Archive for January 4th, 2021

January 4, 2021

Paris: Sainte Trinité Church!!

Bear with me as this is another memorable spot in my eternal Paris. I am updating the post from 2018 in my blog. I used to come to work to Paris by gare Saint Lazare and as time allow , walked around the area. Finally, heard about this church and walk to it, saw it briefly and then came back with the family. Memories of Paris at the Church de la Sainte Trinité.

In my continuing saga to present to you places of history, and architecture and religion very close to the membrane of Paris, I present to you the Holy Trinity Church or église de La Sainte Trinité very near the gare Saint Lazare train station along rue Saint Lazare  This is a very popular area with visitors and locals alike as the train station Gare Saint Lazare is very near and good transports on RER, Metro, and Bus abound. It is very central to see all of Paris.

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The église de la Sainte Trinité, was built between 1861 and 1867 in a Second Empire period. It is an imposing renaissance building to impress the crowds with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide and 30 meters high with an imposing 17 meters wide nave. It has a metal frame and the aisles were done as not to disturb the faithful during Mass. It has excellent illumination by having the stained glass windows in simple white glass. The side chapels have paintings from the 19C with a look of theatrical interiors.

So here is my story on the église de la Sainte Trinité de Paris.

The Holy Trinity Church is at the square or Place d’Estienne-d’Orves in the 9éme district or arrondissement and taken the space of the quartiers or neighborhoods of the Chaussée d’Antin and Saint Georges at the crossing of rue Blanche , rue de Clichy, rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, rue Saint Lazare, and rue de Châteaudun. It gives the name to the metro station of line 12 Trinité-d’Estienne d’Orves.

As like many other Churches of Paris the Church of the Holy Trinity was built during the Second Empire (Napoléon III) the architect was Théodore Ballu who also did the Basilica of Sainte Clotilde. The Church of the Holy Trinity was finished in 1867,in an imposing neo renaissance half Italian half French style that created an attraction in the neighborhood. The style was done as well mentioned by many as a basilical type as the Church of Saint François-Xavier (see post) with a metallic backbone as only one block of iron could allow such proportions ,and the sides were kept narrow as not to bothered the visitors during Mass.  The Church has a wonderful lighted clear view thanks to the stained glass windows in white with only the abside using colored windows with history. The lateral Chapels have a series of religious paintings from the 19C. The theatrical look at is vastness inside has given contemporaries now to call a masterful construction.

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The choir is raise to follow the declination of the land surrounded by two tribunes with columns ;this space was hoping the visit of the Emperor Napoléon III but he never came. The nerf is long of 17 meters decorated with sculptures , statues, and vases all below a vaulted ceiling of floral and arabesque paintings. The monumental painting on the arch that falls on the choir was consecrated to the Holy Trinity. Many specialists call it audacious because the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are holding hand. The Church remained loyal to the practices of the times such as the proclamation of the Church’s dogma, and apparitions of the Virgin to reinforce the beliefs.

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The bell tower of the Church of the Holy Trinity is at 65 meters high, the bells are in octagonal form finish by a dome in the French renaissance style. The façade in front of the Place Etienne d’Orves has a heterocyclic style typical of the Second Empire period as many train stations done at the time. The three statues in the front illustrate the Holy Trinity, and four statues in the extremes of the façade represent the four cardinal virtues; below is the Force with a sword on her right side.

During the French revolution the pulpit of the Church of the Holy Trinity served as a revolutionary tribunal of very dreadful decisions. In the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 the Church becomes a hospital. The nave is big and covered in wood, gave a good hospital during the siege of Paris. In the winter of 1870-71 the heating system of the Church was not enough so temporary heating chimneys were installed that stained the ceiling. The parishioners are squat on the floor attending the wounded with everybody in the vicinity helping out even a kitchen and laundry was set up in the Crypt.

