Archive for December 2nd, 2018

December 2, 2018

Maison des Musiciens Italiens , Versailles!

So back to my beloved and former home of Versailles. In my new neck of the woods of the Morbihan breton it is sunny mild 9C or about 50F and not raining so nice to be like that for the weekend.  In my eternal Paris is a bit more cloudy with about the same 10C or 51F roughly.

As I indulge myself in my beautiful royal town of Versailles and try my best to take you away from the palace/museum (hard to do I know) but there in a smallish town there are so much punch as far as history, architecture and traditions to account for a lot more than what the general visiting public give to the town. Let me tell you about the house of the Italian musicians in a nice area of Versailles.

The Maison des Musiciens Italiens or House of the Italians musicians in Versailles,  is a house of rocaille rock  style, erected in 1752 at No 15 rue Champ-Lagarde in Versailles by Jacques Hardouin-Mansart , for the Countess of Argenson  separate wife of the count of Argenson. It is since 1986 the seat of the Union Compagnonnique des Compagnons du tour de France des devoirs unis (or something like the  Union of the Companions of the United Tour de France , that restores ancient buildings according to tradition) It is open all year round but for visits is on previous reservation only.

Versailles

Versailles

A bit of history I like

Unlike a legend conveyed since the 19C, the present house is not the house originally created by the Italian castrates of Louis XIV. It is indeed the pleasure House of the Countess of Argenson erected at the site of the primitive house of the castrati, as evidenced by various deeds of property as well as documents recently discovered. Anyway, it is a wonderful house and museum to visit in the off the beaten path of my beloved Versailles.

The house in the period under king Louis XIV tells us that between 1686-1691 , the Italian castrato of the Chapel of the King, acquired several pieces of land in Montreuil, village located then near Versailles (today one of its districts, and where many nobles lived to be away from the hassles of the court near the Palace including many who later were kings like Louis XVIII(count of Artois) and Charles X( count of Provence). In 1691, an ordinary officer of the King’s music chamber, gave as gift his nearby music pavilion, a pavilion that served as an embryo for the future house. This pavilion was then composed of a circular lounge covered, inside, a dome and tiles on the outside, open of 3 crossing and a window-door.  In 1708, this pavilion was increased by two lateral wings while the estate was fenced with walls. That same year, the property was bequeath  to the brothers and friends of the music guild, who had participated in its constitution.

The house under the reign of king Louis XV ,after the main owners of the music guild passed away in 1726, 1733 and 1740, the house  remained in the hands of the last two members Carli and Ridolfi, the last to come. They ceded the property in 1748 and again the house was ceded in 1751 to Anne Larcher, Countess of Argenson, the wife of Louis XV’s minister of war. The Countess of Argenson decided to have the pavilion fully rebuilt to her liking. For this purpose, it designated the architect Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne, who erected the parish of Saint-Louis de Versailles (completed in 1754). Above all, he erected for the son of the Countess, the Marquis de Voyer, the château of Asnières, located on the edge of the Seine river in the town of Asniéres.. It was on the advice of the marquis, a man of taste, that the Countess made a choice of Mansart. You will also observe that the staples arranged above the bays of the house are the conforming copies of another contemporary realization of Mansart: The Château de Jossigny (1753, in town of Jossigny dept 77 Seine-et-Marne). This House was for the Countess, her residence in Versailles at the same time as her play house, according to the expression of the time, i.e. her party house . Indeed, she sheltered her love with the Marquis de Valfons, here. The Count of Argenson also had a gallant house in the village of Montreuil, on the side of Avenue de Saint-Cloud, where the Countess d’Estrades lived as his lover. The Countess de Marsan remained there from 1759 to 1776.

The house under the reign of king Louis XVI tells us that by 1776, the countess of Marsan gave the house to Louis-Guillaume Lemmonier, the first ordinary Doctor of the King and a professor of botany at the jardin des plantes in Paris, which made it one of the high places of the French botanical gardens of the 18C. Besides the various species of trees planted in the garden of the house, Lemmonier had a greenhouse at the end of it which he will constantly modify to accommodate his many varieties of plants, as evidenced by the inventory after the death of his wife in 1793. It is here that Lemmonier will trained several travelling botanists, especially André Michaux, who had first been plowing the farm of Satory (by rue de Satory off ave de Sceaux) in Versailles. The garden of Lemmonier will remain, until its dismantlement in the middle of the 19C, the botanical garden of the city of Versailles. It gave birth to the horticultural vocation of the village of Montreuil, which will remain until the mid-1960’s. Lemmonier, who also made the house, his residence in Versailles, established on the left flank of the courtyard, the buildings now visible whose extension on the side of the garden. Extension that contained the new dining room of the house today.

