Archive for July 14th, 2021

July 14, 2021

The Place Vendôme of Paris!

Now this is classic Paris, one of the reason many come to my eternal Paris. I happenned to be lucky to work steps from it and walked thru it every day for several years working in Paris! It is a sublime square to be in just to say you were there and maybe can afford some shopping ! This is the Place Vendôme of Paris! Let me tell you a bit more on this updated older post.

So we are coming into more chic ,cache places in my eternal Paris and also closer to my work area there. This is a very famous square, and the world goes by it but seldom you see the immense number of faboulous mansions around it. I know but can’t show you that most of the part covering the side of the Jardin des Tuileries is own by the Sultan of Brunei!  This is ultra chic and the inside of some of these buildings which unfortunately can’t show any photos is just too gorgeous.

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The Place Vendôme is located in the 1éme arrondissement of Paris, and at the north side of the Jardin des Tuileries (see posts), south of the Opéra Garnier (see post) and east of the Madeleine Church (see post). It is one of the most famous places in Paris and considered one of the most luxurious in the world. It was called Place Vendôme from the 17C from the Hôtel de Vendôme, which was located there.

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A bit of history i like!

It was formerly the Place Louis le Grand and, originally, the Place de Conquêtes (conquests). It was given the name Place des Piques (spades) during the French revolution. It was named Place Internationale in 1871, during the second commune of Paris, during which the Vendôme column was destroyed by the Communards, who saw it as a symbol of Napoleon’s tyranny and militarism. The Anarchist painter Gustave Courbet participated in his provocative fall during the commune of Paris. He was heavily condemned to rebuild it and restore it at its own expense. The colonne (column) was inspired by the Trajan column of Rome, and done here  to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz, in its summit the statue of Napoleon dress as a Caesar was made in 1863.(of course)

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In 1685, the idea to built it was though of when Louvois purchased the Hôtel de Vendôme and the Convent of the Capucines, which were located north of rue Saint-Honoré. On their site, others propose to built a large rectangular square, entirely open on Rue Saint-Honoré and destined to be lined with large public buildings, such as a Royal Library, Hotel de la Monnaie, Hotel des Academies, Hotel des ambassadors, etc. At the bottom of the square, the façade must be pierced by a monumental arcade that will leave the convent of the Capucines, which is rebuilt north of the new square in 1688. In 1699, the public programme of 1685 was abandoned in favour of a private operation. The King sells the land to the city and the facades, which had been built for the inauguration, are demolished in order to reduce the right-of-way of the square by twenty meters on each side. The new square is surrounded by private hotels behind uniform façades, and designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

In 1764, the fair Saint Ovid moved to the square before moving in 1771 to the place Louis XV, later place de la revolution and finally Place de la Concorde. From 1793 to 1799, the square took the name Place des Piques. In 1806, the Rue de la Paix was pierced at the site of the Convent of the Capucines, and the column Vendôme was raised in 1810 at the site of the statue (destroyed) of Louis XIV, The column is surmounted by a statue of Napoleon in Caesar. This first statue was suppressed under the monarchy of July in 1831 to be replaced by a statue of Bonaparte in little corporal style. A copy of the original effigy was restored in April 1863 by a replica. The column was shot down in 1871 by the Communards, and once restored, was re-established in 1873.

Not to mention too much in detail as it will be very long , here are the buildings in the Place de Vendome: No. 1: Hotel Bataille des Francès; No. 3: Hôtel de Coëtlogon, No. 5: Hôtel Orsigny, No. 7: Hotel Lebas de Montargis, No. 9: Hôtel de Villemaré, No. 11: Hôtel de Simiane, No. 13: Hotel de Bourvallais, (Minister of Justice) No. 15: Hotel de Gramont; No. 17: Hotel de Crozat; No. 19: Hotel of Evreux; No. 21: Hotel de Fontpertuis; No. 23: Hotel de Boullongne; No. 25: Hôtel Jacques V Gabriel No 2: Hotel Marquet de Bourgade; No. 4: Hotel Heuzé de Vologer, No. 6: Hotel Thibert des Martrais, No. 8: Hotel Delpeche de Chamot, No. 10: Hôtel de Latour-Maubourg, No. 12: Hotel Baudard de Saint-James, No. 14: Hotel de La Fare, No. 16: Hotel Mouffle, No. 18: Hotel Duchy of Tournelles, No. : Hôtel de Parabère, No. 22: Hôtel de Ségur, No. 24: Hotel de Boffrand, No. 26: Hôtel de Nocé, and No. 28: Hotel Gaillard de la Bouëxière.

