Archive for June 10th, 2019

June 10, 2019

The Church Saint Nicolas at Maisons Laffitte!

And I bring you to my old dept Yvelines no 78 west of Paris in the same region of Ïle de France. This was a gem that I saw more for the wonderful gourmand store in Longueil that I have written before in my blog. After getting to the town, I found out the wonderful castle and the church. Again , the castle I told you before. I figure need to do justice and tell you about the Church of Saint Nicolas.

A bit about the town itself.

Maisons-Laffitte is located 10 km from Saint-Germain-en-Laye and 18 km from Paris. Maisons-Laffitte is on the left bank of the Seine river, and adjacent to the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The territory, also encompasses part of an island of the Seine, l’île de la Commune. The town borders the towns of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as well as about 800 meters bordering Achères-and the Mesnil-Le-Roi. It is separated by the Seine river from Sartrouville and Cormeilles-en-Parisis. The train line of Paris-Saint-Lazare to Le Havre get you here, as well as the RER A Transilien line L trains.

Saint Nicolas Church, rue de la Muette was built from 1867 to 1872 on the grounds of one of the old cemeteries, offered by the city. This church was built in the 12C as evidenced by the base of the bell tower, it will be renovated in the 13C and then enlarged in the 15C when a side-aisle addition to the south. It is disaffected in 1897 and the use is granted to firefighters who will serve as their barracks. They will do the drilling and modification of certain bays. Restored nowadays it now serves as a show room entertainment. Among the curiosity of this church is a vault vaulted in a cradle accessible by a door located below the Church.

Maisons laffitte

Maisons laffitte

A bit more of history I like

The first Lords of Maisons built a church dedicated to St. Nicolas. Around 1087, Geoffroy 1er gave the Church of Maisons to the Abbey of Coulombs located in Chartres territory. The latter installed a Benedictine Priory in the vicinity under the term Saint-Germain. The Romanesque style bell tower is probably from the 12C. At the end of the Hundred Years War the village and the Church were burned by the English. The nave was rebuilt and enlarged from a low-side whose style is characteristic of the 15C. In 1630, Vincent de Paul came to preach at Maisons. He erected a charity for the relief of the poor. The gallery and the work bench that we see on the engraving were only built in 1749. The two stained glass windows that illuminate the nave possessed stained glass from the early 16C depicting a crowned Virgin carrying the child Jesus and a Saint Nicolas. The altarpiece of the master altar is now in the sacristy of the Church of St. Nicholas. The Church was decommissioned in 1897.

Maisons laffitte

So therefore even if we still call it a church,it is not now used for religious services but rather as a cultural center to house temporary exhibits and events for the city of Maisons Laffitte. It is interesting to see this transformation. Hope you enjoy it as easy to reach from Paris.

Couple of webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Maisons Laffitte on heritage

Tourist office of Maisons Laffitte on the Church

There you go another dandy and for a change, it is not a real functioning Church! Nevertheless, equally important for its architecture in a very nice upscale city of the west of Paris. Enjoy the so call St Nicolas Church in Maisons Laffitte.

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

 

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June 10, 2019

Notre Dame market of Versailles!

Now let me bring you back to my beloved Versailles, so much written on it and so many visitors if only to the palace/museum. However, as always tells you, shh! There is a lot more to see than the castle/palace/museum here. If only visitors to Versailles on a city survey found out that 98% of them only come for the castle, its really a pity. Easy transport from that other famous city nearby, you have no excuses.  Versailles is it!

Let me tell you a bit more on the Notre Dame market or marché Notre Dame right in the historical neighborhood of Notre Dame, my own will gladly tell you , a wholesome place!

Versailles

A bit of history I like a lot

In November 1634, King Louis XIII instituted the Versailles market at this site, presumably succeeding an older market. From 1671, king Louis XIV developed the market, with the aim of securing a good supply to the new city of Versailles, then a new town. The pavilions, detached from the domain of Clagny, were established in 1665, before the castle was built!

