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde, one of the four Parisian Royal squares. It is located a short distance from the Palais Royal and straddling the border between the 1éme and the 2éme arrondissement. The rue Croix des Petites Champs takes you to the Louvre museum and the rue de Rivoli..

This is a circular square, about 80 meters in diameter. Starting from the north, and clockwise, the square gives access to the following streets on the North: Rue Vide-Gusset, the only street that does not leave the square in the axis of its radius; Northeast: Rue Aboukir; East-southeast: Rue Étienne-Marcel; South-southwest: Rue de la Croix-des-Petites-Champs; South-West: Rue Catinat; and West-northwest: Rue La Feuillade.

The square is devoted to the military victories of king Louis XIV. The square is temporarily renamed Place of Victories-National in 1792. The creation of the square is traditionally attributed to the initiative of the Marshal of the Feuillade and the town of Paris, but was undoubtedly initiated by the Bâtiments du roi (buildings of the king). Anyway, in order to erect a statue to the glory of the Ssvereign, the Feuillade bought the Hotel de la Ferté-Senneterre which was between the old Paris and the newly-built up district of Richelieu and had   the hotel demolished. The statue was inaugurated only a year later and the frame was completed after the sculpture.

However, the architect’s project was not a perfectly circular square. On about a fifth, the circle was interrupted by the string of a bow, in the middle of which was the street of the rue des Fosses-Montmartre, today rue Aboukir. A traffic lane took this quasi-tangent, formed by the rue Vide-Gousset and Rue du Reposoir. Two other streets end up in the square: rue de La Feuillade in the north-west and rue de la Croix-des-Petites-Champs in the southwest. None of these three streets being in the prolongation of each other, all the prospects culminated in the statue of the king, in a space enclosed by the buildings. The piercing of the rue Étienne-Marcel in the middle of the 19C changed the plan of the square: it is now crossed by part in the north-west/southeast axis and the Rue du Reposoir no longer extends the street rue Vide-Gousset. The arcades have now been replaced by shops, mostly luxury ready-to-wear. During the three glorious days, the way was the theater of confrontation between the insurgents and the troops.

From its creation to the present day, the center of the square welcomed four successive monuments, including three statues: 1686-1792: Bronze statue on foot of Louis XIV; 1792-1810: Wooden pyramid; 1810-1822: Statue of General Desaix; And since 1822: equestrian statue of Louis XIV.

The original statue represented Louis XIV on foot. The king was figured in a coronation suit, stomping on a Cerberus, representing the defeated Quadruple Alliance. Its base included four bronze characters, allegorically representing   the nations defeated by Louis XIV and a different feeling (resignation, dejection, anger and hope), Bas-relief and rave inscriptions on The King’s military glory after the signing of the Nijmegen Treaty. These decorative elements are now exhibited in the Puget Court of the Louvre Museum. The inauguration took place on March 28, 1686; The set, including a pedestal, was then 12 meters high ,four lanterns, which were located at the four corners of the square, burning permanently to illuminate the statue. The buildings consisted of three columns of variegated marble supporting a large faunal of navy placed on a base of red marble. Between the columns, six bronze medallions with a diameter of 77 cm were suspended. In 1699, the lanterns were extinguished and in 1718 the ensemble was dismantled. Four of the columns are found at the high altar of the Cathedral of Sens. The medallions were then dispersed, only a few have reached us and are now presented at the Louvre Museum.

In 1792, the statue of Louis XIV was taken down by the revolutionaries. It was melted to produce cannons and replaced by a wooden pyramid bearing the names of the citizens who died on the day of August 10, 1792. The King’s walking statue was framed at the foot of the base of four large captives; these were removed in 1790 and transported to the courtyard of the Louvre. After being moved in the course of the century , they are currently in the Puget courtyard of the Louvre museum. King Louis XVIII will order a new equestrian statue of Louis XIV , representing the king in a Roman Emperor’s outfit, riding a prancing horse. The white marble pedestal will receive two reliefs representing the passage of the Rhine and the institution of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis. This was inaugurated on 15 August 1822. For the rider’s and the horse’s attitude, the sculptor was inspired by the famous bronze rider of Falconet, representing the Tsar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. The sculpture was restored in 2005.

According to the legend, Napoleon I gave the pyramid wood to the guard corps, which would have used it to burned it for heat.   The emperor inaugurated the monument on August 15, 1810, national and religious day, after ten years of the work of an ageing Dejoux. The statue was 1,5 meters high, on a six-meter pedestal. Desaix’s arm was the southeast, that is to say both Italy and Egypt, the two campaigns in which he was succesful. A pink granite obelisk was added to the composition. The nudity created a controversy and the statue was hidden behind a wooden palisade after a month, then definitively removed from the square in 1814. Its bronze was later recast to make the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf bridge.

The buildings of the square are old mansions or have been built as such:

Odd side:: No. 1: Hotel Charlemagne12; No. 1a: Hotel de Montplanque; No. 3: Hotel de Soyecourt; No. 5: Hotel Bauyn de Pereuse, n ° 7: Location of the hotel where the financier Samuel Bernard died, in 1739, and No. 9: Hotel de l’Hôpital. Even side: No. 2: Hôtel Bergeret de Grancourt; No. 4: Hôtel Bergeret de Talmont; No. 4bis: Hotel de Metz de Rosnay; No. 6: Hotel de Prévenchères; No. 8: Hotel Pelle de Montaleau, No. 10: Hotel Gigault de La Salle and No. 12: Hotel Cornette

Today, the Place des Victoires has become the place of choice for haute couture boutiques. And a great place to have a walk indeed in my eternal Paris.