Before becoming a central place for  jewelry that we know nowadays, Place Vendôme is, with the Rue de la Paix, the epicenter of Parisian elegance for half a century, counting many couturiers or milliners. It is especially Charles Frederick Worth, inventor of haute couture, who gives his letters of nobility to the ensemble formed by the Rue de la Paix and the place that extends it. In 1858, Worth opens at 7, rue de la Paix. The first jeweller who settled on the square was Frédéric Boucheron in 1893.

Place Vendôme is accessed by the Rue de Castiglione (my work street!!) from the rue de Rivoli and the Jardin des Tuileries and by the Rue de la Paix from the Place de la Opéra. Gorgeous you need walk this area!

The official webpage of Place Vendôme in French: https://www.place-vendome.fr/place-vendome/

The Paris tourist office on the place Vendômehttps://en.parisinfo.com/transport/90844/Place-Vendome

One group that I need to tell even if cannot be visited itself, is the group of merchants of the Place Vendôme that look after its maintenance as a center of luxury and excellence in Paris, the Comité Vendôme!  The Vendôme committee has 107 members, such as Chopard, Thatcht, Dior, Chanel, Buccellati, Goyard, Bouchern, Guerlain, Breguet, Christofe, Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Luis Vuitton, de Grisogono, Patel Philippe, Piaget, Schiaparelli, Van Cleef & Arpels, the Meurice and the Ritz Paris hotels… All governed by a common value, Excellence. The webpage in English: https://comite-vendome.fr/en/accueil-english/

There you go folks, Paris is excellence, good life, good living and class, my eternal Paris has a lot more always more, after all squares such as the Place Vendôme is what makes it the most beautiful city in the world!

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

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July 14, 2021

Place des Victoires of Paris!

And here i am updating older posts of my walks in my eternal Paris. This is a wonderful square of many and love to walk by here. Let me tell you a bit more on the Place des Victoires of Paris!!

Well here I am got tangled up in the streets of Paris syndrome for a while. So many of them that are just gorgeous, and so little written on them.  My walks are eternal ever since stopped by the city in 1972 on a visit from Madrid where I was living at the time. It has continued since getting to know my late wife Martine in 1990, and then moving permanently to France in 2003 (already French since 2000).  The knowledge of history,architecture, and traditions is huge here and I am so lucky to come in contact with it, thanks to my dear late wife Martine.  Let me tell you about another dandy square in my eternal Paris. The Place des Victoires is especially, we can say an off the beaten path square but so much punch into it and especially if you are into high fashions.

The Place des Victoires or victories dedicated to king Louis XIV, it is, with Place des Vosges, Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde, one of the four Parisian Royal squares. It is located a short distance from the Palais Royal and straddling the border between the 1éme and the 2éme arrondissement. The rue Croix des Petites Champs takes you to the Louvre museum and the rue de Rivoli.  This is a circular square, about 80 meters in diameter. Starting from the north, and clockwise, the square gives access to the following streets: Rue Vide-Gusset, the only street that does not leave the square in the axis of its radius;  Rue Aboukir; Rue Étienne-Marcel; Rue de la Croix-des-Petites-Champs; Rue Catinat; and Rue La Feuillade.

