Archive for February 21st, 2022

February 21, 2022

The Haussmann mode de Paris !

Let me tell you about a fact you see all over Paris and beyond in my belle France. This is the Haussmann mode de Paris or the architecture way to build a city ; the most beautiful in the world ! I like to tell you more about this phenomenon in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

What would be Paris without Haussmann ? The famous Baron gave the city its visual present, with its great boulevards and characteristic buildings, He created the axes of wonderful walks and driving with landmarks to help you guide you walking and driving ; this is the part you and all see. Napoléon III has given already the city some improvement to make Paris the capital of Europe. He created or ordered the first grand axis east west with the rue de Rivoli. Later the prefect Rambuteau ordered the expropiation of certains buildings to make room for wonderful streets such as the rue Rambuteau or the rue de la Bourse ; he created a public garden in the ïle de la Cité. Finally, it was Napoléon III who gave all the political and financial power to the Baron Haussmann to make Paris what it is today,. It took him 16 and a half years to do it, and was done from June 1853 to January 1870, when Haussmann was dismissed from his post.

Haussmann program was simple, needed to make Paris more functional with a better circulation. He put in place three network of communication. The first one, a north south axis from the Gare de l’Est to the Porte d’Orléans. Another axis east west from the Place d’Etoile to the Bastille by the rue de Rivoli, In the center ,the Ïle de la Cité and the Halles. The second network was done between 1858 and 1860 to make circulation from the center of Paris and opening roads from the Place de la République, Place de l’Etoile, Place de Chaillot, and rue de Rome. In 1860, Haussmann annex the neighboring villages allowing Paris to double in size, and created the beltway to go around Paris without passing by the small streets.

In all 137 km of new boulevards were created as well as squares to regulate the circulation such as the Place de la République, Daumesnil, Bastille Nation, etc. Before the old buildings demolished they were photograph for the history. The boulevards in angle with a circular motion in the form of a Y such as the Church Saint Augustin or the fountain of Saint Michel. The demolition of buildings took off about 20000 and built 34000 !

From a small sewer network , he created 800 km of canals making it the biggest in the world ! A great project to bring water to the city with a system of aqueducts, bringing water to the houses for a small fee. Haussmann did not forget the theaters, cafés ,restaurants, libraries to make the walks more pleasants, 1800 hectares of parks, garden, green spaces as well as improvements to the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes, parks of Monceau, Montsouris and Buttes-Chaumont, as well as 24 squares in the city. The sidewalks, the paved streets, with lighting of gas. He created the Halles ,and bringing out wonderful commerce such as the dept stores such as the Belle Jardiniére in 1856 (closed 1972), Félix Potin in 1858 (closed 1995) , Printemps in 1865, and Samaritaine in 1869. The latter two still on today.

For all the above he had many detractors such as Jules Ferry who accuse him of enrichment, Emile Zola accuse him of cutting up Paris and finally Napoléon III dismissed Baron Haussmann in 1870 without given in for his honor naming the Boulevard Haussmann. These two had created a new city that has not change since 1870 with minor changes. The other great cities of France has copy his style as well as the great cities of Europe and America. He can be proud !

Anecdotes: See the visual from the Jardin du Luxembourg along Rue Soufflot to the Panthéon awesome see each time stopped my bus to my office there !! See the roofstops of Paris from the rue Lafayette ,see the Basilica de Sacre Coeur, see the architecture from the dome of the Galeries Lafayette my walks to work ! Or as well those of Printemps the most recognisable in the world, see the Wallace fountains, and the Morris columns, immerge yourselves in the bridge of the park of Buttes-Chaumont and the buildings of the rue Manin ! Ahh thank you M Haussmann, eternal Paris !!!

Georges-Eugene Haussmann was born in 1809 and was name prefect of the Seine in 1853 (dept that disappear in 1960 split with Paris and 3 other departments of the region). This position was equivalent to the Mayor of Paris today. He entered the Senate four years later and received the Legion of Honor. He was critized early on for his ambitions but nevertheless emperor Napoléon III name him a Baron. After 16 and a half years he is relieve of his post in 1870 blaming him for spending too much. After writing 3 books on his memories he died in 1891 without fortune. Making the enrichement accusations false! He is buried in the Pére-Lachaise cemetery, RIP.