The house after the fall of king Louis XVI; by the time of the death of Lemmonier in 1799, the house passed on to his three nieces. The beautiful garden of their uncle was gradually dismantled from the 1800’s. The heirs of the latter, began the fragmentation of the estate so dearly constituted by Lemmonier;  it then encompassed almost the entire triangle formed by the streets rue Champs-Lagarde, rue Pasteur and rue des Condamines (very nice area in Versailles for a walk). The point of the triangle on the side of the current high school or lycée Rameau passed to the municipality in 1881 which establishes in the old greenhouses of Lemmonier, a school, greenhouses that will disappear in the 1950’s during the reconstruction of it.

The house of the musicians  nowadays passed from hand to hand until its acquisition by the City of Versailles in December 1978; then house  passed on in May 1986 to the Union Compagnonnique des Compagnons du tour de France des devoirs unis as it stands today. Another off the beaten path of my beloved Versailles.

And to show you once again, my Versailles is a lot more than the palace/museum 98% of your come to see when in Versailles. You need to spend more time and see more of glorious royal Versailles!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Versailles on the house ,in French

City of Versailles on the house, in English

As the main sites are in French and for the benefit of those reading who do not speak French, I will tell you how to get the house from the palace/museum. Well ready! walk! the best way to see a city, go up from the place d’Armes in front of the palace/museum onwards on avenue de Paris, for about 24 minutes (guiding by google as me never counted) turn by the University of Versailles-Saint Quentin building on your left hand side is the beginning of rue Champ Lagarde a bit more on your left is the house at no 15. There is a bus 171 direction Pont de Sévres from in front of the palace/museum but at the end you will need to walk too. Another option if not a walker is to go over left from pl d’armes to place Hoche (there is a statue of gen hoche there) on the circle take local bus Phebus line C to stop Artois at rue du Refuge walk same street is rue Pasteur and the house is on the corner with rue Champ Lagarde. So better go all the way on foot, see more , enjoy Versailles more!

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

December 2, 2018

Bercy Village, Paris of course!

Now keeping in line of the fine places to see in Paris away from most visitors on the off the beaten path ,however, nice to visit and enjoy the culinary historical eternal Paris. I like to bring you to a place have come with family and business (my company held our annual convention once there).

I will tell a bit on Bercy Village. This is a nice place especially if come at night, with plenty of nice restaurant in a quant chic place in my eternal Paris.

Bercy Village is a commercial and leisure center based in the 12éme arrondissement of Paris, inaugurated in May 2000, and open to the public in 2002 It is served by the metro line 14 stop Cour Saint-Émilion

This was built on the place of the old storehouses and warehouses of Bercy the place was an important place of the market and the logistics of the wine in the 19C and the beginning of the 20C. In the 19C there was the largest wine and spirits market in the world: the Cour Saint-Émilion was an immense warehouse and a wine sales counter, previously bottled not far from there, at Bercy. Beverages transported by the Seine river directly from the Yonne, Burgundy, Algeria, or by train via Gare de Lyon from the south of France.

paris

There are now some thirty shops and restaurants nestled in these old warehouses, giving a very nice architectural side, human size, cozy. A movie theater complex is also located at the end of the street as well as several hotel chains. It has 46 19C cellars divided in two rows and separated by a paved courtyard, where visitors stroll, when they do not take place on one of the many terraces to enjoy themselves. The neighborhood is nowadays very lively and comes alive even more when demonstrations take place at the Palais Omnisport de Paris Bercy (now known as the AccorHotels Arena). Bercy Village is adjacent to a small quiet park very nice too.

To imagine the activity of the time, nothing like to go a few steps away, at the pavilions of Bercy, which once housed the Chais Lheureux, the name of the pupil of the architect Victor Baltard (of Halles and others fame). Just a few meters from the Cour Saint-Émilion, on the edge of the rue des Canoes, there are six large cellars of millstone stones with a very industrial appearance, metal structures, rails , or even brick vaults used as passageways. Far from the appearance of a sanitized hair of Bercy Village, the soul of the place and its past are more palpable. But if the exterior keeps its form of yesteryear, the interior of the cellars is now invested by the magnificent Museum of Fairground Arts or musée des Arts forains.

With family or friends, Bercy Village is a pedestrian place of leisure and pleasure… a small parenthesis without a car, in a historical place out of time. Perfect for an outing with family or friends during an evening or even during the day.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Bercy Village

Tourist office of Paris on Bercy Village

Ïle de France region tourist office on Bercy Village

Hope you enjoy it and do stop by very lively fun spot in a quaint old corner of my eternal Paris.

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

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