Archive for May 16th, 2020

May 16, 2020

Paris: Avenue de l’Opéra et al!!

So maybe its time due to the times we live in that it would be good to bring about these nice streets of my eternal Paris that I love to walk so much rather than one big post on a monument. The work will be endless of course, but its worth the try , after Paris is a movable feast. Therefore, here is my take on one nice chic Avenue de l’Opéra and its sidekick the Place de l’Opéra.

The Avenue de l’Opéra is a street in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements . It is so named because it leads to the National Theater of the Opera. It departs from Place André-Malraux, in front of the Comédie-Française theater and joins Boulevard des Capucines at the Opéra Garnier, Place de l’Opéra. Unique case among the avenues of Paris, this artery does not have a tree in order to provide the best possible perspective on the main facade of the Opera. It is a radial route which, coming from the quartier Salle Garnier, to approach the center of Paris or to cross in the direction of the left bank by the Pont du Carrousel. This site is served by the metro stops Opéra, Pyramides and Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre.


A bit of history I like

Originally, the mounts of Moulins and Saint-Roch represented a height located at the current rue Thérèse and rue des Pyramides. Jeanne d’Arc had installed culverins there to support the attack on the Saint-Honoré gate and had been seriously injured here. The hillock had been leveled in half in 1615, covered with small streets and mills, but it remained a serious obstacle. The whole district, between the Louvre and the Grands Boulevards, was occupied by islets with narrow streets considered insanitary and ill-famed. The enormous spoil served to fill the excavations on the Champ-de-Mars. To get an idea of the importance of this mound in a district that is now completely level, it is enough to see the entrance to the Saint-Roch Church where one climbs thirteen steps. Before the leveling of the mound, it was necessary to descend seven!

A first project plans to create an avenue Napoléon (in honor of Napoleon III) from the Louvre to the square where rue de la Paix joins the boulevards. The avenue Napoléon was first renamed avenue de la Nation, then avenue de l’Opéra in 1873. In the 1950s, the avenue was profoundly transformed by the widening of its roadway, from 15 to 20 meters wide, at the expense of sidewalks.

Some interesting buildings of today on Avenue de l’Opéra ; that I used to walked every day for work ! My favorites are at No 10: art critic Félix Fénéon lived there from 1931 to 1941. No 19: location of the premises of the tea house Compagnie Coloniale. During WWI, the city of Reims, in exile, held its first municipal council there on April 19, 1918. A plaque pays tribute to this event. No 22: location of the former Hôtel des Deux Mondes, which closed in 1940 and was the headquarters of the American secret services after the war. No 23: location of a former department store Au gagne petit, now replaced by a Monoprix store. An exterior decoration remains. At No 37 Brentano’s bookstore; founded in 1895, was one of the oldest English-language booksellers in Paris. It had some problems with the bank BNP Paribas and after it re opened it is not the same, mostly touristic stuff. Some things never returned too bad I used to walked into it each passing time!

You keep walking and reach the Place de l’Opéra a square located in the 9éme arrondissement. This square owes its name to the National Opera Theater, located in the Palais Garnier and at the crossroads of boulevard des Italiens, boulevard des Capucines, avenue de l’Opéra, rue Auber, rue Halévy, rue de la Paix and rue de Quatre-Septembre at the meeting point of the busy metro lines 3, 7 and 8. At the time of its creation, at the same time as that of the Charles Garnier Opera House, this square had the major advantage of giving the pedestrian sufficient distance to admire the main facade of the Opéra Garnier. This square was formed in 2 phases: the part located north of boulevard des Capucines, by decree of July 16, 1862; the part located north of boulevard des Capucines, by decree of August 24, 1864.

Some of my favorite buildings here and from my office I could see the Opéra Garnier every day !!! At No. 5 is the Grand Hotel or InterContinental Paris Le Grand, on the ground floor there is the Café de la Paix   (Hint !!!) At No. 6 were the offices of the newspaper L’Écho de Paris. Under the Third Republic, a sign announcing the results on election night attracted a crowd that clapped or whistled according to his political opinion. It is the ancestor of televised election evenings.

