Curiosities of the 1éme arrondissement of Paris !!

I have decided to do these black and white series, no pictures and tell you about my stumping grounds while working in Paris for 9 years, I will start with the curiosities of the 1éme arrondissement of Paris !!

It has been told that the human heart mix with oils produces an organic matter call munie that allows to give paintings an unique glassy look. After the 17C the members of the royal family of Anne of Austria had the habit of depositing their hearts in the Chapel of Val de Grâce. During the French revolution the sans culottes (friends of the revolution) disperse the royal properties including the hearts, and they found buyers in the artists painters. The painter Drolling acquired the hearts of Anne of Austria, Marie Thérese and the duchesse of Montpensier. His portrait « Intérieur de cuisine » now in the Louvre has still royal blood spread out on the portrait. Of course, this has not been proving scientifically and remained for many a legend,,,

Early on in the 17C Louis XIII notice the Louvre does not have a chapel, He gives the rôle to the church that Jacques Lemercier was building for the Order of the Oratory. The church and the palace were never join, Under Napoléon I the chapel became a Protestant temple under the name of Temple de l’Oratoire, at 145 Rue St Honoré to give memory to this chapel to be.

The Louvre is not in line with the Champs Elysées and the Grande Arche de la Défense going to Cergy-Pontoise, The Louvre parallel to the Seine river is away from the center of the axis, To have a perfect straight line, you need to be by the pyramide by the statue of Louis XIV as he was the initiator of this axis.

There are royal monograms hidden in the cour carrée du Louvre, Just go one evening by the fountain of the cour Carrée where on each wing of the cours you see written the initials of the monarchs that helped construct the Louvre. On the side of the pyramide left of the pavillon de l’Horloge you see Henri II with an H H cross by a double C for the queen Catherine de Médicis, We can easily confuse with the D of Diane de Poitiers ,his mistress, On the side of the Seine right side you see the K for Charles IX, H for Henri III, HDB for Henri de Bourbon, Henri IV or HG for Henri IV and Gabrielle d’Estrées, his mistress,

On the Pavillon de l’Horloge on its right you see the L and LA for Louis XIII and his wife Anne of Austria, In the other wings built by Louis XIV you can read LMT for Louis and Marie Theresa the queen, and LB for Louis de Bourbon. Outside the cour Carrée you can find these monograms on the facades. On the floor of the cour Carrée you can see the grilles in a rounded design marking the limits of the donjon of Charles V ; and the visit to the Sully wing will allow you to discover the base of the donjon and salle des Maquettes (model room) open on weekends retracing the different stages of the construction of the Louvre.

Facing the Louvre, under the big gargouille of the facade of the Church St Germain l’Auxerrois giving to the cour to the left of the church you see an enigmatic rat ball or boule aux rats, Meaning what ? That the church is the only remedy for the bad of our world,, Church St Germain l’Auxerrois was the royal parish of the kings of France going back to the 7C. There are other rat balls in France, in the Cathedral St Siffrein in Carpentras, Cathedral of Le Mans, and the Church Saint Jacques in Meulan (Yvelines 78). As an anecdote, my father was treated for four days at the Clinique du Louvre, across the street from the church.

In a discreet plaque opposed to the sixth pylon right of the Church St Germain l’Auxerrois there is an inscription that tell us that the ashes of the artists are given and pray for those coming, this is since 1926 and still is done,Right next to the church you see a belltower many times attributed to the church but actually belongs to the mayor’s office of the 1éme arrondissement next door. Built in 1858 ,high of 38 meters ,one of the better and complete of France, and open to the public, The belltower has 38 bells done in 1862, the oldest in Paris. The former belltower of the church offered in 1527 by François I has the reputation of being sound to start the massacre of St Barthélemy of Protestants on August 24 1572, the saint day of St Barthélemy.

By the Place Colette, you see the library museum of the Comédie Française, that allows you to see the private parts of this institution. By the entrance Talma immortalise by David d’Angers welcome visitors that takes you on a staircase to the administrative offices where the busts of Moliére, Corneille, and Racine are located. Here you can see the sofa that Moliére rented from his sick uncle and where he died in 1673 while playing Argan. As a commemoration, the Salle Richelieu built between 1786 and 1790 is commonly call the Maison de Moliére (house), By here you see the metro station Palais-Royal (lines 1 and 7) known as the kiosque des Noctambules or night owls kiosk, it is done with glass pearls of Murano in an aluminum structure following a tradition of Héctor Guimard and his Art Nouveau metro entrances.

