Jul 28, 2009

Do you want to buy the high jewelleries? Try to go to Place Vendôme. Place Vendôme is a square in the 1st arrondissement,located to the north of the Jardin des Tuileries and east of the Église de la Madeleine. It's the starting point of the Rue de la Paix. Architectured by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and pedimented screens canted across the corners give the rectangular Place Vendôme the aspect of an octagon.

The Place Vendôme Column at the center was erected by Napoleon to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz.It was designed by Denon, Gondouin, and Lepère and modeled in the style of Trajan's Column in Rome. Constructioned during 1806 - 1810, The spiral bronze bas-relief was created by Bergeret.

Originally a statue of Napoléon a Caesar was placed on top. This was replaced by a likeness of Henri IV which was removed during the 100 Day (1815) when Napoléon returned from Elba and attempted to regain power. Afterwards Louis XVIII installed an enormous fleur-de-lys, but Louis-Philippe restored Napoléon in military uniform.
During the Commune in 1871, a group of Communards lead by Gustave Courbet the artist, tore down the column. Rather than pay for its re-erection, as he was ordered, Courbet died (1877) in exile in Switzerland. During 1873 - 1874, the column was reestablished at the center of Place Vendôme with a copy of the original statue on top.

The square is surrounded by the most famous boutique in fashion and haute joaillerie like Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mauboussin, Chaumet, Patek Philipe, Piaget, Mikimoto, Bulgari, chanel, etc. There is also the famous Ritz Hotel.

station on Paris metro: Opéra, Pyramides, Madeleine or Tuileries

Jul 24, 2009

Musée de l'Orangerie

If you like to enjoy the painting, especially impressionist and post-impressionist painting, come and visit Musée de l'Orangerie.It located on the Place de la Concorde.

It contains works by Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Chaim Soutine, Alfred Sisley and Maurice Utrillo among others.

A cycle of Monet's water-lily paintings, known as the Nympheas, arranged on the ground floor of the Orangerie in 1927. The museum has housed the Walter-Guillaume collection of impressionist paintings since 1965. The museum was closed to the public from the end of August 1999 until May 2006. For several months before it was closed there was a special exhibit of Monet's Nympheas that were gathered from museums throughout the world. More than 60 of the 250 paintings he made of the water lilies in his garden were included. The walls were repainted in shades of purples and violet for this special exhibit. The Orangerie was renovated in order to move the paintings to the upper floor of the gallery. They are now available under direct diffused light as was originally intended by Monet. The eight paintings are displayed in two rooms.

station on Paris metro: Concorde

Jul 23, 2009

The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume is a museum of contemporary art in the north-west corner of the Jardin des Tuileries.Constructed in 1861 during the reign of Napoleon III. It housed real tennis courts; the name of this game in French is jeu de paume.

Used from 1940 to 1944 to store Jewish cultural property looted by the Nazi regime in France (see Rose Valland). Some of the art was destined for the Fuehrermuseum in Linz, while the Nazis attempted to sell so-called 'degenerate art' (modern art unworthy in the eyes of the Nazis) on the international art market. Unsold art (including works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali) were destroyed on a bonfire in the grounds of the Jeu de Paume on night of 27 July 1942.Before 1986, it contained the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which held many important impressionist works now in the Musée d'Orsay.

station on Paris metro: Concorde

Jul 21, 2009

Summer in Jardin des Tuileries

I grabbed my book and pull up a chair around the delightful fountain. I had every intention of getting through some pages of my book however I think I only read 1 page. Being distracted by people coming and going. Kids and families are playing. Couples are laughing. People just passing by. Before I knew it I had been sitting there for over 2 hours. The garden is beautiful.

Jardin des Tuileries is Paris central garden. It connects the Louvre with the Place de la Concorde and forms a part of the large central axis between the Louvre and La Défense.

In the early 16th century the area was a clay quarry for tiles (tuilerie in French, hence the name). After the death of her husband Henri II in 1559, Catherine de Médicis had a Palace built at the tuileries, the Palais de Tuileries. The palace featured a large garden in Italian style, reminding her of her native Tuscany.

Between 1660 and 1664 the garden was redesigned in French formal style by André Le Nôtre, the celebrated gardener of King Louis XIV, the Sun King. Le Nôtre built a terrace along the riverbank and opened up a central axis which he extended three years later with the creation of the Champs-Elysées.The Jardin des Tuileries was one of the first parks to open to the public and it quickly became a place to see and be seen. Even in the 18th century the park featured amenities such as cafes, kiosks, deck chairs and public toilets.

