Archive for August 27th, 2021

August 27, 2021

The inner gates or portes of Paris!

Let me tell you Paris does not only had old gates around its walls but also it had gates inside city limits. I like to update this memorable post on the inner gates of Paris. Paris was surrounded by them and more or less the gates of today which are name in the boulevard périphérique are from this a reminder. However, there are still two gates in city proper Paris that are worth a detour to see them,enjoy the area and more. Well how about in a Monday talk about archways or gates in Paris, yes the city has two still standing in excellent condition. Lets talk a bit about them, and you should glazed at them as you walk by,and do walk in Paris its glorious. The portes de Saint Martin and Saint Denis. Another wonderful symbols of Paris.

The porte de Saint Martin ,was built in 1674 on orders of king Louis XIV to honor his victories at the Rhine and Franche Comté . It is found at the crossing of rue Saint Martin and rue du Faubourg Saint Martin in the 10éme arrondissement or district of Paris and the Grands Boulevards (blvd Saint Denis and Saint Martin), done ordered by Colbert to open up these boulevard while taking away some fortifications there. It is easily reachable on metro Strasbourg-Saint Denis ,line 4. The archway or gate or porte, is like an arc de triomphe of 18 meters high ( 59 feet) built with calcaric stone and marble. At the northern extremes you have sculpture on it the taking of Limbourg in 1675 as a woman seating near a resting lion. Then the defeat of the Germans , Louis XIV in Mars! wearing the emblem of France and resting on a germanic eagle to protect the family and an old man. At the extreme south ,you have the breaking up of the Triple Alliance, Louis XIV  as Hercules semi nude wearing its hairpiece and extending his body to fall at the feet of Acheloos and Géryon., The taking of Besançon  and again Louis XIV mounted  on a tree standing to a palmier and olive tree while receiving the keys from a woman having the knees to the floor.


The porte de Saint Denis, was done in 1672 ordered by king Louis XIV. It is best serve by the metro Strasbourg-Saint Denis, line 4. It is found at the crossing of the axis rue Saint Denis with rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, and the Grands Boulevards  (blvd Bonne Nouvelle and Saint Denis).  The gate archway or porte was also done to honor the victories at the Rhine and Franche-Comté under king Louis XIV, on the site of previous fortifications that were replace to allow the boulevards to be built by Colbert.  The dimensions are 24,65 meters wide( 81 ft)  by 25 meters high (82.5 ft) , and 5 meters thick (16.5 ft), the arch is 15,35 meters under to the top ( 50.7 ft)  and 8 meters to the bottom of the arch ( 26.4 ft). The small portes or gates have  3,30 by 1,70 meters (10.9 x 5.6 ft). The porte is a arc de triomphe modeled after that of the arc de Titus in Rome (see post). The description is of a great arch and two small doors link to footing glue to right footed bolders. On the extreme south it is at the same height the pedestals and the arch,you have the obelisks loaded with trophies at their feet  you see two sculptures seating representing the united provinces.  On top of the archway you see bas-reliefs decorative figures such as the Passage of the Rhine with allegoric figures of the Rhine and the defeated Holland on the trails of a sad woman. At the extreme north, you have Louis XIV in the path of the city of Maastricht. In the front of the archway you see the inscription in bronze as « Ludovico magno » (To Louis the Great alluring to Louis XIV).


Both of these gates were renovated last in 1998 ,and they look fabulous. The area in between is very bohemian ,nice, great to walk.  Some of the nice places to eat in this area, one of first ones visited in Paris back in 1990 was Les Comptoir des Artistes (then chez les artistes), 25 rue du Faubourg Saint Martin, for its lamb chops. Now unfortunately like many, closed; here for the memories , and Resto Da Mimmo, just Italian great at 39 blvd Magenta, tiramisu and girasole at tartufo is great stuff, (giant raviolis stuff with truffes), still open! Webpage:

By the Porte Saint Martin, you are well worth the trip to the theater of Saint Martin a wonderfully historical theater in Paris (see post). Further on the history of Paris in French but worth the effort to translate on the gates of Saint Martin and Saint Denis.

