Archive for March 28th, 2022

March 28, 2022

Notre Dame Cathedral update Mar2022

And time to come back to this wonderful epic work going on in my eternal Paris. I have follow thru on the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral since its unfortunate fire in April 2019. There are several posts on the work going on in my blog; and feels it needs another update. Therefore, without further words here is the Notre Dame Cathedral update for March 2022.

A bit of historical facts: At the height of its 850 years, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris has gone through centuries and history. From the laying of its first stone in 1163, to the fire of April 2019 which destroyed its framework and caused the collapse of its spire. Although its initial construction spanned from 1163 to 1351, Notre-Dame never ceased to evolve over the centuries it has gone through. It is more than a cathedral, is a symbol of Paris and France to the world!

The investigation is in the hands of three investigating judges. No communication filters. Will the mystery be lifted one day? Nothing is less certain, because the charred debris will not necessarily deliver a clue. However, prevention has also shown its limits: in September 2020, in a report, the Court of Auditors pointed to a lack of anticipation, especially when it was necessary to renew the fire safety market.

It is a verdict that was expected by many faithful and inhabitants of Paris. The fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019, was not criminal, investigators from the Paris PJ criminal squad have concluded. After a long process and two years of investigation to reconstruct the course of the disaster, the experts believe that it was not caused by a voluntary act. These conclusions come as the release, last Wednesday, March 16, 2022, of Notre-Dame Brûle (is burning) , the film by Jean-Jacques Annaud which traces the thread of the disaster and the cascade of malfunctions which almost jeopardized the rescue of one of the most visited monuments in the world. While other expert reports are awaited, justice is currently retaining two leads to justify the accidental start of the fire: a cigarette butt or a short circuit . Jean-Jacques Annaud’s film shows both: one of the construction workers catering smokes, despite the ban, near the “forest” of thousand-year-old beams, while pigeons peck at the electric cables of the bells. A little further, a welder causes sparks near an abandoned bottle of flammable liquid. The police identified that the fire had started at the base of the large arrow, around 18h50 (6:50 p.m.) They suspect a fault in the electrical installation and a short circuit, the causes of which remain to be established. According to the investigators , they are wondering about the installation of an elevator on the site, but the hypothesis of a fire starting on a hot spot linked to a weld has not been ruled out.

The long way to what happened and the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

Two chapels, out of the twenty-four in the cathedral, were chosen in order to test the cleaning and restoration protocols in real conditions, and in anticipation of the future construction site: that of Saint-Ferdinand, decorated by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc , and that of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the chapel of Saint-Ferdinand, two techniques for cleaning painted decorations will be tested: either by mechanical stripping or by laser.

The cathedral is entirely “lined” with a “spider’s web” of metal. At different levels, floors make it possible to work at head height, without being suspended from harnesses. At its highest point, the scaffolding reaches more than 25 meters, just under the vaults, along the entire length of the cathedral and its transept.

This is an important stage of the project: the great organ and its 8,000 pipes have been dismantled in order to proceed with its restoration. It took four months to complete the removal. If the structure escaped the flames, the lead dust covered it and the summer heat waves damaged it.

A tow of lime had been applied last year to the vaults to prevent the stone from crumbling, pending this operation. Made to measure, the hangers are placed under all the weakened vaults to prepare their restoration. This is the last security operation which, once completed, makes it possible to officially declare Notre-Dame out of danger. They are the miracles of the fire; initially adorning the spire of Viollet-le-Duc, the 16 statues of the apostles had been removed and sent for restoration five days earlier. While waiting for the reconstruction of the spire, they are exhibited at the City of Architecture and Heritage in Paris. See the nicestatue of Saint Thomas in the guise of Viollet-le-Duc himself!

The reconstruction phase itself could not begin until the beginning of 2022. A thousand oak trees from France were offered, mostly from five regions (Burgundy, Center Val de Loire, Grand Est, Pays de la Loire, Normandy) for the main framework. Half of them come from public forests, half from nearly 150 private forests. After cutting, drying on site, “skidding” (transfer to the edge of the roads) and cutting, they had to be transported to around twenty sawmills. Towards the beginning of 2023, they will be transported to the workshops of the carpenters, who will follow the plans of Viollet-Le-Duc for an identical reconstruction. Oaks have also been donated by foreign donors. In a later phase, it will be necessary to redo the medieval frameworks of the nave and the choir with thousands of other trees, younger this time.