It also features several fountains, two large basins, numerous sculptures and two museums, the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie, which displays Claude Monet's large water lily paintings . Those two buildings are the only remains of the original Palais de Tuileries.

Station on Paris metro: Tuileries

Jul 19, 2009

Window display in Colette

Looking for some inspirations, Colette's the one of my destinations. Colette concept store is the Paris' shoppers' paradise for fashionable luxury goods still manages to retain a certain elegance in spite of its flashy, state of the art decor. Located at 213, rue saint Honoré, (1 st arrondissement). The fashionista will find style design art food beauty party and much more at Colette.

The store can bring together the most beautiful, most unusual and most expensive designer items. So if you're looking for a Gucci watch, a dress by Comme des Garcons, or make-up from New York, this place is bound to have it. Worth a look is its kiosk containing the latest, most incisive fashion and design magazines, and its high-tech cafe downstairs offers over 100 different brands of mineral water.

Jul 16, 2009

When I passed to Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées (8 th arrondissement), there's a stamp market. I found here collectors and amateurs of all ages, equipped with small or large budgets, around fifty stands of professional traders who sell and repurchase stamps, sets of themes of the whole world, letters, postcards and phonecards.

In Paris, the young schoolboys collectors take since 1860 the practice to meet in the gardens of the Palais Royal to make there exchanges. The stamp market was born. But in 1864, this large market attracted some undesirable elements and the stock exchange was prohibited.It is in 1887 that a rich person collector of stamps bequeaths the ground of the Marigny Square to the Town of Paris in condition that it authorizes the full air market installation there.

Stamp market is open all year long on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and during public holidays between 9H00 and 18H0

Station on Paris metro: Franklin-Roosevelt

Pont Alexandre III

I always have Pont Alexandre III in my heart. The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. On each end of the Pont Alexandre III are large gilded statues on 17 meters (56 ft) high granite pillars. Each of the ornaments on the bridge was created by a different artist.It's lovely! I used to find many brides and grooms take a picture at this bridge. What a romantic picture!

The bridge was built at the end of the 19th century as part of a series of projects undertaken for the Universal Exposition of 1900. The exposition took place on either side of the Seine river and the new bridge would enable the millions of visitors to more easily cross the river.

Construction of the bridge, designed by the architects Résal and Alby, took almost 3 years. The structure was first prefabricated in a factory and later transported and assembled by a large crane. One of the requirements for the bridge was that it should not obstruct the view on the Invalides and Champs-Elysées. This resulted in a very low 40 meters (132 ft) wide bridge with a single 107.5 meters (353 ft) long span and a height of only 6 meters (20 ft). Built in May 1897, the first stone was already laid by the Russian Tsar Nicolas II in October 1896. The bridge which was to symbolize Russian-French friendship, named after his father, Tsar Alexander III.

The Pont Alexandre III opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900 together with several structures that still stand today like the Gare d'Orsay, the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. The exposition would attract an impressive 50 million visitors.

What an amazing, lovely, romantic bridge !

Jul 14, 2009

Corinthian columns

Interior La Madeleine

L'église de la Madeleine, or L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (or simply "La Madeleine"), is a church in the 8th arrondissement, designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army.

I didn't understand why la Madeleine's so beautiful. Actually, there were three false starts were made on building a church on this site. The first design, commissioned in 1757 with construction begun in 1764, was by Pierre Contant d'Ivry, and was based on Mansart's Late Baroque church of Les Invalides, with a dome surmounting a Latin cross. In 1777 d'Ivry died and he was replaced by Guillaume-Martin Couture, who decided to start anew, razing the incomplete construction and basing his new design on the Pantheon. At the start of the Revolution, only the foundations had been finished and work was discontinued, while debate simmered as to what purpose the building might serve in Revolutionary France: a library, a ballroom, and a marketplace were all suggested.

In 1806 Napoleon made his decision, commissioning Pierre-Alexandre Barthélémy Vignon (1763-1828) to build a Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée (Temple to the Glory of the Great Army), with Vignon basing his design on an antique temple. The then-existing foundations were razed and work begun anew. With completion of the Arc de Triomphe in 1808, the original commemorative role for the temple was blunted. After the fall of Napoleon, with the Catholic reaction during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII determined that the structure would be used as a church. Vignon died in 1828 before completing the project and was replaced by Jacques-Marie Huvé. In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but the building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842.

