Archive for September 29th, 2020

September 29, 2020

Paris and the Avenue!!!

This is another surprise, so much to see and tell you. I have passed by here several times as one of hq is on the Avenue de la Grande Armée near Porte Maillot in Paris. Yet do not recall writing about it in my blog… I finally found me a photo and remind me of this. Time to remedy and tell you all about this wonderful avenue of eternal Paris! Yes, worked on it, ate on it and walk, drove on it for several years. This is my take on the Avenue de la Grande Armée. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you.

Oh yes this is not THE avenue you thought but an equally impressive avenue that should be visited, walk on it. Hope you enjoy it

The Avenue de la Grande-Armée is the avenue that separates the 16éme and 17éme arrondissements or districts of Paris. It starts from place Charles-de-Gaulle or aka Place de l’Étoile, it arrives at Porte Maillot at the intersection of Avenue de Malakoff, boulevard Pereire and boulevard Gouvion-Saint-Cyr. Odd numbers are in the 16éme arrondissement , and even numbers are in the 17éme arrondissement. Its length is 775 meters and its width is 70 meters. It was so named by Napoleon III in honor of the Grande Armée, which carried out all the campaigns of the First Empire.

Paris ave de la grande armee towards the arc de triomphe jan13

Leaving Paris, on the right side and even numbers, the avenue runs alongside the Ferdinandville district and the 17éme; the left side and the odd numbers are part of the 16éme and the former town of Passy. Avenue de la Grande-Armée is an extension of the Champs-Élysées beyond the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile.  After Porte Maillot, the straight line continues through Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle (formerly Avenue de Neuilly) then, crossing the Seine river by Pont de Neuilly, the prospect of more than 15 km continues towards La Défense and the Grande Arche.

Twice a year first around May 10 and then around August 1st, the Sun sets in the axis of Avenue de la Grande-Armée. For a person located on the Champs-Élysées, the solar disk is thus visible for a few minutes under the arch of the Arc de Triomphe. On May 10, 1994, a partial solar eclipse accompanied the phenomenon. Note that in the opposite direction seen from Porte Maillot, the Sun rises twice a year in the Arc de Triomphe, around February 7 and November 4! Amazing Paris!!!  The Etoile tunnel directly links the avenue des Champs-Élysées and the avenue de la Grande-Armée, passing under the Arc de Triomphe. Halfway between the Etoile and Porte Maillot, at number 36, is Place Yvon-et-Claire-Morandat, named after two resistance fighters given to this crossroads in 1987. On this square is the entrance to Argentine  metro line 1 station on the limits of   neighborhood  or quartier Chaillot 16éme arrondissement ,and neighborhood Ternes of the 17éme arrondissement.

A bit of history I like

The old major road which led from Paris to the west was the avenue des Ternes then called Chaussée de Neuilly, which went to the ford of Neuilly. As early as the Middle Ages and undoubtedly since the Gallic period, this made it possible to go from Paris to Saint-Germain, to Cherbourg and to Le Havre as it was the “roll-roll” route that gave the neighborhood its name, du Roule. The Avenue de la Grande-Armée is fairly recent because it was only created during the reign of king Louis XV. The Avenue de la Grande Armée, known as the Route de Neuilly, was therefore opened under Louis XVI with its current width of 70 meters from the start, continuing the grandiose perspective of the Tuileries garden to the previously name pl de l’Etoile. In 1854, Haussmann restructured Place de l’Etoile (now known officially as Charles-de-Gaulle) with its twelve avenues that radiate from it, the main ones being the Champs-Élysées and the Grande-Armée. The avenue was called successively, the route de Neuilly in 1730, route de Saint-Germain in 1820, Avenue de la Porte-Maillot in 1848, Avenue de Neuilly in 1860, then finally the Avenue de la Grande-Armée in 1864. Before being attached to Paris in 1863, it formed part of the national road N13 from Paris to Cherbourg. Today, there remains a short section of Paris of 100 meters which bears the name of Avenue de Neuilly beyond the Porte Maillot, its extension into Neuilly being henceforth called Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle.