In March 11 1869 the funeral of Hector Berlioz was held here. The parish Church was consecrated in 1913 and it was the first one in France to be given to the community of Emmanuel in 1986 to help out the clergy there and still does today. The webpage for the community of Emmanuel is here : http://emmanuel.info/

The organ was built in 1869 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll a renown organ maker, very badly damaged during the events after 1870 it was completely rebuilt by Cavaillé-Coll and Alexander Guilmant.  This later composer created most of the works performed in the organ and the Church is a site to listen to very good concerts even today.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Church of the Holy Trinity official webpage: https://latriniteparis.com/arts-culture/

the Paris tourist office on the Church of the Holy Trinityhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71806/Paroisse-de-la-Trinite

The Catholic churches of Paris webpage on the église de la Sainte Trinité:  https://www.paris.catholique.fr/-sainte-trinite-1272-.html

You will have a blast visiting and walking the area very lively and visited part of Paris with many things to see nearby such as the Opéra Garnier and the department stores on bd Haussmann. Of course, the Church of the Holy Trinity is superbe, my old neighborhood! Hope you have enjoy the post.

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

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January 4, 2021

The magnificent Arc de Triomphe!

And if I gave you the Champs-Elysées why not the Arc de Triomphe. Updating this post as well with new text. One of the symbols of Paris and a wonderful view from the top, however, my biggest thrill is to drive it around lol!! 12 avenues in a traffic circle and no accidents seen by yours truly over the years! A wonderful experience !!! I know I see your eyebrows already but is a piece of cake!! Hope you enjoy the post on the magnificent Arc de Triomphe!

Now let me bring you to the history of a wonderful symbol of France and especially Paris. I go by here often, walking underneath and especially with my car love it! I come from ave Foch into the circle and it is always a thrill; not for the small town drivers ok… I like to tell you a bit more about the Arc de Triomphe, the area is in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris in the quartier or neighborhood Champs-Elysées.

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The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is the official name but popularly known as simply the Arc de Triomphe. The construction of it was decided by emperor Napoléon Ier, and started early in 1806  finishing it in 1836 under Louis-Philippe, king of the French. It is raise in the center of the Place Charles-de-Gaulle square (formerly the Place de l’Étoile), at  2,2 km from the Place de la Concorde. Its height is at 49,54 meters, wide of  44,82 meters, and deep of  22,21 meters, under the arch the height is at 29,19 meter and its width at 14,62 meters.  The small arch has 18,68 meters high by 8,44 meters wide.  The monument weights in at 50 000 tons and 100 000 tons, if taking into account the foundations that are reinforced 8,37 meters deep.

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The former Place de l’Étoile created a huge traffic circle of 12 avenues in the 19C under the direction of the city planning of Baron Haussmann, these avenues came in as a star around the square especially Avenue Kléber, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Avenue de Wagram , and the best known Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The station metro line 1 Charles de Gaulle – Étoile as well as RER A is there.

a bit of history I like

Emperor Napoléon Ier, after the battle of Austerlitz made a declaration to his soldiers that will only return to Paris under an triumphant arch ,and with an imperial decree ordered the building of the Arc de Triomphe to perpetuate the souvenirs of the French army victories.  The first stone was placed with an inscription on August 15 1806 and covered with a bronze plaque.

King Louis XVIII restarted construction in 1824 after a period of neglect on previous regimes. By 1830, Louis-Philippe king of the French (not King of France) took over the construction with now a spirit of reconciliation  putting together the armies that fought between 1792 and 1815.  It was then Louis-Philippe and Adolphe Thiers (president of the III republic) that decided the themes choices and the sculptors such as the Le départ des Volontaires, or commonly called the  La Marseillaise, of François Rude , and the Le Triomphe de Napoléon by  Jean-Pierre Cortot.  More spectacular is the frise on top of the summit divided into two parts ; on one,  Le départ des Armées (departure of the armies) and the  Le Retour des Armées (return of the armies) with a large central scene on the glory of the nation. The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile opened on July 29 1836 on the 6th anniversary of the event known as the  Trois Glorieuses. The revolution of July after that of 1789 bringing on a new king Louis-Philippe Ier,king of the French or the monarchy of July succeeding that of the Second Restauration. This revolution took place in three days so therefore known as the Trois Glorieuses or Three Glorious days. There was more than one revolution in republican France! and 5 Republics so far.

