Avenue de Paris and the D10 of Versailles!

So this is the big one in my dear Versailles; many walked it without realising the history and of course only visit the palace/museum of Versailles….However, there is a lot more in the royal city, capital of the Yvelines dept 78 in the region of Ïle de France in my belle France! Let me update this post and tell you a bit more on the Avenue de Paris, the D10 of Versailles!

I believe left out the main street, and my favorite way to drive to Paris on a weekend family visit nowdays as it was the limits of my neighborhood in Versailles.  Let me tell you of a road warrior story of my beloved Versailles. And what way to tell you is about a historic road and street, the Avenue de Paris in Versailles aka D10 national road today. The old way Castle to fortress, Versailles to the Louvre when kings were around.

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The Avenue de Paris is one of three lanes that radiate in a fan from the Place d’Armes, in front of the Château de Versailles, with the Avenue de Saint-Cloud in the north and the Avenue de Sceaux in the south. The Avenue de Paris, in the center, is located in the axis of the castle. It heads southeast for about 1 500 meters, before oblique eastward for 1 km to place Louis-XIV where it ends. It is extended, on the other side of the square, by the Avenue du General-Léclerc. With 90 meters wide, the avenue is one of the widest in France. It takes its name from the fact that it leads towards Paris, passing through Sèvres. It is also the old Royal route to the Louvre that still can be done today! This is my beloved Versailles!  The Avenue de Paris coincides with the D 10 road for most of its course.  In Versailles, the Avenue de Paris borders the following buildings (many if not all with posts in my blog) of simply my preference:

Grand Ecurie , including the facades on the Cour d’Honneur and on the avenues of Paris and Saint-Cloud, the facades of the two pavilions and the grids bordering on the place d’Armes; the Petite Ecurie, between Ave de Paris and Avenue de Sceaux. At no. 6: Pavilion of the Constables, at no. 19: former stables of Madame Du Barry, built from 1773 by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for the last favorite of King Louis XV; she wanted to shelter the staff and to store the crews of her teams in this building adjoining the pavilion it had acquired in 1772 (see No. 21, below). The works were suspended at the death of the King in1774 and completed according to the plans of Ledoux by Jean-François Chalgrin for the Comte de Provence, brother of King Louis XVI, then titled Monsieur (future king Louis XVIII), owner of the stables from 1775, and at no 21: former Madame du Barry Pavilion, at no. 22: Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs,here having welcomed the meeting of the Notables of 1787, that of 1788 and above all the Estate General of 1789, the last of the former regime. At no. 57: laiterie de Madame (old Dairy of Madame). At no. 111: Former music Pavilion of Madame, the Pavilion of Music of the Countess of Provence, which is located at Avenue Chauchard (at the level of no 111, avenue de Paris) , the government regional of the Prefecture of Yvelines; Domaine de Montreuil aka Domaine de Madame Elizabeth, (sister of Louis XVI).

versailles-domaine-madame-elizabeth-acr-st-mar13

Entering Versailles from Paris on this road D10 you will see upon arriving at the city two enclosures houses or gates. There were the fees/taxes generators for allowing you to enter the royal city, there are still there! These two pavilions framing the Avenue de Paris symbolically sign the entrance into Versailles, located there since 1787, the date of annexation to Versailles of the towns of Montreuil and Porchefontaine. The two existing grant pavilions were built in 1824, and connected by iron Gates that closed the avenue. Real treat to drive by now for free! But this old road has a lot more history outside the limits of Versailles. This is a leasure driving trip from Paris (used to be from the Louvre) anywhere you can link up with it to the Chateau de Versailles. 

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With the transfer of the court and political power to Versailles in 1684 by king Louis XIV, the road between the Louvre and the new castle was experiencing intense activity. Previously a part of the national road No. 10, called Route de Versailles or Route de la Reine (queen’s road), an order of 1877 gave it its present name of Avenue de Versailles. All along the Seine and then some; you can see some interesting buildings before you leave Paris such as No 123 Avenue de Versailles now occupies the location of the hotel of Hortense Schneider , famous interpreter of  Offenbach. At no 142-Jassedé Building, in Art nouveau style, by Hector Guimard with a remarkable staircase. And at no 211bis ,the painter Albert Marquez lived here in 1903-1904. He painted the Avenue de Versailles and the district of the Point-du-Jour.

Interesting to know that leaving Paris is called Avenue de Versailles and entering Versailles is call Avenue de Paris! But go on read more and continue our leasure drive of France’s best two cities combination of course I can say so !