In 1725 the Notre-Dame market is refurbished; Louis Blouin builds the Flour Hall (halle à la farine). The market already comprises four squares, specialized food commercial spaces: the square with calves and poultry; the square with butter and tide, also with oats and grains; the herb square, that is, fruit and vegetables; the square from weight to flour, originally called the weight-of the king. In this hall there was a room for the verification of weights and measures used by traders. At the French revolution, the market was diminishing. It was gradually deteriorating. In 1835, the market was purchased by the city of Versailles and it ceases to belong to the Royal domain. Traders are expropriated and weakly compensated.

versailles

versailles

versailles

versailles

The old pavilions are destroyed to be replaced in 1841 by the current covered halls.  The new covered market was inaugurated on 15 September 1842. In 1871, with the installation of the provisional French Government in Versailles (due to the Franco-Prussian war), the market is one of the most active in France. From 1985 to 1991, the halls are again completely renovated. They are home to 35 businesses. Some 60 stands complement them on market days outside  on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Notre Dame market is at the intersection of two main streets: Rue de la Paroisse  and Rue du Maréchal Foch , former Rue Duplessis. Approximately on an east-west axis, the rue de la Paroisse begins at the grille entrance to the Neptune basin and ends after the Place du marché (market square),at the Avenue de Saint-Cloud. It was historically the street of goldsmiths, upholsterers and tailors. The rue du Maréchal Foch, almost north-south, crosses the city, prolongs the Avenue de l’Europe, to continue to place Édouard Laboulaye. This route links the Gare de Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche (closest to the palace/museum)  to the Rive-Droite train station(the one closest to my old home).

Versailles

This place is reputed to be one of the most beautiful markets in France, especially at the food level! It attracts a clientele of all horizons, both local and regional and touristic, which makes its peculiarity. The market place is one of the most important trade points of Versailles; it concentrates 52% of the traditional trade of the city! The district presents a wide food offer thanks to the presence of merchants of the halls, open 6 days a week, and those of the market, present 3 days a week. Non-food markets offer a variety of products: clothing, makeup, furniture, flowers, etc., on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays afternoons. The market cleverly combines fresh produce, flowers and trinkets to be, according to the most admired, one of the finest in the trades. It is both a historic place (as here before the palace/museum, and that the halls that surround it are 360 years old!) and both are a prestigious place by its attendance and structure.

Versailles

This whole square is lined with charming little cafés and restaurants on the terrace that invite you to take a little break! Two steps away, in the cobbled alleys that surround the geometric shape on four sides, the boutiques are pretext for a small stroll that allows to pass from the storefronts of antique shops to passages that seem to come straight from the Latin quarter  A parking lot managed by Vinci Park is located under the market place Notre Dame; It has a capacity of approximately 700 places. Pedestrian access is at the center of each square of the market by elevators/lifts and stairs. Since 2014, trompes-l’œil have been included in the parking access; they represent riders of the carrousel and recall the equestrian history of the city, still very present activity with the Academy of Equestrian Spectacle. It is a realization of the School of Mural Art of Versailles. The Place du Marché or market square is close to the Passage des antiquaries  (antique dealers).  The pedestrian crossing of the rue des deux portes (st of the two doors)  leads from the market square to Rue Carnot, near the Avenue de Saint-Cloud and the place d’Armes, in front of the façade and the main entrance of the Château de Versailles. In February 2018, the Versailles Notre Dame market was voted “the most beautiful market in Ile-de-France”! See the article in French at the Le Parisien newspaper:   http://www.leparisien.fr/yvelines-78/et-le-plus-beau-marche-d-ile-de-france-est-a-versailles-22-02-2018-7574487.php

versailles

versailles

This is the tourist office of Versailles on the Notre Dame marketTourist office of Versailles on the ND Market

Ok wait a minute, not far at the other end at the corner of  Avenue de l’Europe and Avenue de Saint Cloud you have a wonderful flower market  or marché aux fleurs and it is recommended by yours truly, something very nice to boot. A bit more on it

On the pavement on the sidewalks of the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, between the Avenue de l’Europe and the rue Georges-Clemenceau, the pavements of Versailles are flowed all year round! This is the address you need to know, whether you want to offer a bouquet, flower your living room, your terrace, for unbeatable prices, or just stroll among roses and camellias. There are some cut flowers and bouquets, and mostly potted plants, indoors or to plant, as well as shrubs. Christmas trees set you up in the magic of the holidays, in spring the pollen tickles your nose: every season it’s a botanical wonderland! Choose a color, know a flowering period, the merchants will advise you what you need without  hesitation! And then, even without buying, a walk here will be widely good feeling.