At the bottom level you find the tomb of the unknown soldier of WWI  with an eternal flame that houses the flag of the fatherland like at Rome the first since the one in Vestales in 391.  It commemorates the memory of the soliders dead in combat for never  off; it is replenish each evening at 18h30  by the Association of Veterans or victims of war. There is a renewal of an exposition from the 1930’s in a museographic style museum in a multimedia showing entitled Between wars and peace, with a history lesson of the monument and its evolution to present day.

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A bit more on the description/architecture I like

It has four high walls put in sockets filled with stones and 18 meters high on each side,these are: Le Départ des volontaires  of 1792 ( La Marseillaise). Representing the union of all French to defend the Nation and leaving in combat with a diversity of soldiers such as revolutionaries, Bonapartists, and Royals , young and older. Below ,there is Victory guiding them in its wings. The architecture is mix such as Antique, and Romanesque. The victory or Le Triomphe de 1810; the Resistance or La Résistance of 1814, by Antoine Étex, and the Peace or La Paix of 1815, by Antoine Étex as well.  There are six lower level sockets with more significances such as retracing the scenes of the Revolution and Empire. They are below the arch and on the sides. These are: Les funérailles du général Marceau  September 20 1796, by H. Lamaire (facing right south view), La bataille d’Aboukir July 25 juillet 1799, by Seurre aîné (facing left south view),La bataille de Jemappes November 6  1792, by Carlo Marochetti (facing east), Le passage du pont d’Arcole November 15 1796,by Jean-Jacques Feuchère (facing right north view), La prise d’Alexandrie July 3  1798, by John-Étienne Chaponnière (facing left north view), La bataille d’Austerlitz  December 2 1805, by Jean-François-Théodore Gechter (facing west view), and the Mariage de Napoléon and Marie-Louise (1810).

Some of the events happening here that I like are

The occasion of the marriage of archduchess  Marie-Louise and the entering to Paris by Emperor Napoléon Ier with a model to give it a more artistic smaller size  by which the emperatrice will past under it. During the transfer of ashes of Napoléon, December 15 1840 with the funeral procession under the Arc de Triomphe. The body of Victor Hugo in funeral watch over the night of May 22 1885, before burrial at the Panthéon. In August 7 1919 an airplane of Charles Godefroy, passed in between the arches with a Nieuport 17 biplane.

There are curiosities such as two time per year the Sun is hidden in the axe of the Champs-Elysées, a person on the Avenue des Champs Elysées the solar ring is also visible for a few minutes  under the Arc de Triomphe.  And on the opposite way from the Porte Maillot, the Sun is rising two times per year as well . The timings changes with the year but you can catch up in the tourist office for the dates;next usually around November.

So, therefore, this is a unique visit, you can walk underneath the Arc de Triomphe, and visit the museographic, and also go to the top level for wonderful views of Paris especially that towards the Place de la Concorde and beyond.  A special treat visiting Paris, for me the thrill of getting around that circle yeah!! in a car!!!

Some web pages to help you plan your visit to the Arc de Triomphe are here:

The official webpage of the Arc de Triomphe monument: http://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/#

The Paris tourist office on the Arc de Triomphe: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71396/Arc-de-Triomphe

Official site of the Eternal Flame under the Arc de Triomphe in French : https://www.laflammesouslarcdetriomphe.org/

Another merry go around tour of a vastly popular monument of the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. No more words are needed just come over.

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

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January 4, 2021

The most beautiful avenue in the world, Champs-Elysées!

Of course, I need to revise this one, it is a needed element in my blog in my eternal Paris. I did the post couple years back or more but now is the time to updated. Indeed, the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Avenue des Champs-Elysées! Of course, I have other posts and pictures of sights on it in my blog!