The history of Paris on Porte Saint Denis:

The history of Paris on Porte Saint Martin:

The Paris tourist office on the Porte Saint Martin

There you go folks, gorgeous Paris and another dandy monuments to indulge yourselves in your walks in the city of lights. Enjoy the Porte Saint Denis and Porte Saint Martin of Paris!

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

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August 27, 2021

The Palais Brongniart of Paris !!

Coming to Paris is always an event now really. After working in it for 9 years while living in Versailles, I came to see many wonderful things. Many of which are already very famous and busy… Some of these however, are tranquil places of history and no crowds, in fact they are not open to the general public. Some lucky residents do visit  like me visiting the Palais Brongniart. Let me update this post for you as you might be lucky to come in on a conference, exhibition or professional event or even in Heritage Days in France.


Funny thing is, while living near and working in ,never had the opportunity to visit it. Actually, at the time I was living there, you can still visited and only since 2008 is off the general public. Once out of the Paris region, and living in the Morbihan Breton, I had the opportunity to visit 4 times already!!!

The Palais de Brongniart is closer to home as a wine aficionado. At the Place de la  Bourse, been the old stock exchange of Paris. Metro Bourse line 3 and ordered built by Napoléon Ier in 1807-1826 (finished). The stock exchange was important by 1885 been the second in the world behind London, and the building also, house the Commerce exchange house.


I came here invited by the magazine La Revue du Vin de France , it is one of the great events of the year (see my post on the wine festivals of France, Foires aux vins) . This is an annual event and if you are close and love wines , absolutely do not miss it.  The LARVF magazine webpage for future info.

The area around is wonderful with gorgeous walking things to see such as the Opéra Garnier, Place de la République, Palais Royal, Louvre, Church St Eustache, Le Forum Halles, etc etc etc. A glorious walking tour of Paris indeed. It is the place of management review meetings for my last company every year in Paris! This was 4 years in a row!  The Brongniart Palace, formerly called the Bourse Palace, is a building surrounded by a Corinthian-style peristyle, which hosted the Paris Stock Exchange. It is located in the Vivienne district, in the 2éme arrondissement of Paris. Get there on metro line 3 Bourse.

In fact, an anecdote is that the palace of Brongniart is still very fond of the Bonaparte family and that is why it is mentioned on their imperial official authorize page Fondation Napoléon :

A bit of history I like

The French revolution, it was decided to move from the place that hosted the Paris Stock Exchange in the 18C, which had just experienced the great stock speculations under king Louis XVI. The Convent of the Daughters-Saint-Thomas, located in Rue des Filles-Saint-Thomas, which then stretches from rue Saint-Augustin to rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. Consecrated to the celebration of the Feast of Saint Thomas, these nuns gave themselves the name of this Saint. The Church, which was only completed in 1715, offered only as a curiosity the tomb of the Countess of Saint-Pol. Abolished in 1790, this convent became a national property. The convent is destroyed and begins in 1807 the construction of the Brongniart Palace on its ruins. Until the end of the construction, the Bourse was moved from the Galerie Virginie to a hangar located not far from the former convent.



In 1807, Napoleon 1er entrusted the construction of the building to the architect Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart . He wishes to set up an emblem of the power and achievement to which France has succeeded, like a Bourse de Paris. Brongniart did not have the opportunity to see his work completed, dying prematurely in 1813. It was finally Eloi Labarre  who took over the succession of Brongniart and completed the building in November 1825. However, the palace took the name of its first architect.

The palace is surrounded by 64 columns of 1 meter in diameter on 10 meters high: There are 14 on the facades, to the west and to the east, and 20 to the side. They are based on a continuous base of 2, 60 meters, which is reached by a wide porch of 16 steps on the two facades. Two colossal statues adorn each porch: it is Justice, Fortune, Abundance and Prudence, A circulation gallery reigns under the Colonnade, it  2.78 meters wide. The body of the monument is elevated from the ground floor and one floor up, each with 56 windows in porticoes.