More on the flower market here: Tourist office of Versailles on the Flower market

versailles

versailles

And now you cover all the angles of a great shopping day in royal magical beautiful Versailles! And shopping here with all these monumental buildings is a must and a great uplifting experience especially if like me you are into architecture and history.

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

 

June 10, 2019

The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun of Versailles!

So to be fair, huh! Let me bring you back to my beloved and old home of Versailles. One can never be too far from it and that includes me. We simply love it, mind you not just the castle museum but the town in its whole!

I like briefly to tell you about two properties quite related to each other yet apart. The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun.  One is very popular as you need to go thru it to get into the Castle/Museum and now there even has a nice restaurant there. The second is much less known but equally important in the history of Versailles and France.

The Dufour Pavilion is a 17C building constituting the main body of the Château de Versailles, present on the Court of Honor (cour d’honneur) and currently serving visitors with a ticket. Located between the Royal courtyard (cour Royale) and the courtyard of the Princes ( cour des Princes), overlooking the courtyard, the Dufour Pavilion is located to the left of the grid of honor (golden wrough iron grille gate) for a person arriving at the Castle. It is really an imposing building once you look at it from outside coming in.

Versailles

A bit of history I like

Emperor Napoleon Ier planned to build a white stone façade on the town side. He ordered a study by Alexandre Dufour. The latter will be entrusted by king Louis XVIII with the task of constructing this pavilion following the projects sketched by the Emperor. The Pavilion is built in 1818-1820 in place of a wing dating from the extension of 1668. The architecture incorporates that of the Gabriel wing, built under king Louis XV by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The Dufour Pavilion, however, will never be finished on its rear part, although this has been sketched; the 17C a wing is preserved as a result of its restoration in 1814 and is still present today.

Versailles

The Dufour Pavilion houses up to 2010 offices, including those of the management, communication and museum graphic conservation. The services still present are moved to the Grand Commun (see below) . They lead to the creation of reception space on the ground floor and in the basement, the restaurant “Ore” of Alain Ducasse of 600 m2 on the first floor (2fl US) ; and a conference room of 220 places under the attic of the 17C wing. A really classic work, done so I could see before departing Versailles.

This is Monsieur Ducasse resto webpage there: Ore restaurant at Dufour in the Chateau de Versailles

And on the Dufour PavilionOfficial Chateau de Versailles on the Dufour Pavilion

The Grand Commun, or as its official name the Grand Quarré des Offices-Commun , is a building located at 1, rue de l’independence-American and corner of Rue des Recollets. I figure could put it here as it refers to the services once in the Dufour Pavilion as told above.

versailes

A bit of history I like

Built between 1682 and 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart on the site of the Church of Saint-Julien, the place housed the kitchens and the tables of the officers who served the courtyard of the Château de Versailles, as well as rooms for the courtesans. The building is organized around an inner courtyard.

By conducting excavations in the courtyard of the Grand Commun in 2009, a team from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) exhumed the remains of the Jeu de Paume game or palm/tennis game of king Louis XIII, built in 1630 as well as vestiges of the enclosure of its castle, and, under further again, a cemetery of the high middle ages, probably in connection with the church. The palm/tennis game or Jeu de Paume room comes in the form of a large rectangular building of 33 meters long by 14 meters wide with lateral walls of 1.30 meters thick. The presence of three galleries indicates that it is an indoor game. The floor is covered with stone-sized tiles and probably preceded by a terracotta tile floor. The house of the paumier (the one who maintains, manages and animates the playroom) was also found.

versailles

Manufacture of arms under the French revolution, the Grand Commun sheltered from 1843 a military hospital then became military hospital Dominique Larrey. Since 2015, various services of the Château de Versailles (DRH, conservation, staff changing rooms, research center of the Château de Versailles) are installed there as of today. Of course this is not visited now,and photos not allowed inside,  but I had the opportunity to see the jeu de paume section while excavations were going on as I am a Friend of the Château de Versailles.

Official Chateau de Versailles on its Research Center in French

There you go two wonderful buildings one in and one out of glorius royal Versailles, unique in France, history and architecture all for the better and the enjoyment of all. Hope you come to enjoy as much as we do, my beloved Versailles , a lot more than a castle.

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

 

 

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