Ok so this one has been beaten around the corners a lot. Everyone comes here need to visit it and they do in hordes of visitors, not to mention the poor souls who need to work here. So rather than tell you about how wonderful the stores are, the restos around it and the monuments , I will just concentrate on the history I like mostly, which is one reason to love Paris. History is in every stone, brick, glass, around you. And my dear late wife Martine first went out here when girlfriend!!!She worked in the 10éme.

The most beautiful avenue in the world is a lot. OF course, its the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.  It was once call that and more ,however, many businessess come and gone and the highest price street in the world as well has taken some of the glitter from it. Too touristic ,but hey that is why Paris is so popular; the most visited city in the world again! by the official UN WTO (United Nations, World Tourism Organisation) ,where all country tourist board reports to.

Let me give some basic transportation stuff.  I love the bus because you stay above ground to see all the beauty of Paris, and the 27 and 73 especially are a tourist paradise; the buses passing by the avenue are the   22, 28, 42, 72 and 73.  Then, you have the metro  with stations  Concorde, Champs élysée – Clémenceau, Franklin Roosevelt, George V,  and Charles de Gaulle – étoile on lines  1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 13. Right there is an RER A transilien station too, that can even connects to Disneyland Paris!

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (locals call it simply Champs-Élysées, and even shorter for Champs) is almost 2 km long linking the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles-de-Gaulle in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris. It is very visible and spectacular in the view of the Jardin des Tuileries. It takes this name from the place of hell where the souls rest in the Greek mythology, so they tell me….

A bit of history I like

The origins of the Champs-Élysées are simply a swampy area and not inhabited in ancient times; then came Marie de Médicis and decided to fix this even away from the former Palais des Tuileries, along the Seine river, with an area bordering on trees. This road was call the cours de la Reine (or road of the queen) taken inspiration from the promenade des Cascine in Florence opening in 1616.  Later king Louis XIV, around 1670, ordered André Le Nôtre, the gardener of the Château de Versailles and  the jardin des Tuileries, to continue the arrangement of lands there tracing an axis from the main central body of the Palais des Tuileries,from the current Place de la Concorde all to the current rond-point des Champs-Élysées-Marcel-Dassault, in the direction of the mountain or montagne du Roule that was at the current Place de l’Étoile (Charles de Gaulle).  It was called the Grand Cours or big road  to distinguished it from the cours de  la Reine, or even the big alley of the Roule or  grande allée du Roule , or the avenue de la Grille Royale  (1678), or avenue du Palais des Tuileries  (1680), and the Champs-Élysées, name that show up for the first time in 1694 but that it was given official name by 1709  as told in the Royal accounts.

By the 18C the new avenue went out further than that of the ramparts of king Louis XIII and reached the level of the current rue Marbeuf. The big sewer that followed this trace into a small stream going down to Ménilmontant and into the Seine river by the current Pont de l’Alma.  This continue until what was called the étoile de Chaillot or the star of Chaillot finished in 1724.  By 1774, it was time to enlarged the avenue to the west until the Seine river by the level of the Pont de Neuilly, on the current avenue de la Grande-Armée in Paris ,and avenue Charles-de-Gaulle in Neuilly-sur-Seine. To improve the security on the Champs-Élysées, a post of Swiss guards was set up in the barrier of Chaillot in  1777.

There are four fountains almost identical at the entrance  such as the fontaine des Quatre Saisons, aka fontaine du Cirque, done in 1839. Decorated with a group of four children, symbolizing the seasons.  The  fontaine de Dianefontaine de Vénus aka fontaine des Ambassadeurs, both done in 1840, and the  fontaine de la Grille du coq, without sculptures done also in 1840.  Marly’s two horses, a pair of wild horses on wheels, are held  by naked men. Ordered from 1739 by  king Louis XIV done  from 1743 to 1745 located at Place de la Concorde, at the entrance of the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Two other groups of horses held by men and gods are at the entrance of the Tuileries, ordered by king Louis XIV for the entrance to the watering-water of Marly, represent the fame and mercury straddling a winged horse, Pegasus. The original marble models have been replaced by cement statues in the Louvre museum.

