Archive for July 8th, 2021

July 8, 2021

The Institut du Monde Arabe of Paris!

Now this was a chance to see something different. I was in a group that held an event here and I was invited! Lovely to see things not shown to the general public if only memorable as could not take pictures. However, some I did and would like to update this older post in my blog. The wonderful Institut du Monde Arabe of Paris! or the Arab World Institute.

Ok so this is not really a museum or it can be used as such, its a window to the Arab world so much in the French psyche from even colonial times. The place was visited by me a while back, and it was a pleasant experience. If we take from this place any lessons is that we can live together with differences and respect. I like to tell you a bit more on the Arab World Institute of Paris.

L’Institut du monde arabe (IMA) or the Arab World Institute is a Parisian cultural institute dedicated to the Arab world. It is located in the heart of historic Paris, in the 5éme arrondissement, on the place Mohammed-V, between the Quai Saint-Bernard and the campus of Jussieu. The Foundation act was signed on February 28, 1980.


The Institute is supported by a foundation created jointly by the French Republic and the following States, all members of the Arab League: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Djibouti, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen (at the time the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen and the Arab Republic of Yemen).

The north façade is turned towards the historical Paris, it symbolizes the relationship to the ancient city, present in a allusive way on the facade. The southern facade takes up the historical themes of the Arabic geometry since it is composed of 240 moucharabiehs. The latter are equipped with diaphragms which can open and close; This was initially to be done according to the Sun, in order to fulfil the role of thermal regulator, but the photocells charged with driving this device showed failures, so that the opening and closing are now every time change.

The permanent collection are divided into three floors and offers visitors:

7th floor: The Arab world before the A.H.;

5th floor: The Arab-Islamic world;

4th Floor: The expansion of Islam: India, Iran, Turkey.

Temporary exhibitions present to the general public the heritage of the Arab countries, from prehistory to the present day. The Library of the Institute of the Arab World (BIMA) presents, through its encyclopaedic and multilingual collections, the Arab culture and civilization. It is thus part of one of the objectives set by the IMA: to develop and deepen in France the study, the knowledge and the understanding of the Arab world, its language, its civilization and its development effort. There is also a youth library for young audiences up to 12 years old.


The institute also has: performances; activities for young audiences,  A bookstore; a smoking room; An audiovisual room where you can see the news of Arab countries and films; A learning center for the Arabic language ;  A gourmet restaurant with a view of Paris (wonderful) ; A store where artisanal objects are sold; The museum Mobile Art, given by Chanel.

In 2016, it opened an antenna at Tourcoing (nord 59). Settled in the former swimming school, rue Gabriel-Peri, with a space dedicated to a permanent collection, a language centre and a space devoted to small forms of shows and lectures.. Webpage:

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and it is an eye opener are:

The Official Institut du Monde Arabe

The Paris tourist office on the IMA

There you go folks, another unique off the beaten path visit to do in my eternal Paris. The IMA is very educational, historical with a beautiful architecture, worth the detour. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

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July 8, 2021

A park or better a garden of Ranelagh!

And back at you on my eternal Paris. So much to see and enjoy in the most beautiful city in the world!!! I have many posts on Paris and this is one of the nicest simply because it is in my favorite part of the city away from my old jobs areas. Let me tell you about a park and garden of Ranelagh in the 16éme arrondissement.

On my Paris swing, let me tell you a bit more on a wonderful seldom visited park, or garden , me think both of Paris 16éme. This is actually my fav area if had the money to live there comfortable, consolation lived in Versailles by Notre Dame, not too shabby anyway! Love the lived in V and worked in P ! This Jardins du Ranelagh sits in my fav area or neighborhood of Muette in the 16éme district of Paris. Tucked right behind the Chaussée de la Muette and the BP boulevard périphérique between the Porte de la Muette, and Porte de Passy, and just by my fav restaurant La Gare!

The jardin du Ranelagh is a green area of the 16éme arrondissement named after Lord Ranelagh, a noble, politician and English diplomat. It is an English garden designed by the engineer Jean-Charles Alphand, the main designer of the Parisian parks and woodlands under the Haussmann era. its puppet theater is famous. On its western edge is the Marmottan Monet Museum. The streets immediately adjoining the garden are also known to include the largest concentration of embassies and international institutions of Paris.


The Petit Ranelagh was a fashionable place at the end of the 18C. It was opened in 1774 in the gardens of the Castle de la Muette, as a guard of the gate of Passy, with an entrance to have the land dedicated to dances on the gardens of the castle de la Muette and to have a café and restaurant built in imitation of the gardens of the Ranelagh created by Lord Ranelagh, for his gardens of his house in Chelsea, in London and opened since 1742.