France Culture on how Haussmann did it! in French:

The Paris tourist office on Bd Haussmann:

The official Napoleon foundation on Haussmann’s story:

There you go folks, another worthy recognition in my blog to one of the great ones of Paris. Paris and Haussmann goes hand and hand forever. Haussmann made Paris and Paris won’t forget Haussmann. Hope you enjoy the post as I and do come into Haussmannian Paris!

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

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February 21, 2022

The Seine,the best playwright and the best actor of Paris !!!

And here I go with another natural beauty of my belle France. What would be Paris without the Seine river, and what would have been the Seine without Paris! The two are together like a movie! I have written more on the Seine in my blog, this is another story in my black and white series, no pictures.. The Seine,the best playwright and the best actor of Paris!!!

I take you to one of the popular rides in Paris, the Batobus, with stops along the way from the Eiffel tower to the Jardin des Plantes or about 12 km in all. To navigate in the Seine is to offer Paris in cinemascope ! This is Paris, and the Seine is a big part of it, Hope you enjoy the ride as I

At the foot of Pont d’Iéna on the port de Bourdonnais is active, with the bateaux mouches and Batobus ready to go. One last look at the Eiffel tower and the esplanade du palais de Chaillot and we are off. The trimaran goes on slowly on the precious waters of the Seine river before you see on your right but rive gauche (left bank) the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and on the opposite the Palais de Tokyo with art contemporary. (see posts).

You see the Zouave on a pile of rocks under the pont de l’Alma to reminds us of the flooding levels when the water reaches its socks, The quai d’Orsay traversing a whole neighborhood with some high places of power, You see the Esplanade des Invalides, and the colonnade of the Assemblée Nationale. (see posts). Before it was the palace of Bourbon -Sicile built on orders of the daughter of Louis XIV, Duchess of Bourbon, and madame de Montespan , It is of course, Napoléon that we owe the building as it is today housing the representatives of the French parliament or congress. There are small boats alongside and it is explained these are the representatives that takes them to avoid Traffic jams.

We passed by the pedestrian passarelle Léopold Sédar Senghor (former Solférino) , linking the jardin des Tuileries to the musée d’Orsay, (see posts) .We stop at the quai Anatole France to see the museum Orsay,where after the universal expo of 1900 the train station was left abandoned. Before taking the boat again take a peek at the musée Rodin (see post) in the mansion or hôtel Biron (18C). Returning to the river, we see the big peniche boats, canots of the river firefighters the pleasure boats and the other bateaux mouches. All is water beautiful.

Then, you see the beautiful dome of the Institut de France (see post) where architect Louis le Vau raises it on the axis of the square of the Louvre, inside you see the Mazarin library and the five academies. In a green square corner you see the square du Vert-Galant with an equestrian statue of Henri IV at the Ïle de la Cité. The boat goes around it and passes under the Pont Neuf, the oldest in Paris even if translated means new bridge ! The construction of it took nearly 30 years between 1578 and 1607. The south flank you find the quai des Orfévres attach to the palais de justice at No 36. The Conciergerie remains of the palace of the Capetians and the Sainte Chapelle, magnifique done on orders of Louis IX or Saint Louis. (see posts).

You come to the boul’mich or boulevard St Michel to access the quartier latin or latin neighborhood on one side and towers of Notre Dame on the other. The Batobus passes now under the pont de l’Archevêché or bishops bridge along mansions of the 17-18C on the quais d’Orléans and Béthune of the Ïle Saint Louis (see post). All before arriving to the Jardin des Plantes, and see the Institut du Monde Arabe,(see posts). Here we do a turnaround with the boat.

Along the rive droit or right bank, we go following the current of the Seine, Between the pont Sully and pont de l’Iéna and just until pont Bir-Hakeim on the left bank you will see the Hôtel de Ville , the tall tour St Jacques, gothic flamboyant only remainings of the church St Jacques de la Boucherie, a caroligian church. The wonderful Place du Châtelet with the theater of the city (ex Sarah Bernhardt) and the musical theater of Paris (former theater of Châtelet). On the quai de la Mégisserie you see many pet stores and vegetable stands, with the art deco building of the Samaritaine (now redone in a more modern look by LVMH). You move along on the Church St Germain l’Auxerrois ; the church of the Louvre and parish of the kings of France. (see posts).