It was here on the  Champs-Élysées that the carriage was sent to bring the Royal family to Paris on October 5 1789. It was here also, that the Royal family was brought into Paris on June 25 1791 after trying to escape by Varennes.  During the reign of terror ,the Place de la Concorde was the scene of executions by the unfamous guillotine.

There are other more gentle fame to the Champs-Elysées , when dotted with elegant cafés such as the old Café des Ambassadeurs,of which plans drawing was done by none other than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, rebuilt in  1841,  this cafe developped to welcome from 1897  spectacles reviews until finally demolished in 1929 to be replaced by the Theater or  Théâtre des Ambassadeurs , and the restaurant of same name;; today the Espace Cardin (theatre de la ville de Paris) ,(see post).

There were others like the  traiteur Dupe, opened in  1800 atracting all the celebraties of the day starting by Paul de Barras,located in a pretty white house with green awnings that todayis the famous itself Ledoyen.  The  Champs-Élysées becomes an elegant street , passage point to take some air in the country towards Longchamp (bois de Boulogne). Emperatrice Marie Louise d’Austria, makes her entry by here in 1810 and also her exit in 1814.  The parade on allied troops have the visits thereafter of the Tzar of Russia Alexandre Ier, king of Prussia, Frédérick-Guillaume III ,and the Prince of  Schwarzenberg  near the Palais de l’Élysée.  It was king Louis XVIII that renovated this area and opened the Avenue Gabriel; where the USA embassy is today.

In 1848 a great banquet is held at the Champs-Élysées, that would the start of the 1848 revolution. During the Universal Exposition of 1855, the Champs-Élysées became a model and during the Second Empire a period of great events and splendor.  The avenue bordered with luxury mansions, becomes the high of the Parisian elegance. To prepare for the Universal Exposition of 1900, the Palais de l’Industrie, destroyed in 1896 to leave the space to built the Petit and Grand Palais. This allows the linkage of the Hôtel des Invalides to Palais de l’Élysée by the pont Alexandre-III. On August 26 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Gen Charles de Gaulle comes here followed by the tanks and armored vehicules of the 2nd Armored Division of Leclerc.

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This is the beauty and brief history of this wonderful magnificent avenue to the world. I like to get some readings and tell you some of the most elegant and historical buildings found here. My list of favorites

At No. 25, Hotel de la Païva. This particular hotel, was built between 1856 and 1866 for Esther Lachmann, marquise de Païva, called La Païva , famous courtesan of the Second Empire. The hotel, famous for its interior decoration, is one of the best preserved examples of private architecture of the Second Empire. After the death of the Païva, the hotel was sold to a banker in Berlin and then, in 1895, to the restaurateur Pierre Cubat. Since 1904, it houses a private circle, the Travellers.  No. 30: Home of the Earl of Monte Cristo in the novel by Alexandre Dumas. No. 37 (corner of  rue Marbeuf): Residence of Beatrice Charlotte Antoinette Denis de Kérédern de Trobriand . She was the daughter of the Count Régis de Trobriand , a naturalized French aristocrat and general of the Union armies during the American Civil War, and Mary Jones, wealthy heiress, daughter of Mary Mason Jones, Grand-aunt of Edith Wharton. While her husband lived in New York, the Countess of Trobriand resided most of the time in Paris.  The Countess lived separate from her husband after an episode of theft and corruption. This episode inspired Maurice Leblanc to do a chapter on the novel  entitled “The Blue Diamond” of  Arsène Lupin against Sherlock Holmes (1908).