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The square is devoted to the military victories of king Louis XIV. The square is temporarily renamed Place of Victories-National in 1792. The creation of the square is traditionally attributed to the initiative of the Marshal of the Feuillade and the city of Paris, but was undoubtedly initiated by the Bâtiments du roi (buildings of the king). Anyway, in order to erect a statue to the glory of the Sovereign, the Feuillade bought the Hotel de la Ferté-Senneterre which was between the old Paris and the newly-built up district of Richelieu and had   the hotel demolished. The statue was inaugurated only a year later and the frame was completed after the sculpture. However, the architect’s project was not a perfectly circular square. On about a fifth, the circle was interrupted by the string of a bow, in the middle of which was the street of the rue des Fosses-Montmartre, today rue Aboukir. A traffic lane took this quasi-tangent, formed by the rue Vide-Gousset and Rue du Reposoir. Two other streets end up in the square: rue de La Feuillade and rue de la Croix-des-Petites-Champs. None of these three streets being in the prolongation of each other, all the prospects culminated in the statue of the king, in a space enclosed by the buildings. The piercing of the rue Étienne-Marcel in the middle of the 19C changed the plan of the square: it is now crossed by part in the north-west/southeast axis and the Rue du Reposoir no longer extends the street rue Vide-Gousset. The arcades have now been replaced by shops, mostly luxury ready-to-wear. During the three glorious days, the way was the theater of confrontation between the insurgents and the troops.

From its creation to the present day, the center of the square welcomed four successive monuments, including three statues: 1686-1792: Bronze statue on foot of Louis XIV; 1792-1810: Wooden pyramid; 1810-1822: Statue of General Desaix; And since 1822: equestrian statue of Louis XIV. The original statue represented Louis XIV on foot. The king was figured in a coronation suit, stomping on a Cerberus, representing the defeated Quadruple Alliance. Its base included four bronze characters, allegorically representing  the nations defeated by Louis XIV and a different feeling (resignation, dejection, anger and hope), Bas-relief and rave inscriptions on The King’s military glory after the signing of the Nijmegen Treaty. These decorative elements are now exhibited in the Puget Court of the Louvre Museum. The inauguration took place on March 28, 1686; The set, including a pedestal, was then 12 meters high ,four lanterns, which were located at the four corners of the square, burning permanently to illuminate the statue. The buildings consisted of three columns of variegated marble supporting a large faunal of navy placed on a base of red marble. Between the columns, six bronze medallions with a diameter of 77 cm were suspended. In 1699, the lanterns were extinguished and in 1718 the ensemble was dismantled. Four of the columns are found at the high altar of the Cathedral of Sens. The medallions were then dispersed, only a few have reached us and are now presented at the Louvre Museum.

In 1792, the statue of Louis XIV was taken down by the revolutionaries. It was melted to produce cannons and replaced by a wooden pyramid bearing the names of the citizens who died on the day of August 10, 1792. The King’s walking statue was framed at the foot of the base of four large captives; these were removed in 1790 and transported to the courtyard of the Louvre. After being moved in the course of the century , they are currently in the Puget courtyard of the Louvre museum. King Louis XVIII will order a new equestrian statue of Louis XIV , representing the king in a Roman Emperor’s outfit, riding a prancing horse. The white marble pedestal will receive two reliefs representing the passage of the Rhine and the institution of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis. This was inaugurated on 15 August 1822. For the rider’s and the horse’s attitude, the sculptor was inspired by the famous bronze rider of Falconet, representing the Tsar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. The sculpture was restored in 2005.

According to the legend, Napoleon I gave the pyramid wood to the guard corps, which would have used it to burned it for heat.   The emperor inaugurated the monument on August 15, 1810, national and religious day, after ten years of the work of an ageing Dejoux. The statue was 1,5 meters high, on a six-meter pedestal. Desaix’s arm was the southeast, that is to say both Italy and Egypt, the two campaigns in which he was succesful. A pink granite obelisk was added to the composition. The nudity created a controversy and the statue was hidden behind a wooden palisade after a month, then definitively removed from the square in 1814. Its bronze was later recast to make the equestrian statue of Henri IV on the Pont-Neuf bridge.

The buildings of the Place des Victoires are old mansions or have been built as such:  Odd side:: No. 1: Hotel Charlemagne; No. 1a: Hotel de Montplanque; No. 3: Hotel de Soyecourt; No. 5: Hotel Bauyn de Pereuse, n ° 7: Location of the hotel where the financier Samuel Bernard died, in 1739, and No. 9: Hotel de l’Hôpital. Even side: No. 2: Hôtel Bergeret de Grancourt; No. 4: Hôtel Bergeret de Talmont; No. 4bis: Hotel de Metz de Rosnay; No. 6: Hotel de Prévenchères; No. 8: Hotel Pelle de Montaleau, No. 10: Hotel Gigault de La Salle and No. 12: Hotel Cornette.