During the French revolution, the park or parc de la Muette became a place of the muscadine culture and the counter-revolution, after, in 1790, the first anniversary of the oath of the jeu de paume was celebrated there, at a banquet in which Danton and Robespierre participated. Its success was not disproved during the consulate and the Empire either. The ball was requisitioned by the Russian detachments during the occupation of Paris in 1814-1815, and the ballroom was transformed into a stable and then a hospital. In 1818, a hurricane destroyed the buildings.

What is the park garden of Ranelagh.

The six-hectare public garden was created in 1860 by Baron Haussmann in honor of Lord Ranelagh. It extends and reshuffles the pavement and the parc de la muette .Set in a triangle, the present garden has been embellished over time by many sculpted groups, for example: a Cain in marble of Joseph Caillé dating from 1871, childish figures like the Fisherman and Meditation, from early 1880’s, and a large group dedicated to Jean de La Fontaine, circa 1900, which was endowed with new bronzes in 1984. And around the statue was my fav area for walks with my boys. In the early 20C, rare tree species were also planted in addition to the ash and chestnut trees. In the garden there is a puppet theater,including the Clown Buffo and a merry-go-round which is one of the oldest in Paris. With wooden horses, it always works on the crank, and very popular with Parisien families of the district including my boys!! When younger….

paris jardin du ranelaigh marionnettes theater 28apr12

The garden was bordered, to the north, until about 1920, by the closing of the parc of the Castle de la Muette, former Royal domain which belonged since 1820 to the factor of pianos and harps Sébastien Érard and then to his heirs. On its southern side, until 1985, by the railway line of the petite ceinture (small belt), of which the Gare de la Muette served the garden. Now a famous restaurant mentioned in my blog several times La Gare and many friends taken there including those from the old defunct travel forum site virtualtourist... The garden is accessible by the Chaussée de la Muette (extension of the Rue de Passy), the Avenue Raphaël and the Avenue Ingrés. It has the rare peculiarity for a Parisian park to be open as well during the day as at night. It is thus frequented at all hours by the residents who come to take a walk and some air.

paris jardin du ranelagh statue 28apr12

The garden is bordered by Avenue Raphaël to the east, the Boulevard de Beauséjour to the south and the Allée Pilâtre-de-Rozier to the north. The embassies of Gabon, Afghanistan, Madagascar, India and the Sudan and the OECD (taken tours here very nice old Rockefeller house) have an entrance to the garden.   This site is served by the Metro stations La Mute (line 9) and Ranelagh (line 9). The bus line RATP 32 (link between the Porte of Auteuil and the Gare de l’Est) passes by the Chaussée de la Muette. The train station RER C of Boulainvilliers also is   located nearby.

The city of Paris on the Ranelagh:

The Paris tourist office on the Ranelagh:

There you go folks, a nice stroll park, beautiful garden and chic upper neighborhood of daily Parisian life. You will do wonders to eat at La Gare ,(sadly closed) the old Gare de la Muette train station now a huge restaurant with brunches on Sundays on all you can eat scheme. I need to go back again…!!

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

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July 8, 2021

Place Hoche, Versailles!

Now I need to update this older post on one of my emblematic streets of Versailles, and very near my former home. The area is sublime to say the least with views of the palace and collegiate church in my former district of Notre Dame. Hope you enjoy the post on the place Hoche as I.

I have to come back to my gorgeous historical Royal and Imperial Versailles. It needs to be seen more.   And no, it is not a thing to do from Paris, it is on its own thank you. Ok ok, I am biased, even thus work in Paris for several years and visit often, I used to lived in VERSAILLES for 9 glorious years! It will always be in my mind. One more reason why I think buddy papa Hemingway was short as he should had written a second volume on France is a mouvable feast ! Ok enough of my propaganda lol! Let me tell you up close and personal about a square, street very close to me where I spent all those wonderful years!!

The Place Hoche sits in the middle of the street of the same name that has a direct view from the Notre Dame Collegiate Church pass the square and pass Avenue Nepvue then into Avenue Rockefeller and  into the Place d’Armes in front of the Palace/Museum of Versailles. One of the most pleasant walks to do in my Versailles and plenty of architectural and tidbits historical facts along the way.  A fact, if the French constitution needs to be modified, change, altered in any way, the entire French government needs to deliberate here including the President, making Versailles the de facto capital of France by Constitutional rights.


Located in the heart of the Notre-Dame district, the place Hoche is marked by history, and part of these squares of Versailles laden with history and ignored wrongly by visitors/tourists. As said in previous posts, the city of Versailles conducted a survey on visitors and found that 98% only come here for the palace/museum only!!!  Located in the perspective of the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church, it was drawn up in 1671 and was at the time called Place Dauphine. It was the first in France to adopt an octagonal shape. It shows well as to the trio of Avenues  Sceaux, Paris and Saint-Cloud  that linen up from the palace into the city, for the appeal of the king for a thoughtful planning.