The real restoration can begin. This phase will be the long-awaited phase of the restoration of the spire and the collapsed vault. A major cleaning operation inside the cathedral has begun, on which the rest of the operations depend. This includes cleaning up the site. It is due to last until spring 2022. In parallel, scientific studies of stained glass windows are taking place, including the three large roses. The largest instrument in France has moved; its restoration is spread over three workshops of different organ builders and will last until autumn 2023. Reopening of Notre Dame Cathedral April 16, 2024. This is the date set to return the cathedral to worship, five years, day to day, after the fire. A Mass in the nave is already scheduled.

Things are moving right along, less news , more work. The end results is that they are on target and will have it as much as possible to the identical old cathedral , which I like. Hope for the best and pray for the wonders to be seen again. The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris is a marvelous wonderful awesome beautiful building.

The Pelerin or Pilgrim webpage on the advances of Notre Dame in French:

The official reconstruction of Notre Dame in French:

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the post as I. And we are all eagerly waiting for the moment even if events has been held and will be before full restoration. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 28, 2022

The Bd du Montparnasse of Paris!!

Oh well I am into nostalgia again, and after revising some older posts, why not tell you about a new post in my blog of a very venerable street of my eternal Paris. As said,used to worked around here and criss cross it many times on foot and by car. This is the world famous Boulevard du Montparnasse of Paris!!

The Boulevard du Montparnasse is located on the border of the 6éme, 14éme and 15éme arrondissements of Paris. Almost straight, it connects Place Léon-Paul-Fargue (where the Duroc metro station is located) to Place Camille-Jullian (where the RER B Port- Royal). It passes at the foot of the Montparnasse tower, place du 18-Juin-1940 (see post) . As said above, the Boulevard du Montparnasse belongs to three arrondissements: odd numbers belong to the Notre-Dame-des-Champs quartier or neighborhood in the 6éme arrondissement; even numbers from No. 2 to No. 66 belong to the Necker neighborhood or quartier in the 15éme arrondissement; and even numbers from number 68 belong to the Montparnasse neighborhood or quartier in the 14éme arrondissement or district,

The boulevard takes its name from a mound, probably artificial and made up of centuries-old piles of rubble, which stood on its route at the height of the current Place Pablo-Picasso. This mound was called “Mount of Parnassus” in the 17C in reference to Mount Parnassus, residence of the Muses of Greek mythology. Neighboring students, who came to declaim verses there, would have given it this name out of derision. The mound was first crossed by the boulevard, then entirely leveled in the middle of the 18C. The Boulevard du Montparnasse is part of the “boulevards du Midi”, like boulevards de l’Hôpital, Auguste-Blanqui, Saint-Jacques, Raspail and des Invalides, whose construction was ordered in 1704 by Louis XIV. Construction began around 1720,and was not completed until the early 1760s. When the boulevard was completed, it ended on rue d’Enfer, avenue de l’Observatoire did not yet exist. The boulevard was sparsely built and fairly deserted until the mid-19C, It was paved in 1839 and lit in 1843. After a first pier on the Versailles-rive gauche (left bank ) train line built in 1840 at the Maine barrier. The Montparnasse train station was established in 1852 along the boulevard. The Rue de Rennes was drilled opposite the station in 1855. The old train station of 1852 was destroyed during the 1960s, to make way for the Tour Montparnasse tower, while the new train infrastructure was moved several hundred meters towards the south as of today. In the 1950s, the Boulevard du Montparnasse was transformed by the widening of its automobile roadway, which went from 13.5 to 21 meters wide, to the detriment of the sidewalks.