At Nos. 52-60: Originally built (1933) in the place of the Hotel de Massa for the American bank Citybank of New York, this building subsequently hosts a Virgin Megastore store (from 1988 to 2013), as well as a Monoprix. It is renovated from 2016 after the closure of the Virgin Megastore in order to host in March 2019 a store of Galleries Lafayette. Great spot was able to see it before the virus, webpage: https://www.galerieslafayettechampselysees.com/

At No. 70: Vuitton Building (now the Marriott Hotel). Facade of late Art nouveau style built in 1914. At no 76-78; Arcades of the Lido. The building raised at this address has on the ground floor a shopping arcade which gives on one side on the Champs-Elysées and on the other on the rue Ponthieu. The arcades of the Champs-Elysées,of  luxury shops, were built in 1925.  The arcades were inaugurated in  1926. Some marble columns, coming from the old Hotel Dufayel, are used in the realization. The basement of the passage housed the Lido until 1976. Inaugurated in 1928, it was originally a beauty salon with a worldly swimming pool. Transformed into a cabaret in 1946, they were the origin of the current name of the passage, the “arcades of the Lido”.  At No. 79: The Queen night Club, between 1992 and 2015. No. 92: During the Nazis occupation, the seat of the magazine Der Deutsche Wegleiter für Paris, intended for occupation troops. The building houses on the ground floor the famous brasserie Fouquet and, on the upper floors, the hotel Fouquet Barrière, inaugurated in 2006.

At No. 103: Élysée-Palace. Hotel de Voyageurs built in 1898 for the company of sleeping wagons. This was the first of the great Hotels of travelers built on the Champs-Elysées. It was soon followed by the Hotel Astoria (1904) and the Hotel Claridge (1912). Th original decor was destroyed by the Crédit commercial de France, which acquired the building in 1919 to install its headquarters. At No. 114: Alberto Santos-Dumont , an aviation pioneer, inhabited this building in front of which he landed in 1903 his airship.

At No 116 bis-118 was the seat of Radio-Paris under the Nazi occupation, in the building of the post office. In 1977 , it became the Cabaret Lido (that was before at No 78).  At No 119 : Hôtel Carlton, built in  1907. In 1988 it was the HQ of Air France. At No 120 , James Gordon Bennett jr, owner of the New York Herald  lived here.  At No 122 , the Count Henry de La Vaulx  a pioneer of Aviation lived here from 1898 to 1909. At No 124 (corner of  2, rue Balzac) mansion built before 1858 for Santiago Drake del Castillo, one of the rare examples of Second Empire mansions bordering the avenue. At No 133, the  drugstore Publicis , was the first drugstore to open in Europe on October 16 1958 in a building from early 20C.  It was destroyed by fire in 1972 and rebuilt in glass and steel. At No 136 (and 1, rue Balzac) mansion from 1910, today is the car dealer Peugeot ;keeping the deco in the rooms of the first floor (2nd US). At No 144  entrance to the Tunnel or tunnel de l’Étoile, connects the avenue de la Grande-Armée passing underneath the Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile. At No 152 (corner with rue Arsène-Houssaye), here is the site where the Hôtel Musard, Mme de Loynes had her literary meeting early in the 20C  with the critic Jules Lemaitre. And onwards on the avenue….!

I hope I gave you a good glimpse of this Avenue des Champs-Elysées , the very essence of Paris and recently a push to bring it back to its glory days from the noise and elements at night. Hope you enjoy the post and of course a must to walk it in Paris!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Paris tourist office on the Champs-Elysées: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73130/Avenue-des-Champs-Elysees

The Paris tourist office on what is around the Champs-Elysées:  https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/walks-in-paris/paris-and-its-neighbourhoods/paris-eiffel-tower/On-and-around-the-Champs-Elys%C3%A9es

The Committee on the Champs-Elysées to showcase and support businesses of all sorts in French: https://www.comite-champs-elysees.com/

A private webpage on Information on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées on businesses and events even if the info can be outdated: http://www.xn--avenue-des-champs-lyses-sccd.com/

There you have it a bit more on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées! A must at least once to get the frenzy feel of Paris.

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

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