If you come by 2 rue Radziwill you see the galerie dorée of the Banque de France. You can visit with prior reservation. This is the galerie dorée of the Hôtel de Toulouse hq of the bank of France, This was done in 1635 with dimensions of 40 meters long, 6,50 meters wide to host an exposition hall for its excellent collection of Italian paintings,In 1713, the Count of Toulouse acquired the mansion , therefore its name, He was the legimitate son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, In 1793 during the French revolution, these work of arts were disperse into several museums some in the Louvre. The Bank of France buys the mansion in 1808.

See at the Rue de Viarmes, the colonne Médicis 28 meters high that is leaned on the bourse de commerce building, It was done on orders of queen Catherine de Médicis in 1575, Inside there is a staircase of 147 steps that could reach the apartment of the queen. You can see the monograms of Henri II and Catherine de Médicis H and C. It is a miracle that this column still here after the destruction of the palace in 1748 and the building of the new bourse du commerce. Nearby at 45 rue Berger you see the small Musée Compagnonnique, where accompany by a master artist you will understand better their profession.

There are discrepancies in the plaque commemorating the birth of Molière. One at 31 rue du Pont Neuf says he was born in 1620, and the second at 98 rue Saint Honoré tell us he was born January 15 1622, It seems the experts go for the second one, There is also the fontaine Molière at 37 rue Richelieu the first Parisian statue to honor a person other than a monarch.

One that I know very well because been in it and in several events is the Cercle Suédois at 242 rue de Rivoli, The club was founded in 1891 and has a historic room, It is here that Alfred Nobel write the famous testament on November 27 1895 that will become the Nobel prize, The office is still there and can be visited the Wednesdays evenings two times per month, You can have a glass in the beautiful rooms of the Circle that gives to the Jardin des Tuileries, It has several portraits of Swedish painters on its walls,

The Standard Meter of 13 Place Vendôme to the left of the justice minister building allow the French to become familiar with this measure on the French revolution, Also, on the corner of my memorable street rue de Castiglione (my worked street) and the Place Vendôme , there is a plaque that reminds us of the Embassy of Texas opened in Paris in the 19C, Texas gained its independance from Mexico in 1836 and was independant until 1845 when it was annexed to the United States,

The balconies in the Place Vendôme are an hommage to Louis XIV, With an allegory of the Sun with golden leaves reminding us of him, The square was called the Place des Conquêtes or Place Louis-le-Grand always in honor of Louis XIV, It had an equestrian statue of Louis XIV in the center opening in 1699 that was destroyed during the French revolution.

In the restaurant Le Cochon à l’Oreille, 15 rue Montmartre you have a beautiful decorated room of ceramic tiles from 1914 done on the theme of the Halles, which are nearby, There is also a nice Medallion in the crypt of Sainte Agnés, 1 rue Montmartre, The medallion is in the form of a fish marked the entrance to the crypt of Sainte Agnés, remembering a Jean Allais that made fortune thanks to the business of fishiries, In the 13C, a church was built of which only the crypt exist today,It is open during expositions, check on the Church St Eustache for opening days/times,

The Pont Neuf built in 1604 as the oldest bridge in Paris has 3 characteristics to note, It had sidewalks ! (that were not usual until the 19C) that is was decorated with 384 masks , and that it had no houses built on it except some boutiques done in the half moons that are still today

Around you have the Musée du Barreau de Paris, Hôtel de la Porte, 25 rue du Jour ; it has a collection showing the evolution of justice (as museum of lawyers) from the 17C, There is a plaque at 11 rue de la Ferronnerie showing the spot of the assassination of Henri IV in 1610 by Ravaillac. And finally, see the elephant at 3 rue de la Cossonnerie with the head of an elephant in its facade of origin islamic-indian,

There you go folks, a dandy walk around wonderful eternal Paris and its 1st district where I once worked, and visit often the area. Hope you enjoy the trivia and do come to the most beautiful city in the world:Paris!

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

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2 Comments to “Curiosities of the 1éme arrondissement of Paris !!”

  1. A veritable treasure trove

    Liked by 1 person

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