In Paris, the route of Versailles runs along the right bank of the Seine river, crosses the neighborhoods of Passy and Auteuil in the 16éme arrondissement; before arriving in Boulogne-Billancourt. Much later, in 1860, the limits of Paris are now fixed to the location of the old ramparts and doors(portes) that allowed to enter the capital. In 1877, the Route de Versailles was renamed Avenue de Versailles before it uncorked to the site of the former Porte-de-Saint-Cloud. It is after crossing the Porte-Saint-Cloud that the D 910 actually starts on entering Boulogne-Billancourt in the form of a long avenue that bears the name of General Leclerc since 1945.

The avenue leads to the Sèvres bridge that crosses the Seine river. Originally built of wood in 1685 with the first route of the road to Versailles, the bridge is rebuilt under the Empire first in stone before giving way to a vast metal work in 1963. Just before embarking on the bridge, a stele recalls the memory of General Leclerc and the 2nd Armoured Division whose squadron commanded by Captain Morel-Deville crosses the Seine here before entering Paris on August 25, 1944; for its liberation of WWII.  On the west bank of the Seine, the D 10 enters Sèvres by road km 11 by taking the route of the royal road opened in 1686 at the bottom of the valley of Marivel brook. About this period, it was through this still embryonic route that the materials needed for the construction of Versailles were transported from the port of Saint Cloud. On the right, you can see the national porcelain Manufactory installed here by the Marquise de Pompadour in 1756. This vast building is still home to a school, workshops and an important ceramics museum of Sévres.  The main street crosses Sèvres by climbing along the Parc de Saint-Cloud. The initial royal road of 1686 was enlarged under Louis XV. This street was the scene of many historical events such as the march of the Parisians on Versailles on October 5, 1789 and the passage of the royal family back to Paris the next day. The Grande Rue de Sèvres is still in its 18C configuration, more really adapted to the growth of traffic. It will be considerably enlarged in the 1970’s at the cost of the demolition of many buildings.

The road, in fact a long commuter road, continues towards Chaville at road km 15 (a nice picturesque train station here always love to see it), the last town of Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 crossed by the D10 road (these sections call D910 same road). The royal road, then national, first crossed the Bas Chaville under the name of Grande Rue before becoming rue Roger Salengro, in memory of the minister of the popular Front tragically disappeared in 1936. The main street, which became Rue Salengro, in 1960. On leaving the city, at La Pointe de Chaville , sharp turn, there is still the junction between the royal road and the route du Pavé des Gardes. This route linking Paris to Versailles by the Forest of Meudon had the advantage of being the shortest way between the two cities but at the cost of steep passages particularly dreaded in winter. Essentially used by the royal army, to whom it owes its name, the pavement of the guards was impracticable by the drawn cars forced to take the royal road in the valley of the Marivel.  The road continues towards Viroflay at road km 18 and enters the Yvelines (dept 78 !). The D10 crosses this department created in 1964 on more than 60 km, Versailles and Rambouillet are the main cities crossed.

Becoming Avenue Leclerc since the liberation, the D10 passes under the imposing railway viaduct also called the arcades because of the height of its arches. The work of art inaugurated in 1852 supports the extension to Chartres of the rail line Versailles-Rive Droite (my old train station) connecting Versailles to Paris. The Viroflay railway viaduct straddles the D10 since its inauguration in 1852. Leaving Viroflay, the D10 abruptly changes its physiognomy to the approach of Versailles at road km 20!. The modest road is then transformed into the majestic Avenue of Paris leading directly to the Palace/Museum’s Place d’Armes. In the place d’Armes, it converges with the other two avenues, that of Saint-Cloud and that of Sceaux. Until the French revolution, it was here that the Great Royal Road ended, which still put Versailles at nearly three hours of the Louvre..!!! And yes we can do it in less than an hour today!

Of course, if like me you have to drive around here all the time, you can continue once facing the Palace/museum to your left going around the Palace direction Saint Cyr l’école along the Orangerie and the Piéce d’eau des Suisses pond all the way to Saint Cyr l’école and Les Quatre-Pavés-du-Roi in Montigny-le-Bretonneux. And sightseeing galores! just to reaching Yvelines 78 dept territory moving on to Rambouillet etc. And you can drive today and do a fairy tail trip by Royals while by passing some wonderful historical and stunning architecture monuments of many periods,not to mention mingle up a bit with the locals! Enjoy the roads of my belle France! My eternal Paris, and my royally sublime Versailles! Many of the buildings mentioned here have already post on them in my blog before.

There you go folks, a dandy avenue of Paris in my sublime Versailles! Hope you enjoy the ride and try it sometime is awesome! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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