In the directory of the year 1900, there are 34 addresses under the heading “automobile” only on this Avenue de la Grande Armée and more than 50 if one counts those of the close by districts, that is to say more than half of all the corresponding sections. Famous names like Peugeot, Renault, Dunlop, de Dion Bouton, Panhard-Levassor, Decauville and others now gone like Darracq, Clément-Bayard, Le Zèbre, the Parisian Cart Company and, for spare parts, Mestre and Blatgé. The first motor shows were held nearby, in the Salle Wagram , from 1894 until the Universal Exhibition of 1900, after which they will be held at the Grand Palais. The neighborhood has honored and kept the memory of these pioneers like in the center of the place Saint-Ferdinand sits the statue of Serpolet and in the Square Parodi adjoining the Porte Maillot, there is a fountain commemorating the arrival of Paris-Bordeaux- Paris of 1895, to the glory of Émile Levassor.

Interesting buildings that I like to tell you about:

At No 4: site of the former Le Napoléon cinema opened in 1934, closed in 1988. It specialized in Walt Disney cartoons. No 6: Roland Garros had opened in this spot in 1909 its brand Roland Garros automobiles – sports cars. At No 12: the French photographer Valentin Vaucamps, born in Maubeuge (nord 59) established the Lumina company there, specializing in cameras and which exploited the trichrome process which produced color photos. No 23 ,the socialite painter and engraver Jules-Ferdinand Jacquemart lived at this address from 1873 until his death. He was the son of art historian Albert Jacquemart. No 24: home of the military painter Édouard Detaille , whose great historical machines were very fashionable. The sculptor-statuary Jean Antonin Carlès , Grand Prix of the Universal Exhibition of 1889, also lived in this building, before having his workshop at 98, rue des Batignolles. From 1900 to 1907, this address was that of the exhibition store of the Industrial Company of Automobile Telephone-Car System Ader, a firm founded by Clément Ader, a pioneer of aviation in France. At No 26 in the early 1960s, sports car fans found the Matra Sports store here.  At No 27 the “Au Petit Matelot” stores, which still exist at this location since 1906 at the corner of rue d’Argentine where a plaque recalls that these stores founded in 1790 on the Quai d’Anjou ,Ile Saint-Louis of where they were expropriated in 1932. Balzac refers to them in his Little Dictionary of Signs in 1826. At No 42: former La Boîte à films cinema, ex Studio Obligado. Created in 1938, demolished in 1987, (I saw it before been demolished unfortunately) it mainly programmed films in Spanish for the servants of the neighborhood. At No 56 there is the Reformed Church de l’Étoile. At No 74, the former Maillot Palace cinema opened in 1916, then Maillot-Palace-Cinema from 1922 to 1980 , and also called Cinérama. At No 80 it hosted the café-restaurant La Terrasse where, on July 12, 1943, an attack took place against some forty Nazis soldiers who were having their breakfast. Bernard Courtault is convicted and then shot following the attack. At No 82 the Neuilly – Porte Maillot train station, on the old Petite Ceinture line. At No 83 the former Royal Maillot or Grand-Royal cinema opened in 1910, closed in 1969. At the north end of the avenue by the porte Maillot, you see the Palais de Congrés or convention center (many times here), here was from 1909 the Luna-Park amusement park, which itself replaced the Printania music-garden, inaugurated in 1904.

A bit on the perspective of walking around Paris from the Paris tourist office here :

And on getting around Paris from the Paris tourist office here:

As well as looking for similar wordings in my blog on walking and public transports, driving in Paris etc. Again, a marvelous avenue and beautiful architecture as well as the history as above and more. Again, well worth your time to walk it.

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

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September 29, 2020

Paris and the Bateaux Parisiens!!!

Here is another goodie from the vault and even personal. When I first came to France in 1990 to see my girlfriend and later wife (same year lol!) , she took me on a romantic ride on the Seine river with the Bateaux Parisiens cruise. It became our home on the Seine, took it several times more into married life and with the boys and parents.