After passing the jardin des Tuileries and Louvre, the batobus anchors in the port des Champs-Elysées between the pont Alexandre III and pont de la Concorde. From the quay go up to the cours de la Reine on the place de la Concorde with a wonderful obelisk of Luxor a gift of Egype as a thank you for Champollion who discovered the scriptures in the pyramids. You see here the recently remodeled Hôtel de la Marine and Hotel Crillon as well as nearby the USA Embassy. To the west of the square you see the Grand Palais before coming to your departure point at the foot of the Eiffel tower, See the Grand and Petit Palais. (see posts).

The Seine? It is the most beautiful boulevard in Paris! Seen from the river, Paris is totally different. The river exudes something deeply sensory, which I miss when I have to sleep on land !! Seine, Paris or Paris Seine one in all, Eternal Paris !!

The Paris tourist office on walks along the Seine river:

The Paris tourist office on the Batobus:

The City of Paris on the Seine river:

The initiative for the future of great rivers on the Seine:

There you go folks, the heart of Paris it is the Seine! You can come to Paris for something else but if not by the or on the Seine you have not seen the real Paris, me think. Hope this post will bring you out to see it in person when possible. The Seine,the best playwright and the best actor of Paris !!!

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

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February 21, 2022

The forest of Fontainebleau !

Well this is a dandy and very much in vogue, growing attendance and lots of improvements over the years. If you read my blog , you know I am not too much into forests or walks in it; however, this one is special as with the wonderful castle we did went to it, and of course drive into it as much as possible. It’s time for me to show you the other face of Fontainebleau, that of its forest! In my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The forest of Fontainebleau ,a forest maze and a square with hectolines roads. Nice walk starting from Vaudomé direction La Roche aux Sabots crossing the Trois Pignons, the valley of Chanfroy , the canyons of Franchard and Apremont. You need a guide for more enjoyment or a good walkers’ map with experience.

The Trois Pignons or the 3 rocky hills that are really 4 but cut in a way to look like 3. The road of the Plaine de Jean des Vignes get you in the mood already with good panels. The sables du Cul de Chien or something like the sands of the dog’s ass mark the entrance to a wonderful dessert ,now only huge stones are there such the ones call Diplodocus, Tortue, Reptile, and Chien.

There is a huge forets with lots of animal life and of course trees (do not ask me tech questions lol) was told about 80 species of trees, and several fruit trees. There is a monument to the French resistance in WWII from the underground network Publican near the plains of Chanfroy. On the other side you see the canyon of Poivres somewhat cut by the passing of the highway A6. Here in these plains you see a lighted clearing and grassy areas of Corne Biche, la Touche, aux Mulets and the rock of the queen or la Reine. The area houses a biological reserve, at the foot of the rock of the queen you see blocks of stones sculpture with a lunar paysage and excavations and caves.

They told us there are about 10K animals in the forest like the black carpenter bird, the wild pigs, deers , that we saw, There is a pretty area by the canyon of Franchard with a great view on the plains of Arbonne and the farther mont Rouget. At the carrefour de l’Ermitage you see the oldest building in the forest, founded in the 12C, 4 km north of it you see the creeks and mount Girard marking the entrance to the canyon of Apremont. Here you see the famous elephant stone le Captif an oak trunk into the rock and the cave des Brigands. You have a good view of Barbizon and the agriculture plains of Chailly en Biére, and plunging into the underground gallery of Clair Bois and the cave of Barbizonnieres. Go up 135 meters to reach Mont Aigu by the road turning to L’Hélice strange rocks that takes you to the la Faisanderie and the national center of forests office.

An anecdote on the old Biére. There was a time that the massif of Fontainebleau was known by the name of Forest of the Biére, Domaine des Capétiens under Robert II le Pieux, becomes from 1167 a green annex of the first royal residance of Fontainebleau. François I only came to practice hunting , Louis XIV ordered Colbert to reforest the natural environment, 600 hectares of trees were planted in 1716, wild pine trees were grown on 6000 hectares in 1830. And thanks to the painters of Barbizon the, forest grew from 1853, Parisians started to come by train opening in 1849. The last big arrangement to preserve the natural spaces ,biodiversity, and the passages is ongoing to host over 10 millions visitors !!!

The Fontainebleau tourist office on the forest:

The National office of forests on Fontainebleau:

There you go folks, another dandy in my belle France. This one in my sentimental Fontainebleau and Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region. Hope you enjoy the brief introduction to the forest of Fontainebleau!

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

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