Some of the monument, buildings to see as my favorites (not all) are :

No 8: the building belongs to the Vatican which rents the apartments,,,
No. 10: site of the hotel of Alphonse Chodron de Courcel built in 1880. The former premises also disappeared from the YMCA (Christian Union of young people) placed in 1926 at the disposal of the Christian Action of Russian Students (ACER ) who set up their headquarters there. In the courtyard, in a wing of the building which was used to store books, is an Orthodox church, consecrated on December 3, 1928. In October 1936, this Church of the Presentation in the Temple of the Most Holy Mother of God moved (still in the 15éme arrondissement where many Russians who emigrated because of the 1917 revolutions lived), to 91, rue Olivier-de-Serres, which had been hosting ACER activities since December 1935, in premises they own.
No 25: The House of Cornues is an 18C private mansion having had various owners including: the Count of Béthune, the Prince of Condé and Philippe de Vendôme. It will be the family apartment of the painter Paul-Élie Ranson and, above, becomes from 1889 the meeting place of his friends the Nabis. The place will be renamed “The Temple” for the occasion. The engraver Léopold Flameng lived there from 1869 to 1898,
No 49: Here functioned the Vitti Academy. From 1878 to 1890, the Montpellier painter Michel Maximilien Leenhardt and the Spanish painter Vicente Santaolaria had their studio there. From 1906, the English painter Thomas William Marshall had his home and studio there. It was in the studio at this address that Olga Boznańska died on October 26, 1940.
No 59: the building at this address houses, in addition to the Hotel Terminus Montparnasse on the upper floors, previously the Grand Hôtel de la Marine et des Colonies, two restaurants on its ground floor to the left of the hotel entrance , a restaurant created in 1858, which became Bouillon Édouard Chartier in 1903 (whose Art Nouveau decor, still visible today, was undertaken in 1906), then Bouillon Rougeot from 1924 to 1977 and finally restaurant Montparnasse 1900, where each year , since 2009, the Prix des Impertinents, by a jury composed of writers, essayists and journalists to the right of the entrance to the hotel La Marine, a bar restaurant now , where each month a from 1879 the Celtic Dinner, a banquet organized until the beginning of the following century and bringing together Bretons and sympathizers of Brittany living in Paris.
No 75: address of the Poche Montparnasse theater inaugurated in 1943 (which is accessed by a narrow, unnamed dead-end street, closed by a gate).
No 79: the poet Raymond de La Tailhède, one of the founders of the Roman School, lived part of his life at this address. A commemorative plaque is placed there.
No 80: former Polish high school, designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc on the initiative of Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, donated to the city of Paris in 1871, and became workshops of fine arts of the city of Paris.
No 91: Notre-Dame-des-Champs Church. (see post), This is bordered by Square Ozanam, itself adjoining Boulevard du Montparnasse.
No. 99: Brasserie Le Select. Founded in 1923, it is the first establishment to stay open all night.
No 102: Brasserie La Coupole, opened in 1927.
No 103: UGC Rotonde cinema. A pre-existing building at this location in a beautiful apartment in the current building was born, on January 9, 1908, Simone de Beauvoir, she lived there as a child until 1919, when reversals of fortune forced her family to move to less opulent housing. , at 71, rue de Rennes,
No 105: Brasserie La Rotonde, establishment opened in 1911. Cocteau photographed Picasso there.
No 108: Brasserie Le Dôme, opened in 1897. It counted Lenin and Trotsky among his customers. Other famous clients include Hemingway whose Paris ça fête or mouvable feast chapter is titled: “Avec Pascin au Dôme”, Man Ray, Henry Miller, Blaise Cendrars, André Breton, Samuel Beckett…etc,
Nos 105 and 113: between these numbers and nos 108 and 112: “Carrefour Vavin”, officially called Place Pablo-Picasso since 1984. Located on the site of part of the old Boulevards du Midi ,the goal of country walks in the 18C, the square became at the end of the 18C a place of entertainment, then from the 19C until the beginning of WWII the favorite place for meetings and exchanges between painters, visual artists, photographers, models, writers and journalists. Bback on the central lane of Boulevard Raspail, a statue of Balzac cast in bronze from an original work of 1891-1897 by Auguste Rodin here since 1939,