The painting decorations of the ceiling in grilles representing the various cities of France, complemented by a frieze of garlands where are represented the different European stock exchanges.  There are statues of Justice and Europe, the Asia bas-reliefs above the gates.  Fifty years after its construction, the Paris stock Exchange became the second largest in the world after London and with a trend towards internationalization. The peristyle that surrounds the building accommodates the Coulisses, which compete with foreign exchange agents by negotiating the international values.


The market exchange shares is managed since 1987, at the banks ‘ premises, outside the Brongniart Palace. The latter then hosted for another twelve years the Contract futures contract on the CAC 40 index, the Matif, until 6 November 1998. The Palais Brongniart is currently a place of conferences, congresses, seminars, receptions, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, galas, fairs, exhibitions.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has more on the future events:

The official Palais Brongniart webpage:

The Paris tourist office on the Palais Brongniart

There you go, now you have a better idea of the wonders of Paris even if off hands to the public, there are hundreds like these, just to show Paris is a living open air museum and still many secrets.  The area is wonderful great for walks eat out and even shop; take a look. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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August 27, 2021

Church Sainte Elizabeth of Hungary in Versailles!

I am as usual trying to tell you a bit more than the palace/museum of Versailles.   The off the beaten paths found in my beloved city are numerous and merits a longer visit to see these wonders of my belle France. Therefore, let me bring on a bit long, sorry, post on a venerable building; the Church of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary very much linked to Madame Elizabeth, guillotine sister of Louis XVI!  The Church Sainte-Elisabeth de Hongrie is located at 25 rue des Chantiers very closed to another train station of Versailles, Chantiers, this one takes you to gare Montparnasse in Paris!

The layout of the Church Ste Elizabeth of Hungary in Versailles is of a basilical shape without transept visible from the exterior.The exterior main façade is advanced from an ancient porch surmounted by a triangular pediment. The steeple wall is pierced by a bay with giblets and topped by a clock and capped with a cross. The roof is double-sloped. Two lateral wings flank this main façade. While the interior is a building on two levels. The central nave is covered with a coffered ceiling. The high windows are in a full-hanger arch. The 3 aisles are separated from the central nave by square pillars. All   done in the Neo Classic style from the 19C.


The main construction stages were taken as first a chapel built in 1850 , which corresponds to the present central nave of 20 meters by 8 meters. Then we add the two aisles. The chapel became a parish church in 1863 and as early as 1864, the choir was enlarged. In 1890, the decorations were finished with the choir enlarged by embellishing it with a armature adorned with rinses, the whole dominated by the monogram of Ste. Elisabeth. Finished the decoration by painting a large canvas depicting the Miracle of roses. There was restoration work carried out in 2009-2010 which have brought to life a hidden backdrop. Now, with its belt panelling , its azure-blue coffered ceiling decorated with gilded motifs, with its superb choir and historical canopy in the aisles, Ste. Elizabeth’s Church has an undeniable artistic cachet.


A bit of history I like

The district of Montreuil in Versailles has its church: Saint-Symphorien (see post), which is in fact located in the Grand Montreuil. The so-called Petit Montreuil had no place of worship in the 18C, although this area was the subject of all the attention of the younger sister of King Louis XVI, Madame Elisabeth (see post on her). The Royal Princess lived on the level of the current Avenue de Paris, (Domaine de Montreuil/Elizabeth) which separates the Grand from Petit Montreuil. In the 19C, the district enjoyed a legacy of the former Princess who died on the scaffold (guillotine) during the reign of terror of the French revolution. The construction of a worship building was then started. It was the Church Saint Elizabeth of Hungary” in homage to Princess Elizabeth of Versailles!