My dear late wife Martine and dear late Mom Gladys on the BP!

Even if now too many trips and memories to last a lifetime, each time I go to my world head office nearby I stop by and see it, photos do not matter anymore but just see it and relieves wonderful times. Maybe next time should take more photos….

As for now let me tell you about this wonderful Paris landmark, the Bateaux Parisiens.

The Bateaux Parisiens is a service mark of Bateau-mouche , these boats existed in the 19C to designate boats that had only a utilitarian purpose, and were only used to transport goods and possibly passengers from one place to another on various rivers and canals ,not to be confused with the other officially ride name the bateaux mouches. The Bateaux Parisiens are located at the Port de la Bourdonnais, by the foot of the tour Eiffel in the 7éme arrondissement or district of Paris. You can get here when in the area best by foot as we do after parking or by metro lines 6 and 9 Trocadero or 6 Bir-Hakeim as well as RER C Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel or bus lines 92 closes stop Bosquet-Rapp , or line 82 stop tour Eiffel (my stop is champ de mars-Suffren ::) or line 42 at my stop Champ de Mars-Suffren short walk or tour Eiffel.

paris ave de new york to bateaux parisiens nov17

In 1956, the Bateaux Parisiens company was created in Paris and in 1987, the Sodexo company bought the Bateaux Parisiens. The fleet was made up of 8 sightseeing boats and 5 dining boats. Each boat dedicated to the promenade bears the name of a celebrity. The boats dedicated to catering cruises have other names.

Boarding is at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on the Quai de la Bourdonnais. During the cruise, it is possible to see the following monuments: the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Assamblée Nationale, Orsay Museum, Institut de France, Notre-Dame Cathedral , Hôtel de Ville, Conciergerie, Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, Arc de Triomphe, and the Palais de Chaillot. The catering cruise also allows you to see the   Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Statue of Liberty.

This is a wonderful family outing. Very welcoming and friendly team. The comments are done by audible telephones connected to each seat and are interesting and accessible from 8-10 years old. Songs and music about Paris, well chosen, decorate the cruise in a romantic and friendly atmosphere. The banks of the Seine are very beautiful, and admiring them from a boat is as original as it is pleasant. Even the Parisians are surprised to discover unknown facades of monuments they know well. To be redone in winter for another light and less leafy trees. The cruise lasts a good hour. There is a car park at the pier, count 5 euros for the duration of the cruise. If full, there is a bigger one at 25 Quai Branly-Tour Eiffel for 8.40 euros (museum) Remember to book and print your tickets in advance on the site, they serve as a skip-the-line for the entire first queue. Plan a little waiting before boarding anyway.

The official Bateaux Parisiens

The owners Sodexo has a page on them here:

The Paris tourist office on the Bateaux Parisiens in English:

You have a wonderful day in Paris taking a ride with the Bateaux Parisiens, there are others but this one is for the nostalgia,memories, good times ,family time always the BP!!! Hope you enjoy the post as I did writing it.

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

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September 29, 2020

Paris and Samaritaine!!!

Oh yes it was a love story, Paris and the Samaritaine dept store ,and we were there from 1990. My dear late wife Martine was very fond of it and we went as I needed to go lol! Well shopping was one of her force and the Samaritaine was magical.

Paris Samaritaine and us sep90

Again, I have written before, but found a new photo so will give new text as well to revive this great memory,and stay tune, it will be back!!! The Samaritaine forever!!

Paris samaritaine dept store old feb11

The grand magasin or great department store Samaritaine will see light again. This is a wonderful Paris landmark that will come back as a store we can all visit again. La Samaritaine was still a department store located between rue de Rivoli and the Seine river, at Pont Neuf in the 1éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Simply the best!

