Archive for July 26th, 2022

July 26, 2022

The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun of Versailles !!!

Let me bring you back to my beloved and former home of Versailles. One can never be too far from it and that includes me. We simply love it, mind you not just the castle museum but the town in its whole! I like to update this older post for you and me ! Two buildings quite related to each other yet apart ; the Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun.  One is very popular as you need to go thru it to get into the Castle/Museum and now there even has a nice restaurant there. The second is much less known but equally important in the history of Versailles and France, at least…

The Dufour Pavilion is a 17C building constituting the main body of the Château de Versailles, present on the Court of Honor (cour d’honneur). Located between the Royal courtyard (cour Royale) and the courtyard of the Princes ( cour des Princes), overlooking the courtyard, the Dufour Pavilion is located to the left of the grid of honor (golden wrough iron grille gate) for a person arriving at the Castle. It is really an imposing building once you look at it from outside coming in.


A bit of history I like

Emperor Napoleon Ier planned to build a white stone façade on the town side. He ordered a study by Alexandre Dufour. The latter will be entrusted by king Louis XVIII with the task of constructing this pavilion following the projects sketched by the Emperor. The Pavilion was built between 1818-1820 in place of a wing dating from the extension of 1668. The architecture incorporates that of the Gabriel wing, built under king Louis XV by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The Dufour Pavilion, however, will never be finished on its rear part, although this has been sketched; the 17C a wing is preserved as a result of its restoration in 1814 and is still present today.  The Dufour Pavilion houses up to 2010 offices, including those of the management, communication and museum graphic conservation. The services still present are moved to the Grand Commun (see below) . They lead to the creation of reception space on the ground floor and in the basement, the restaurant “Ore” of Alain Ducasse of 600 m2 on the first floor (2fl US) ; and a conference room of 220 places under the attic of the 17C wing. A really classic work, done so I could see before departing Versailles.

Versailles chateau pl d armes dic11

This is Monsieur Ducasse resto ORE

The Château de Versailles on the Dufour pavilion

The Grand Commun, or as its official name the Grand Quarré des Offices-Commun , is a building located at 1, rue de l’independence-American and corner of Rue des Recollets. I figure could put it here as it refers to the services once in the Dufour Pavilion as told above. This building took many years of renovations and now is splendid, do stop by.

A bit of history I like

Built between 1682 and 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart on the site of the Church of Saint-Julien, the building housed the kitchens and the tables of the officers who served the courtyard of the Château de Versailles, as well as rooms for the courtesans. The building is organized around an inner courtyard.  By conducting excavations in the courtyard of the Grand Commun in 2009, a team from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) exhumed the remains of the Jeu de Paume game or palm/tennis game of king Louis XIII, built in 1630 as well as vestiges of the enclosure of its castle, and, under further again, a cemetery of the high middle ages, probably in connection with the church. The palm/tennis game or Jeu de Paume room comes in the form of a large rectangular building of 33 meters long by 14 meters wide with lateral walls of 1.30 meters thick. The presence of three galleries indicates that it is an indoor game. The floor is covered with stone-sized tiles and probably preceded by a terracotta tile floor. The house of the paumier (the one who maintains, manages and animates the playroom) was also found.


Manufacture of arms under the French revolution, the Grand Commun sheltered from 1843 a military hospital then became military hospital Dominique Larrey. Since 2015, various services of the Château de Versailles (DRH, conservation, staff changing rooms, research center of the Château de Versailles) are installed there as of today. Of course this is not visited now,and photos not allowed inside,  but I had the opportunity to see the jeu de paume section while excavations were going on as I am a Friends of the Château de Versailles since 2004 !


The Château de Versailles Research Center

The Château de Versailles on the Grand Commun

There you go folks, two wonderful buildings one in and one out of glorius royal Versailles, unique in my belle France. The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun, history and architecture all for the better and the enjoyment of all. Hope you come to enjoy as much as we do, my beloved Versailles , a lot more than a castle.

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

July 26, 2022

The central Market of St Germain en Laye !!

Let me bring you back to my previous beloved Yvelines dept 78 in the ïle de France region. It is a magical region of many castles and monuments attesting to the monarchial powers of France and one major reason folks keep coming to visit us. I was lucky enough to lived by there and came to visit this town very often. I like to update this older post for you and me; hope you enjoy it as I.

I like to tell you a bit more on the market of Saint Germain en Laye. We always love to come here shopping and walking its marble streets and 700 shops! Not to mention , the nice monuments abound. So here is my brief take of something you can spend the whole morning on!  I have to say it is very easy to come here from Paris on the RER A and it leaves you just in front of the castle and around the street from the market.


