Archive for February 15th, 2019

February 15, 2019

Avenue de Paris and the ND10 Versailles!

So going over my blog, did some daring posts on streets of Paris and some in Versailles, but I believe left out the main one, and my favorite way to drive to Paris on a weekend family visit. On a cool sunny day in France, and no rains, let me tell you about the road by telling you a bit more on my beloved Versailles.

And what way to tell you is about a historic road and street, the Avenue de Paris in Versailles aka N10 national road today. The old way Castle to fortress, Versailles to the Louvre when kings were around.

Versailles

The Avenue de Paris is one of three lanes that radiate in a fan from the Place d’Armes, in front of the Château de Versailles, with the Avenue de Saint-Cloud in the north and the Avenue de Sceaux in the south. The Avenue de Paris, in the center, is located in the axis of the castle. It heads southeast for about 1 500 meters, before oblique eastward for 1 km to place Louis-XIV where it ends. It is extended, on the other side of the square, by the Avenue du General-Léclerc. With 90 meters wide, the avenue is one of the widest in France. It takes its name from the fact that it leads towards Paris, passing through Sèvres. It is also the old Royal route to the Louvre that still can be done today! This is my beloved Versailles!

Versailles

The Avenue de Paris coincides with the national D 10 road for most of its course.  In Versailles, the Avenue de Paris borders the following buildings of simply my preference:

Grand Ecurie , including the facades on the Cour d’Honneur and on the avenues of Paris and Saint-Cloud, the facades of the two pavilions and the grids bordering on the place d’Armes; the Petite Ecurie, between Ave de Paris and Avenue de Sceaux. At no. 6: Pavilion of the Constables, at no. 19: former stables of Madame Du Barry, built from 1773 by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for the last favorite of King Louis XV; she wanted to shelter the staff and to store the crews of her teams in this building adjoining the pavilion it had acquired in 1772 (see No. 21, below). The works were suspended at the death of the King in1774 and completed according to the plans of Ledoux by Jean-François Chalgrin for the Comte de Provence, brother of King Louis XVI, then titled Monsieur (future king Louis XVIII), owner of the stables from 1775, and at no 21: former Madame du Barry Pavilion, at no. 22: Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs,here having welcomed the meeting of the Notables of 1787, that of 1788 and above all the Estate General of 1789, the last of the former regime. At no. 57: laiterie de Madame (old Dairy of Madame). At no. 111: Former music Pavilion of Madame, the Pavilion of Music of the Countess of Provence, which is located at Avenue Chauchard (at the level of no 111, avenue de Paris) , the government regional of the Prefecture of Yvelines; Domaine de Montreuil aka Domaine de Madame Elizabeth, (sister of Louis XVI).

Versailles

Entering Versailles from Paris on this road N/D10 you will see upon arriving at the city two enclosures houses or gates. There were the fees/taxes generators for allowing you to enter the royal city, there are still there! These two pavilions framing the Avenue de Paris symbolically sign the entrance into Versailles, located there since 1787, the date of annexation to Versailles of the towns of Montreuil and Porchefontaine. The two existing grant pavilions were built in 1824, and connected by iron Gates that closed the avenue. Real treat to drive by now for free!

But this old road has a lot more history outside the limits of Versailles. This is a leasure driving trip from Paris (used to be from the Louvre) anywhere you can link up with it to the Chateau de Versailles.

 With the transfer of the court and political power to Versailles in 1684 by king Louis XIV, the road between the Louvre and the new castle was experiencing intense activity. Previously a part of the national road No. 10, called Route de Versailles or Route de la Reine (queen’s road), an order of 1877 gave it its present name of Avenue de Versailles. All along the Seine and then some; you can see some interesting buildings before you leave Paris such as No 123 Avenue de Versailles now occupies the location of the hotel of Hortense Schneider , famous interpreter of  Offenbach. At no 142-Jassedé Building, in Art nouveau style, by Hector Guimard with a remarkable staircase. And at no 211bis ,the painter Albert Marquez lived here in 1903-1904. He painted the Avenue de Versailles and the district of the Point-du-Jour.

Interesting to know that leaving Paris is called Avenue de Versailles and entering Versailles is call Avenue de Paris! But go on read more and continue our leasure drive of France’s best two cities combination of course I can say so !