You are in chic Paris even if very much touristic of course. The architecture of the walk is very interesting looking carefully and the history of it very intriguing much more for a single blog post. I love this area for the memories it brings me and good cheers and friendship, times of yesteryear always in my heart, Paris is well we will always have Paris.

Hope you enjoy the walk, and plenty more in my blog. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 16, 2020

Paris: Bd de la Bastille!

I have done several or a few posts on the streets of Paris, (see posts) a passion for me when working in the city and living nearby that has continue over the years visiting from the Morbihan breton. I have said repeately that to get there I used the car for personal choice or the train TGV for business purposes. However, once in the city, I let my legs do the walking and soak in the architecture and history of my eternal Paris. I encourage you to do the same.

Now, here are my serie on the streets of Paris with some personalised streets favorites of mine over the years.  Let me start with the boulevard de la Bastille, where I car parked for walks and night time entertainment! Hope you enjoy it.

Boulevard de la Bastille is a street in the 12éme arrondissement (see my post on 20 arrondissements or districts) and the quartier Quinze-Vingts (see my post on 80 quartiers or neighborhoods) following the Arsenal marina or Port de l’Arsenal. The name of Boulevard de la Bastille is due to the vicinity of Place de la Bastille. It is one of my fav spots for parking when in the city on personal visits.


The bd is 705 meters long, it begins at the pont de Morland bridge / Quai de la Rapée and ends at Place de la Bastille. It is divided into 52 building numbers. This boulevard is served at the start by Quai de la Rapée station, metro line 5 , and at its end by Bastille station for metro lines 1, 5 and 8. This route overlooks the port of Arsenal.

The other than nice day walks in the area my main attraction here is the night time bar hopping that is awesome and great diversity of places even foreign to get a taste of the world. The activity picks up after the Place de la Bastille and the colonne de Juillet right into boulevard Beaumarchais, be aware this is very close to Place des Vosges..!

A bit of history I like:

This road was initially called the chemin et rue de la Contrescarpe-Saint-Antoine, name which had been given to it because of the proximity of the enclosure of Charles V. This boulevard is the rectification of the rue des Portes-Saint-Antoine, which existed around 1605, which bore the name boulevard de la Contrescarpe and which was aligned by ordinance of 1844, before taking its current name in 1898. Between the Nos. 70 and 72 of the boulevard de la Contrescarpe was the cour de la Juiverie. It is indicated that the cour de la Juiverie was built around 1632 and that it was located in the old 8éme arrondissement in 1812. The numbers of the cour were in black, the last odd number was number 7, and the last even number was No. 16. This cour was named after the Jews who lived there.

Some of the things to see or enjoy here that are just my favorites amongst many are the Les Grande Marches resto, the Café Français a nice brasserie under new management but still looking good, of course the Opéra Bastille, by the quai de la Rapée there is a nice garden overlooking the Seine river, real Paris! the boat scenes on the Port de l’Arsenal is romantic specially at night when I am usually by there and there is another nice garden ,and the Le Grand Bleu for seafood specialty , and there is public toilette just facing the colonne de juillet on place de la Bastille!  You have a wonderful market Bastille on Bd Richard Lenoir as well. Right on Beaumarchais you get into the Pedra Alta portuguese resto, Bistrot des Vosges, Les Cyclades, greek resto, and of course my totally fav Cuba Compagnie Café corner of rue Chemin Vert! You will be glad to be back! Oh if  you are daring road warrior with big city experience than my parking is at Indigo Bastille ,info: Parking Bastille 53 bd de la Bastille


No webs you know the tourist office of Paris and the city of Paris has many works going on around this area and supposely opening in first quarter of 2020 but;;;we had a wuhan problem so need to check if all is done. More in French here: City of Paris on works around Place de la Bastille

Hope  you enjoy the walk and night outs in my eternal Paris. Bd de la Bastille and the areas around Place de la Bastille are very nice indeed.

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

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