Today, the Place des Victoires has become the place of choice for haute couture boutiques. And a great place to have a walk indeed in my eternal Paris.

The Paris tourist office on the Place des Victoires: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/90956/Place-des-Victoires

There you go folks, again , another marvelous area to walk and see and be seen in Paris, very chic indeed, cache. Hope you try it and enjoy , the Place des Victoires.

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

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July 14, 2021

Place du Tertre of Paris!

Well this is one of those places sorry that over the years have been abuse from the tourist point of view. It is of course, very popular and overloaded with visitors. To me it has lost the charm of old as when I first came to see it back in 1990. However, did wrote a post on it and would like to updated for you and me. Hoping you enjoy the Place du Tertre of Paris and Montmartre.

As any visitor/tourist would attest, coming here is like a pilgrimage while in Paris. I admit came here in 1990 for the glamour in the travel books as my French family was not taken none of this. It immediately struck as an overpopulated square loaded with visitor/tourists walking around and so popular! Many cheap portraits made in China but signed by locals !indeed. It was a one time impression and I believe been back maybe once after that. Montmartre has better places to be ,but if you are here for only a visit or is your first time then do come if simply for the bragging rights ! I was here!

A bit on the history of the Place du Tertre of Montmartre…Paris.

The place du Tertre is located on the Butte Montmartre, in the neighborhood or quartier of Clignancourt of the 18éme district or arrondissement. It is at 130 meters above sea level. It is named because of its situation on the heights of Montmartre.  It corresponds to the center of the old village of Montmartre, a few meter from the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur and the Church of Saint-Pierre in Montmartre (see posts). This site is served by the metro stations Abbesses (line 12) and Anvers (line 2), as well as by the Montmartrobus. I have come and parked at the parking Anvers 500 meters from Sacre-Coeur at 41 boulevard de Rochechouart.

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With its numerous artists erecting their easels each day for tourists, the Place du Tertre is a reminder of the time when Montmartre was the place of modern art: At the end of the 19C and at the beginning of the 20C, many painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec , Picasso, Modigliani and Utrillo lived there. This square, which is the center of the old town of Montmartre, was already formed in the 14C and bordered by the closing wall of the Montmartre Abbey. It was on this square that the sinister forks of the abbesses of Montmartre stood.

At the end of the siege of Paris, (during Franco-Prussian war) the National Guards stored part of the 171 cannons that were stocked on the mound. On March 18, 1871, General Lecomte attempted to remove them, causing a riot that will be at the origin of the commune of Paris of 1871.   On December 24, 1898, an oil car driven by Louis Renault, its builder (and later Renault automobiles), reached the Place du Tertre.

Remarkable buildings on the Place du Tertre are: corner of Rue du Mont-Cenis: Hotel Boya.  No. 3: Old city /town Hall of Montmartre. No. 6: Restaurant A la Mére Catherine, founded in 1793. No. 9: Maison de Maurice Douard. No. 15: It is this location that was located the Telegraph which was experimented in 1822. Actually we ate at Chez Eugéne 17 Place du Tertre on a memorable lunch way back on that special year as above. We had come back and for the memories here is their webpage: https://chezeugene-paris.fr/en

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To know more about the Place du Tertre, check out the Paris tourist office: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/91816/Place-du-Tertre

A local webpage on Montmartre Addict ( a load of info on the butte!) in French shows plans for renovation on the square are planned delay by the virus but ongoing, its about time something is done: https://www.montmartre-addict.com/article/projet-damenagement-de-la-place-du-tertre/

And there you go folks, another place ,square, street to get lost in eternal Paris and dream on even if with plenty of help around you. Enjoy the place du Tertre at least once!

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

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July 14, 2021

Gare Chantiers train station of Versailles!

Ok will update this older post in my blog on one of the train stations of my dear Versailles. There are five and have posts on all of them or most me think;;; however, one of the least visited was the post herewith of the Gare Chantiers of Versailles! Really it was my sons who used it and especially one to accompany his girlfriend to it from school….Let me tell you a bit on the train station ok bear with me.