In Paris, the route of Versailles runs along the right bank of the Seine river, crosses the neighborhoods of Passy and Auteuil in the 16éme arrondissement; before arriving in Boulogne-Billancourt. Much later, in 1860, the limits of Paris are now fixed to the location of the old ramparts and doors(portes) that allowed to enter the capital. In 1877, the Route de Versailles was renamed Avenue de Versailles before it uncorked to the site of the former Porte-de-Saint-Cloud. It is after crossing the Porte-Saint-Cloud that the RN 10 actually starts on entering Boulogne-Billancourt in the form of a long avenue that bears the name of General Leclerc since 1945.

The avenue leads to the Sèvres bridge that crosses the Seine river. Originally built of wood in 1685 with the first route of the road to Versailles, the bridge is rebuilt under the Empire first in stone before giving way to a vast metal work in 1963. Just before embarking on the bridge, a stele recalls the memory of General Leclerc and the 2nd Armoured Division whose squadron commanded by Captain Morel-Deville crosses the Seine here before entering Paris on August 25, 1944; for its liberation of WWII.

On the west bank of the Seine, the national 10 enters Sèvres by road km 11 by taking the route of the royal road opened in 1686 at the bottom of the valley of Marivel brook. About this period, it was through this still embryonic route that the materials needed for the construction of Versailles were transported from the port of Saint Cloud. On the right, you can see the national porcelain Manufactory installed here by the Marquise de Pompadour in 1756. This vast building is still home to a school, workshops and an important ceramics museum of Sévres.

The main street crosses Sèvres by climbing along the Parc de Saint-Cloud. The initial royal road of 1686 was enlarged under Louis XV. This street was the scene of many historical events such as the march of the Parisians on Versailles on October 5, 1789 and the passage of the royal family back to Paris the next day. The Grande Rue de Sèvres is still in its 18C configuration, more really adapted to the growth of traffic. It will be considerably enlarged in the 1970’s at the cost of the demolition of many buildings.

The road, in fact a long commuter road, continues towards Chaville at road km 15 (a nice picturesque train station here always love to see it), the last town of Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 crossed by the national road 10 (these sections call D910 same road). The royal road, then national, first crossed the Bas Chaville under the name of Grande Rue before becoming rue Roger Salengro, in memory of the minister of the popular Front tragically disappeared in 1936. The main street, which became Rue Salengro, in 1960. On leaving the city, at La Pointe de Chaville , sharp turn, there is still the junction between the royal road and the route du Pavé des Gardes. This route linking Paris to Versailles by the Forest of Meudon had the advantage of being the shortest way between the two cities but at the cost of steep passages particularly dreaded in winter. Essentially used by the royal army, to whom it owes its name, the pavement of the guards was impracticable by the drawn cars forced to take the royal road in the valley of the Marivel.

The road continues towards Viroflay at road km 18 and enters the Yvelines (dept 78 !). The national road 10 crosses this department created in 1964 on more than 60 km, Versailles and Rambouillet are the main cities crossed.

Becoming Avenue Leclerc since the liberation, the national road10 passes under the imposing railway viaduct also called the arcades because of the height of its arches. The work of art inaugurated in 1852 supports the extension to Chartres of the railline Versailles-Rive Droite (my old train route) connecting Versailles to Paris. The Viroflay railway viaduct straddles the national road 10 since its inauguration in 1852. Leaving Viroflay, the national road D10 abruptly changes its physiognomy to the approach of Versailles at road km 20!. The modest road is then transformed into the majestic Avenue of Paris leading directly to the Château museum’s Place d’Armes. In the place d’Armes, it converges with the other two avenues, that of Saint-Cloud and that of Sceaux. Until the French revolution, it was here that the Great Royal Road ended, which still put Versailles at nearly three hours of the Louvre..!!! And yes we can do it in less than an hour today!

Of course, if like me you have to drive around here all the time, you can continue once facing the Chateau to your left going around the castle direction Saint Cyr l’école along the Orangerie and the Piéce d’eau des Suisses pond all the way to Saint Cyr l’école and Les Quatre-Pavés-du-Roi in Montigny-le-Bretonneux.And sightseeing galores! just to reaching Yvelines 78 dept territory Moving on to Rambouillet and even Chartres!

And you can drive today and do a fairy tail trip by Royals while by passing some wonderful historical and stunning architecture monuments of many periods,not to mention mingle up a bit with the locals! Enjoy the roads of my belle France! My eternal Paris, and my royally sublime Versailles! Many of the buildings mentioned here have already post on them in my blog before.