Paris samaritaine dept stor top to sacre coeur , eiffel and the seine oct05

A bit of history I like

La Samaritaine was the largest Parisian department store in terms of its size, with its four stores totaling a sales area of 48,000 m2. Its buildings in art nouveau and art deco style. La Samaritaine becomes the most important Parisian department store in terms of sales area just ahead of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Its advertising slogan, supported by a major advertising campaign in the 1960s has remained in the collective memory : “You can find everything at La Samaritaine”.

La Samaritaine was founded in 1870 by Ernest Cognacq. After having exercised various trades of salesman for a boss or for his own account, Cognacq had become calico in a tent or a red umbrella on the Pont Neuf when he got along with a small café which he frequented rue de La Monnaie to rent, from March 21, 1870, its little-used annex room and turn it into a small novelty store, La Samaritaine. Ernest Cognacq married in January 1872 Marie-Louise Jaÿ, former first saleswoman in the confectionery department of Bon Marché dept store, with whom he will then manage the store. You can see their museum at 8 rue Elzévir Paris 3.

La Samaritaine was the name of a water pump located on the Pont Neuf, the existence of which dates back to Henri IV, who asked the Flemish Jean Lintlaër for the plans. It was the first water lifting machine built in Paris. It was rebuilt by Robert de Cotte between 1712 and 1719, then renovated by Soufflot and Gabriel. This pomp was decorated with a representation of the episode evoking the meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (recounted in the Gospel according to John). The whole was surmounted by a clock fitted with a jacquemart, then, later, a carillon.

La Samaritaine opened in 1870 on the ground floor of a building located in the block which would become store 1. From the early 1880s, all of the buildings located between rue de la Monnaie and rue du Pont-Neuf and rue de Rivoli were bought, which in 1904 led to the creation of a large store 1, whose interior distribution had been completely revised without the appearance of the facades having been profoundly changed. At the same time as the development of store 1, apartment buildings were acquired in the block located on the other side of rue de la Monnaie, which will constitute store 2. A passage under the rue de la Monnaie was created to communicate the basements of stores 1 and 2.

The extension of the Samaritaine continues with the acquisition of the buildings located between the rue de Rivoli and the rue Boucher then their reconstruction in 1930 to constitute the store 3. The expansion de la Samaritaine continued in 1932 with the purchase of the Révillon Frères fur workshops occupying almost the entire block north of store 2, on the other side of rue Baillet. These buildings will constitute store 4, which will not however occupy the entire block, for lack of being able to acquire the buildings belonging to other owners. The transformation of the facades of store 4 overlooking rue de Rivoli in the Art Deco style was planned but did not see the light of day due to the economic crisis of the 1930s.

In 2001, the La Samaritaine is sold after which had become a loss-making, affair to the LVMH group. The department store finally closed its doors in 2005, (photo below just before closing from the rooftop!!) officially due to the building’s non compliance with modern safety standards, and redevelopment. The Samaritaine department store, which LVMH was to open in early April, 2021 after fifteen years of work and an investment of 750 million euros, is now only due to open in Summer of 2021, due to complications of the covid19 virus. The postponement of this inauguration represents a hard blow for the district. The merchants of the rue de Rivoli hoped that frequentation of the Samaritaine would revive activity at half mast since the launch of its titanic construction site and revalue its business assets. Below ,photo from the roofstop of the Samaritaine in the glory days!

The complex will be backed by a 72-room palace operated under the Hôtel Cheval Blanc brand, another subsidiary of the LVMH group, the Samaritaine must establish itself as the shopping destination for visitors to Paris. More than 600 brands will be distributed there, most of them from LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton and Celine. The basement is devoted to cosmetic brands, a guilty pleasure for tourists when shopping in the capital.

The official webpage is by the management group DFS part of LVMH here:

The LVHM webpage on the Samaritaine in English:

Update, the place is open but not the same, never the same, only same spot.

So,therefore, we need to wait a bit longer! Can’t wait really, will not be the first time that I go to Paris for a grand opening, and this one will be another one for sure. La Samaritaine brings lots of good memories, happier time, family time, and fun shopping. All will be relive again I hope. Hope you like the post as I do.

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

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