No 124: At a corner of the boulevard with rue Léopold-Robert, during a period between the wars, of Stage B, a jazz club where night balls were organized. In 1935, photographed by Émile Savitry, Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and the Quintette du Hot Club de France as well as Valaida Snow performed there. Later, this address is that of New Jimmy’s created in 1961 by Régine, in the premises of a striptease club closed , The twist is launched there. Régine lives at this time above this nightclub. Within the walls of this establishment, long gone, there are several restaurants to this day.
No 132: the painter Henri Matisse moved to this address in 1927.
No 135 bis: Paul and Camille Claudel lived at this address from 1882 to 1886, with their mother and sister Louise.
No 142: In 1865, Émile Zola remained, with his mother, in a dwelling on the second floor at this address, one of the many successive Parisian homes of the writer during the precarious existence of his youth,
No 171: Brasserie La Closerie des Lilas. Established in 1903, on the site of a former post house with a terrace opening onto the boulevard. Loved to hang out: Paul Fort, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Alfred Jarry, Scott Fitzgerald; later, Renaud was a regular at the place and met Romane Serda there in 1999. Today, this establishment is still frequented by members of Tout-Paris.
No 171: This address is one of Ernest Hemingway’s successive domiciles in Paris.

The Paris tourist office on the quartier or neighborhood of Montparnasse

The Paris tourist office on Montparnasse of the artists

Ok folks, there you go, do I have to tell you more? This is Paris of its best, Montparnasse! and you should invest more time here and away from the center (1-4), the real Parisian lifestyle you came to see is right here! Hope you enjoy this bit of introduction to the Bd du Montparnasse and its wonderful architecture and huge history.

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

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March 28, 2022

The Rue de l’Arrivée of Paris!!!

No place better than to write about the streets of Paris than on streets where you have spent a good part of your life. I used to work for several years in this part of my eternal Paris and made many merchants friends over the years some gone others still there, no opportunity is enough when coming now to Paris by Montparnasse to stop by for a meal or drink or even a last minute item for a shop before heading back to my Morbihan Breton!

The Rue de l’Arrivée is the street on the other side of the Gare Montparnasse ,where I had my office for several years doing various consulting works on CAC 40 (like Dow Jones) companies in France. I have written before on the rue de Départs or departure street so why not on the rue de l’Arrivée or arrivals street. Here is my take on it, and hope you enjoy it as I. The pic below for info, is from Rue de l’Arrivée reaching Bd du Montparnasse.

paris rue de l'arrivée to bd du montparnasse nov17

The Rue de l’Arrivée is in the Necker neightborhood or quartier of the 15éme district or arrondissement of Paris.  Since the Paris-Montparnasse train station was moved ,the, rue de l’Arrivée runs along the side of the buildings that replaced it on its former site: those of the Tour Maine-Montparnasse housing complex, with the Montparnasse Rive Gauche shopping center dominated by the Tour Montparnasse tower. It parallels another road that runs parallel to it, rue du Départ, (see post) which runs along the side of the Tour Maine-Montparnasse housing complex. The rue de l’Arrivée bears this name because it ran along the old Montparnasse station arrival side, It was opened in 1849, at the time of the construction of the second Paris-Montparnasse station, It was then directly at the level of the arrival platforms of the station. It was not until 1881 that it was classified in the public domain.

The Rue de l’Arrivée is served Metro lines 4, 6, 12, and 13 at the station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe. Also, Bus lines RATP 28 58 82 89 91 92 94 95 and 96; and the Transilien line N  of Gare Montparnasse train station. Nice big underground parking here was used many times by yours truly is reacheable by the Rue du Départ or the Rue de l’Arrivée, one side and the other side of the tour Montparnasse and the shopping center centre commercial Montparnasse Rive Gauche. When you get to the metro Montparnasse Bienvenüe there are exits/sorties to go up ok plenty; these are:  Sortie 1 Porte d’Océane, 2 Place Bienvenüe (this street), 4 Tour Montparnasse, 5 bd du Montparnasse, 6 Rue d’Odessa (with elevator/lifts), 7 Rue du Départ-Centre Commercial,(with elevator/lifts), and 8 Rue de Rennes (this street).

Some of the things to see here are the must famous of course no 8 Maison de la Bretagne or the house of Brittany !! with all info and goodies of my new region, For info, webpage:

Next to it at No 8bis is the Théâtre du Grand Point-Virgule opened since October 9 2012, for young talent, and the very convenient at No 22 Timhotel Paris Gare Montparnasse, The Montparnasse tower observatory has its main entrance on rue de l’Arrivée by the ticket office access.

There you go folks a nice open area of Paris seldom visited and needs to be visited more. My Montparnasse by the train station of same name. Many nice souvenirs and still lucky to be able to pass by once in a while. Hope you enjoy the walks around Rue de l’Arrivée , my part of eternal Paris.

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

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