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

February 15, 2019

Some news from France, CCXX

So this is a special edition of my Some news from France episodes which is now to its 220th edition with Roman numerals. I have said many times the beauty of my belle France and the attraction it has in the world. Yes there are many wonderful beautiful places in our World.

However, when it comes to numbers and favorites, France and Paris is at the top with Versailles right behind ok. No wonders some of the visitors here claim of overcrowded and long lines etc, well we are the best in the world of showing you the beauty of our landscape, architecture, history and struggles of mankind. Nobody does it better.

We have some new figures from the tourists authorities coming out yesterday and I wanted to share them here fresh and hot off the press. France is a movable feast!!! And just step out a bit from Paris and you will see what I mean.

In my beloved Yvelines dept 78 west of Paris, and another state/province/department sits the Royal Mansion…………

The Royal mansion has made a place in the sun. The Château de Versailles surpassed for the first time the bar of 8 million visitors in 2018, in the line of a record tourist year for the Ile de France region monuments, which saw the passing of 50 million visitors last year. It is the third most visited monument in the region, behind the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Louvre Museum in Paris. Now you know why crowded, the world wants to come here!!!!

Even if it remains the second most visited monument of the Yvelines dept 78 with its 105K visitors, the National Bergerie of Rambouillet loses 10 000 visitors. In its aftermath, the Museum of National Archaeology of Saint-Germain-en-Laye holds its course, surpassing just the 100K visitors. The Château de Rambouillet also gives off good figures with more than 43K visitors, for its first full year since its reopening in September 2017 after two and a half years of work. The Villa Savoye, in Poissy, which accounts for more than 38K visitors, hopes to inflate its attendance quickly. At the 6th place in the Yvelines department 78, the Château de Maisons-Laffitte welcomed 25K visitors, 15% more than the previous year. 2017 had been marked by heavy work on the facade of the castle, until the beginning of  2018.

 

Regional wise as in Ile de France, (Paris, Versailles Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte etc etc) we have 50 million tourists welcomed in 2018, the Ile-de-France beat, for the second consecutive year, a record of attendance. The Ile-de-France is the locomotive of tourism in our country which attracted a total of 90 million people last year (2018). For the first time in 2018, hotels welcomed more foreigners (17.6 million, + 8.7%) than, French from other regions (17.5 million,-1.1%). In the Nationalities, the Americans arrived in the lead with 2.8 million, followed by the British with 2 million, the Germans with 1,220,000, almost equal with the Chinese at 1,190,000 ,and the Spaniards at 1,140,000. To welcome visitors, the region is deploying this year 700 tourism volunteers, students in BTS or languages in 75 places (train stations..etc.).

A famous international travel forum which won’t mention has shown the favorite past time of its users is the promenade on the pedestrian banks of the Seine river  in the Top 10 favorite activities of tourists in Paris!

And the ongoing improvements are continuing all over and the Eiffel tower is definitively not behind to anyone ! For the Eiffel Tower and its 6 million annual visitors, as many potential mouths to feed from a simple sandwich or gourmet meal, a lollipop or a brownie, the producer’s Guild (Guilde des Artisans) will therefore be a guarantee of quality whatever the product. The entry “contest” will be renewed twice a year, and 5 categories of products are open to selection: Bakery (bread, pastries, sandwiches…), Sweets (chocolate, cakes, jams and other confectionery), Savoury tastes ( Charcuterie, cheese, cannery etc), Beverages, and unprocessing plant products, i.e. fruit, vegetables and cereals. Season, always in season. Applications are now accepted for registration on the website: https://www.restaurants-toureiffel.com/fr/guilde-artisans.html

And last news but not least, a wonderful royal place that needs to be seen more. The national Domaine of Saint-Cloud (Hauts de Seine dept 92) records an annual increase of 2-3% of its attendance. The fifth most visited site in Île-de-France in 2018 outside Paris and Disney, the estate welcomes walkers, joggers and festival-goers throughout the year. With 148K visitors last year, the national domaine of Saint-Cloud does not have to blush at its attendance. This figure allows it to position itself in the fifteenth position of the ranking of the most visited sites in Île-de-France, and fifth position outside Paris and Disney, according to the regional figures of tourism unveiled this Thursday. More on it here: http://www.domaine-saint-cloud.fr/en/

There you go just a bit of news on some attendance records on tourism in my belle France. Allez les Bleus et Vive la France!!!

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

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