There is a bit more in the Paris tourist office here: Tourist office of Paris on the Place des Victoires

Again , another marvelous area to walk and see and be seen in Paris, very chic indeed,cache. Hope you try it and enjoy it at the Place des Victoires.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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November 6, 2018

Place Victor Hugo, Paris!

SO on a cold night in my beloved Morbihan breton, I like to go for a short post on a wonderful neighborhood in a splendid district of my eternal Paris. I seldom just write on streets, and there are some major ones here , very popular, even wrote on one or two of those,but there are so many corners of my lovely Paris seldom mentioned, hardly ever visited and simply not remembered. And they should be look into closer.

I have come to eat ,and visit Paris and sightseeing on many years by this street and passed by this wonderful square always; it is one of my sentimental memories of my Paris, that I like to tell you today.

This is the title of course, Place Victor Hugo in the neighborhood of the plains of Passy and the district 16 of Paris. And passing this wonderful square, all along I came on the Avenue de Victor Hugo!

The square or Place Victor-Hugo is located in the 16éme arrondissement . It is at the meeting of the Avenue Raymond-Poincaré, Avenue Victor-Hugo, Avenue Bugeaud and Rue Copernicus, Rue Boissière, Rue Mesnil, and rue Sontay, and Rue Leonardo-de-Vinci.   The square is served by the metro station Victo Hugo of line 2. Also , the RATP bus 52 passes by here on the line Parc de Saint-Cloud to the Opéra passing by the towns of Saint-Cloud, Boulogne-Billancourt,and Paris. Also, RATP bus 82 on the line Hôpital Americain in Neuilly sur Seine to the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.

A bit of history I like tell us that the square was in the center of the subdivision of the plain of Passy created in 1825 on a rural territory little developed on the old town of Passy between the Avenue de Neuilly, (current Avenue de la Grande Armée) in the north , the exterior boulevard of the enclosure of the Fermiers Généraux (General Farmers), present Avenue Kléber in the east, the former faisanderie of the Château de la Muette that stretched between the path of the little Park, current rue Pergolései, rue Spontini, and rue Mignard and the Bois de Boulogne to the West, and the rue de Longchamp to the south.

The Place Victor Hugo was called place de Rond-point Charles-X of the date of its creation in 1825 to honor the monarch at the time, and was renamed successively after the fall of Charles X, Place Rond-point de Saint-Cloud, Place Rond-point de la Plaine-de-Passy, Place de l’Hippodrome, then Place Eylau in the Second Empire before taking the name of Place Victor-Hugo following the decision of the city Council of Paris taken the very day of the death of Victor Hugo.

And in 1856, there was an Hippodrome (horse racecourse) opening here at the current spot of the Place Victor Hugo that was called at the time Place Rond-point de la Plaine-de-Passy. Its entrance was located on Avenue de la Dauphine (today Avenue Bugeaud). This lasted until the night of 29 to 30 September 1869, when the Hippodrome, built of wood, is completely destroyed by a huge fire.

The neighborhood is one of the first to benefit from 1900 of a Metro service. The station Victor Hugo opened on December 3, 1900 on the stretch of the line limited at the time to the segment Etoile-porte-Dauphine.

In the center of the square there rose a monument celebrating Victor Hugo, inaugurated in 1902 for the centenary of his birth. This group carved in bronze on a stone base, decorated with four bas-reliefs. The bronze part is requisitioned and melted to produce weapons in 1943 under the Nazis occupation. The bas-reliefs of the base have been saved: one is now at the Museum of Fine Arts of Calais and the other three in Veules-les-Roses. Since 1964, a large fountain has taken its place. The fountain is a circular stone basin with in its center three powerful jets of water that rise above three imposing vases covered with glass crystals. It is nowadays functional. See it below picture.

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Around this square you will find interesting points such as

Church of Saint-Honoré-d’Eylau . The Church was built in 1855. On September 2, 1867, a hundred people attended the funeral of the poet Charles Baudelaire. On 13 May 1871, during the commune of Paris of 1871, the Church was transformed into the barracks of the National Guard under the name of Saint-Honoré-d’Eylau Barracks. This Church is home to the nuns of Bethlehem. More info : https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71162/%C3%89glise-Saint-Honor%C3%A9-d%27Eylau

At No. 10 Place Victor Hugo, there is the building where Maurice Schumann was born. He had joined General de Gaulle in London from June 1940, and became the spokesman for Free France. He is the voice on Radio London throughout the conflict. A loyal Gaullist, Christian Democrat and convinced European, he was one of the founders of the popular Republican movement, of which he was the first president. A member of the North for thirty years and then a senator for fifteen years, he was appointed Minister of State in the governments of Georges Pompidou several times and concluded his government career as Minister for Foreign Affairs (1969-1973). He was elected to the French Academy in 1974. More on him at the Order of the Liberation official webpage: https://www.ordredelaliberation.fr/fr/les-compagnons/893/maurice-schumann

In addition, one of my access to Paris while living in Versailles was the Avenue Victor Hugo entering on the Porte de la Muette. This avenue will take you through the place Victor Hugo . Victor Hugo lived the last years of his life in a hotel on the avenue which, since 1881, bore his name, at No. 50, and with the change in numeration in Paris it is now today   No. 124. The avenue Victor Hugo begins at the place Charles-de-Gaulle and ends at the place Tattegrain (Avenue Henri-Martin). It is one of twelve avenues starting from the Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) and the longest after the avenue of the Champs-Elysées. It is located between Avenue Foch and Avenue Kléber on the hill of Chaillot.

And of course, do not forget to have a coffee while doing your walks at the wonderful Café Victor Hugo on the square ,see it on picture above. More here: Café Victor Hugo Paris

There you walking and glancing of the architecture and the bits of things to know like above is wonderful; do walk in Paris is glorious and good for your health ::) Hope you enjoy the short post ….

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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