Elisabeth of Hungary was a sovereign of Thuringia, a member of the Franciscan Third Order and recognized Holy by the Catholic Church. Her day is celebrated on the day of her death ,November 17. The Teutonic Order built a Gothic church destined to receive her relics. These attract large crowds making Marburg a large pilgrimage center of the Christian West. She was the daughter of King Andre II of Hungary (Árpád dynasty) and Gertrude of Andechs-Meran (Babenberg dynasty). Betrothed at four years old and married at fourteen years old to the Landgrave Louis IV of Thuringia, she was acquainted with the movement founded in Italy by Francis of Assisi, to which she adhered from the bottom of her soul. The couple is very united and had three children, Elizabeth dies at 24 years old.

With Saint Elisabeth of Hungary the Christian hagiography has built a character of a perfection rarely reached. In the golden legend , one reads that, daughter of an illustrious king of Hungary, she had been raised in the veneration of God and disdained children’s games. At the age of five, she had so much pleasure in praying in the Church that her companions were unable to get her out. When she was playing, she was always seen running next to a Chapel to be sure to get into it more easily. Of all that was given to her, she reserved the tenth part to the poor. When she arrived at the age of marriage, she married the Landgrave of Thuringia. Which was pretty good dough, tells us the legend, to all endure the mania of his wife: incessant devotions, fasting, mortifications, offerings of her clothes, preferring the dry bread to the sumptuous dishes of her husband’s table, etc. The legend still adds to the altruism: she fed the poor, dressed those who went naked, burying herself the beggars and pilgrims, wore the children on the baptismal fonts, sewed their swaddling clothes, spun the wool with her maids, sold her ornaments to feed the poor when the wheat was missing; She built a large house at the foot of the castle to greet the sick, coming to visit them every day, distributing gifts, care and holy words. All called her the mother of the poor!

However, the Landgrave of Thuringia went on a crusade and died there. Having become a widow, Elisabeth was expelled from the castle by the parents of the deceased who accused her of being dissipating and prodigal. After wandering, depressed, in the countryside, she was received by her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg… who wanted to remarry her. She did not have the time: the body of her deceased husband came back from the Holy Land and the bishop had to let her go. Elizabeth wore the religious habit, lived like a poor, even refusing to return to the castle of the King of Hungary. Her life of humility continued. Serving the poor. She received two thousand marks in dowry, distributed some to the indigent and built a large hospital in Marburg with the rest, dedicating all its activity to the sick.   The life of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary-in her absolute altruism-is one of the most incredible ever written. She can be represented either as a princess or as a Franciscan tertiary. When she is portrayed as a princess, she wears a crown on her head and in her hands a book where two crowns are laid. These can represent her royal birth, her austere piety and her abstinence, or be understood as the three knots of the Franciscan cord representing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. She holds by hand a alms, a jug, a basket of bread, fruit and fish; It can also have an apron with roses. She is one of the main characters of the opera by Richard Wagner Tannhäuser (Dresden 1845); as well there is an oratorio by Franz Liszt about the legend of Elisabeth of Hungary.

A bit on the religious significance of this  Church Ste Elizabeth of Hungary  and Madame Elizabeth. Madame Elisabeth died in the smell of holiness. According to Madame de Genlis, a rose smell spread over the Place de la Concorde after her exécution. Her cause for beatification was officially introduced on December 23, 1953 by Cardinal Maurice Feltin, Archbishop of Paris, after being declared, the same year, Servant of God by Pope Pius XII, acknowledging by decree the heroic of her virtues, of the only made her martyrdom. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, reactivates the cause of her beatification in 2016, Abbé Xavier Snoëk, parish priest of the Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hungary, being appointed postulator of the Cause, and recognises in May 2017 the Association of the faithful promoters of her cause. On November 15, 2017, Cardinal Vingt-Trois, after the opinion of the Conference of the Bishops of France and the Nihil obstat of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, in Rome, hopes that the trial will lead to the canonization of Élisabeth Philippe Marie Hélène de France dit Madame Elisabeth, sister of king Louis XVI. 

The official Church Saint Elizabeth

There you go folks, another dandy historical monument of my Versailles. A pretty Church Ste Elizabeth, worth the off the beaten path trail to see it. As well as a beautiful story of holy saints one done ,and the other coming.  Enjoy the other Versailles.

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

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