You will find looking carefully at the square at No 4 a former hotel Jacques Bénigne Bossuet , Bishop of Meaux and preceptor of the Grand Dauphin in 1674 as well as advisor that became known as the Eagle of Meaux  (dept Seine et Marne 77 my dear late wife Martine birthplace). And it was the building of the local  Chamber of Notaries in 1832.  At No 6 you see the Hotellerie de la Belle Image (beautiful Image), where in 1783 or 85 , the Countess of La Motte had an appointment with the Cardinal de Rohan to be handed over the necklace of Queen Marie Antoinette who had never ordered the jewel. The scam was discovered shortly thereafter, under the restoration of the Café des Gondoles. At No 7 you will see the residence of the architect who created the Théâtre Montansier, Jean-François Heurtier. At the corner of the square accommodated a hotel built in 1769, whose façade with the mention “to the Queen of France” is one of the most remarkable of the square. It was the home of Jean-François Heurtier also inspector General of the buildings of the king. At No 9: house of Jacques Rayer, Cook to the General Common, then in 1869  to the chief medical officer of the Hospital of Versailles and his son-in-law the historian Emile Bourgeois, member of the Institute de France.

Another peculiarity of the square, it allows Versailles to find shade under its large chestnut trees, identified among the remarkable tree of the town alongside the sycamores of the city/town hall. At the center of this square is the statue of Lazare Hoche, General at the age of 25 and famous citizen of Versailles. Louis Lazare Hoche, born June 24, 1768, at 18 ,rue de Satory. He died on 19 September 1797 in Wetzlar,Hesse (Germany). He is buried in Weißenthurm, a small town near Koblenz.  The place of the monument General Hoche there is called  “Auf dem Frauenberg”. Which the help of a dictionary tells me means Pilgrimage Church of Frauenberg. German speakers can correct me ,welcome. One of his sad actions concerning the region where I now lived in Brittany and the Morbihan dept 56 in particular is that he not only  repressed the British landings, but also, of the immigrant Bretons entering by the Quiberon Peninsula, commanded by de Puisaye, Hervilly and Sombreuil, from 23 June to 21 July 1795, and defeated the Chouans (rebels peasants against the French revolution). He was,  then obtained command of all the armies of the West, including those in the Vendée.


The place Hoche was the place of public access to the wheelbarrows and blue chairs in the 18C and the capital executions during the French revolution .  The guillotine made seven victims here. The statue to Gen Hoche was erected in 1836 and a public garden in 1853.. Finally, during WWII, the place Hoche was marked by the arrest and deportation of seven resistance fighters aged 22 to 50. A plaque hung on a wall reminds us of their sacrifice.


My Versailles ,le quartier Notre-Dame, my neighborhood where I lived. Terrible in describing things but this is gorgeous place to live in. The neighborhood or district here is the new place after the Church and it grew quickly between the avenues leading to Saint-Cloud and the Clagny lake (now the market of Notre Dame). Destined to welcome the population in the service of the Court and the King, it is drawn by the architect Louis Le Vau and his partner François Orbay. The place Hoche (former place Dauphine) connects it, in 1674, to the castle, according to a device that will be permanently established as a model of urbanism. A bit later, in 1686, the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart was responsible for the construction of the Notre-Dame Collegiate Church, which would be held as a Royal parish (where the birth and baptismal and some marriages records of the Kings descendants are still kept in the crypt in the basement!)

The city of Versailles Notre Dame neighborhood

Across the square cutting it thru it is the Rue Hoche , before known as Place Dauphine, Place de la République, Place de la Loi, Place de la Colonne, Place Napoleon,and finally Place Hoche under  Louis-Philippe in 1832. Some interesting things to see are at No 5 , the temple or Protestant Church since 1820 ,with a renovation done 1880-1882  at 3, Rue Hoche. Also the Ancient Chapel of the Reposoir of the Procession of the Holy Sacrament under the former regime, and a high place of the Theophilanthropists’  under the Revolution.  At No 16 the house ordered built by André Le Nôtre, master gardener of  Louis XIV. We have difficulty proven he lived here but know he sold it in 1686, and before Mirabeau lodge here in 1789.  Along the street, well sorry but my most frequent place was the pharmacy at 6 Place Hoche lol! However, there are nice restaurants here such as the Au Chapeu Gris, and Bagelstein bagels place and delicious.

In all a wonderful city , and do come walk it is a lot more than the palace, history of France before your eyes. Enjoy it as much as I did/do. Crowds of course, we lived with it for 9 years I am sure you can live it for a day!  VERSAILLES!

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

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