The place du Marché-Neuf is a square in the city center of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Here was the location of a old market, a new market, replacing the then existing market, which will then be called, in time, the new market yet the locals still refer to it as the old market….. This square originally located between the rue de Buzot and the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was the cemetery of the city, the center of Saint-Germain-en-Laye being then located around the Castle. Until 1763, the hospice, located in the present rue de Poissy, had received permission from King Louis XIV to operate an open-air market hall, located right next to the cemetery of the city. In 1771, a first building, the wheat and flour Hall, was built.

The new market square was created in 1776, on the site of this cemetery that had been transferred due to the extension of the city and for reasons of hygiene, to become the new market place, replacing the old market, the old market, then located at the crossroads corresponding to the intersection of the current Rue au pain, rue de Paris and Rue du Vieux-Marché. Indeed wonderful old streets full of charm, architecture ,and history, and did i said shopping!  At the beginning of the 19C, the houses surrounding the square were built in 1820, and the arcades complemented the ensemble.   In 1911, the building of the post office and telecommunications was built on the site of the wheat and flour market. In 2007, an underground parking lot is arranged manage by Q Park, and then in 2009 water jets fountain came to decorate the place.


The Central Market at place du Marché-Neuf open Tuesdays and Fridays from 8h30 to 13h and Sundays from 8h30 to 13h30. Even if we had a good one in Versailles, we came up the N186 often here to shop as well and take my dear late wife Martine to the local Damart store near the Monoprix. Nice memories forever..

The city of St Germain en Laye on markets

The Seine St Germain en Laye tourist office on markets

The St Germain en Laye merchants blog on markets

There you go folks ,now you are all set to come in for a great shopping morning , afternoon sightseeing in St Germain en Laye for a grand day in the market !!

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

July 26, 2022

Notre Dame Cathedral update JUL2022

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 July 2022.

A big interview in Le Figaro last Friday July 22 2022 by General Jean-Louis Georgelin in charge of the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral , I am quoting and translating the way, The reopening of Notre-Dame in 2024 is a tense, rigorous and complicated objective. We will fight to win this battle, and to be able to open for worship, in 2024. On this date, Notre-Dame will be completely cleaned, to the point that visitors will have a visual shock when entering , In a construction site, there are always hazards and difficulties. But, until then, we always found ways to adapt, to move forward and to listen to the indicators when they turned orange, It seems to me the Gen is flicking time for a positive recharge,,, Since April 15, 2019, more than 846 million euros have been collected by 340,000 patrons and donors from 150 countries ! Until August 2021, a first phase of work consisted of consolidating and securing the building (i.e. 150 million euros in expenditure).We will need 550 million euros to complete the interior cleaning of the cathedral, including the great organ, to restore the masonry and the vaults damaged by the fire, to reconstruct the framework, the roofing and the spire, or even to renewing technical equipment ,This figure takes account of forecast inflation. Like the other works, we are currently experiencing some pressure on prices. After these works, there should therefore remain 146 million euros which should be allocated to the restoration of the exterior.

The fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral, whose causes have still not been established with certainty had caused the collapse of its frame, its spire, its clock and part of its vault, ravaged by the flames, A big mystery the causes not declared officially yet, something is going on, time will tell,,,,

In other news specialists in heritage restoration and based in Mauges (Maine-et-Loire 49), Ateliers Perrault were selected for the reconstruction of the framework of the choir and the nave of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris. The historic Ateliers Perrault (262 years of existence), always settled in the Mauges, in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Plaine, between Cholet and Angers,

Further news from the city of Paris of course taken advantage of this unfortunate event to put some modernity and trees around which does not give any value to the cathedral, After a Belgian architectural firm winning the contest, they have together with the city, heritage council etc decided on a whole new look for the area.

The new forecourt is designed as a clearing, which highlights the eastern facade of Notre-Dame Cathedral in a green setting. The surrounding trees will provide seats in the shade, while a thin layer of water 5 millimeters high will trickle occasionally to refresh the square in times of great heat, creating ephemeral reflections. The space behind the cathedral, as large as the square in front, today divided by hedges and fences, will become a large continuous square between the chevet and the Seine around a generous lawn which opens onto the arches. flying buttresses and stained glass windows. The gardens to the south of the cathedral, as well as the existing trees, will be integrated into a large riverside park 400 meters long. A total of 131 new trees will be planted. The site of Notre-Dame (approximately 4 hectares) will gain in vegetation (+36% gain compared to the current surface), The old underground car park, located under the current forecourt, will be transformed into an interior promenade. This will house Notre-Dame reception areas over 3,000 m2 (luggage storage, toilets, rooms for groups, etc.) and will offer new experiences to visitors (which now need to use public transport already full) new access to the archaeological crypt and an opening onto the Seine. The new layout will also allow new views of the cathedral. Another novelty: rue du Cloître will be calmed and vegetated !

The Pelerin or Pilgrim on the advances of Notre Dame:

The official reconstruction of Notre Dame :

The newspaper Le Figaro on the Gen post: 

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 of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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