Ohh yes even Versailles has places not been too much or nothing at all. This one is in another land, the district of Chantiers and it even has a train station! I will tell you a bit more on the Gare Chantiers of Versailles.  The only thing that brings me here is that my sons took it to go to Montparnasse area for video games competitions and one of their girlfriends came in and out by here to their high school where they met. I just sometimes will bring them over by car that is all. However, it is a major train station of Versailles and worthty of its mention. Especially if you are in the Montparnasse area of Paris, take the train there to Chantiers and then the phebus bus network all over even to the Palace. Or just walk is not far either just a bit over 21 minutes.

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The Gare de Versailles-Chantiers is on the line of Paris-Montparnasse to Brest and of the line of the Grande Ceinture or grand belt of Paris, located in Versailles, district of Chantiers, in the Department of Yvelines no 78 , in the Île-de-France region.  It is in the center of a seven-branched railway star layout connecting it: towards Paris: At the Gare Montparnasse (Transilien N and Direct Line Montparnasse-Chartres), at the Gare d’ Austerlitz by Pont du Garigliano in the north-south direction and by Massy-Palaiseau in the south-north direction on line RER C, at the station of Gare Saint-Lazare via la Défense (line Transilien U), by the connection of Viroflay which joins the line of Saint-Lazare at Versailles-Rive-Droite; towards the southwest, in Rambouillet, Chartres, and beyond to the west of France; To the West: in Granville (line of Saint-Cyr to Surdon) and Mantes-la-Jolie by the line of Plaisirs-Grignon in Épône-Mézières; and towards the east, in Massy-Palaiseau and Valenton of the Grande Ceinture.

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A bit of history I like

The history of the gare Chantiers of Versailles has already begun when the opening of the station of Versailles-Chantiers was done on 12 July 1849. Its name of “Chantiers” work construction area ,comes from the fact that during the construction of the Palace in the 17C, the district in which it is located was composed essentially of constructions dedicated to the size of the stones.  This new station is characterized by a convex façade, which is part of the classical architectural tradition with curved bays, pilasters and cornices. A few touches of modernity are read in the low wings that flank the central building body symmetrically. The buildings located at the back are treated in the style of the 1930’s.   A bridge crosses the tracks to reach the observation post. It contains the stairs that serve the quays.   At the inauguration of the buildings, in 1932, the press bursts with enthusiasm, journalists wrote: It is the most modern and daring of all the major stations of France by its conception.

It is a train station which has a passenger building with counters adapted for disabled people, automatons Transilien, automatons, the information system on the traffic of real-time trains, elevators, Device for controlling expanded notes and magnetic loops for hearing impaired persons. A free Wi-Fi network is available since 2016.   It is equipped with four central platforms framing eight lanes. A passenger hall overlooking the tracks transversely allows access to the various quays.  A new footbridge with a length of 65 meters for a width of 10 meters was inaugurated on April 5, 2016 to a hundred meters to the west of the existing bridge, this gateway is accessible by a new hall, connected itself to the existing hall by a large gallery on the front of the current station. The designers chose to maintain an architectural style of the 1930’s in harmony with the existing building and to use the natural light for the lighting in a maximum way, with large windows and a rectangular dome above the New Hall.

It is a station still in constant renovation but the trains continue to come. It is as said easly reach from Paris with good link up transportation to the Palace/museum and the city. However, the best is to walk it. From the Chantiers station in front of Place Raymond Poincaré you come into Rue des Etats Généraux and turn left.  Continue straight into Avenue de Paris and turn left. Continue straight into the Château de Versailles. I never measured it of course but google tells me is about 1.6 km or 21 minutes walking.

The SNCF gare et connexions webpage on the Chantiers train station: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frdht/versailles-chantiers

The Transilien regional transports webpage on the Chantiers train stationhttps://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/8739300

Lots of renovations and works around it and inside since my times there with new undeground parking garage! A bus terminal with spaces for 14 bus stops! It will be nice to be back and see all these changes. More on the Grand Paris Express webpage in French: https://www.societedugrandparis.fr/gpe/gare/versailles-chantiers

There you go folks, an alternative to come to beautiful Versailles. Hope you enjoy it as I telling you. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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