Everyone who see la madeleine will say "wow". Its 52 Corinthian columns, each 20 metres high, are carried around the entire exterior of the building, and the pediment's adorned by a sculpture of the Last Judgement by Lemaire, and the church's bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments. All lead me to enter la Madeleine.

Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels. The half-dome above the altar is covered with a fresco by Jules-Claude Ziegler, entitled The History of Christianity, showing the key figures in the Christian religion with - perhaps inevitably - Napoleon occupying centre stage.

The church has a celebrated pipe organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), which is widely regarded as one of the best in Paris. The composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré were both organists at the Madeleine, and the funerals of Frédéric Chopin and Fauré were held there.

La Madeleine is affiliated with a Benedictine abbey, and masses and the most fashionable weddings in Paris are still celebrated here. To its south lies the Place de la Concorde, and to the east is the Place Vendôme

Station on Paris metro: Madeleine

Jul 11, 2009

Hotel Crillon

The Triton of the fountain

The Obelisk of Luxor

The Place de la Concorde, the largest place in Paris(86,400 square metres), situated along the Seine and separates the Tuilerie Gardens from the beginning of the Champs Elysées, 8th arrondissement.Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755. Filled with statues and fountains, the area was named Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of the king, which had been commissioned in 1748 by the city of Paris, sculpted mostly by Edmé Bouchardon, and completed by Jean-Baptiste Pigalle after the death of Bouchardon.

The west of the Place is Champs-Élysées.The north end, two identical stone buildings separated by the rue Royale,the eastern one is the French Naval Ministry. Shortly after its construction, the western building was made into the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon (which still operates today) where Marie Antoinette spent afternoons relaxing and taking piano lessons.The Rue Royale leads to the Église de la Madeleine. The Embassy of the United States is located in the corner of the Place at the intersection of Avenue Gabriel and Rue Boissy d'Anglas.The east of the Place are the Tuileries Gardens. The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie, both in the Tuileries Gardens, border the Place
The northeastern corner of the Place is the western end of the Rue de Rivoli. The south of the Place is the River Seine, crossed by the Pont de la Concorde, built by Jean-Rodolphe Perronnet.At each corner of the octagon formed by the Place are statues, created by Jacques Ignace Hittorff, representing the French cities of Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest and Rouen.

The center of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II.The Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mehmet Ali, offered the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk to France in 1829. The obelisk arrived in Paris on December 21, 1833. Three years later, on October 25, 1836, King Louis-Philippe had it placed in the center of Place de la Concorde, where a guillotine used to stand during the Revolution.

Imagining the guillotine, made me feel sad.

Station on Paris metro: Concorde

Jul 9, 2009

Stunning vertical garden in Pershing Hall Restaurant in Rue Pierre Charon, 8th arrondissement, Paris

Inside the Pershing Hall Restaurant

Jul 8, 2009

Still in rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, I used to buy some mille-feuille in Dalloyau. The crème pâtissière of mille feuille made me forget all the things in my mind. Located at 101, Rue faubourg Saint-Honoré, Dalloyau is a company familiar to Parisians since 1802. Founded by Jean-Baptiste Dalloyau, welcomes you in its restaurants, tea rooms, shops and organizes all over France and abroad receptions and events.

In the last years of the XVII century, Richard and Charle Dalloyau are both at the service of the Princes of Condé, for who Vatel had committed suicide at Chantilly and of whom Saint-Simon had written “Nobody has ever brought so much attractiveness and magnificence to celebrations”.The Dalloyau brothers are part of the group of elite who creates and run these festivities. People whisper their names in the lounges and Charle is called to Versailles. On January 14 th, 1700, he enters the pantry of Louis XIV, with the mission of creating the whitest and crispiest bread possible. As he becomes “officier de bouche”, he attends the king’s meals as well as the official ceremonies.

The tea room of Dalloyau surprised me. There are Luxembourg, Bastille, Convention, Boulogne and Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Each place reveals a unique personality, through a distinctive decoration, atmosphere and menu, in harmony with the area where it is located.

What a creative Dalloyau !

Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré begins from 15-16 rue Royale to 46, Avenue de Wagram and 2, Place des Ternes. Cited as being one of the most fashionable streets. There are many famous luxury brands in fashion, and other exclusive establishments.

Several buildings in the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré :

Lanvin homme
15, rue du Faubourg Saint-honore 75008,Paris

Lanvin femme
22, rue du Faubourg Saint-honore 75008,Paris

24, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Guy Laroche
28, rue du Faubourg Saint-honore 75008, Paris

29, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Jean-Paul Gaultier
30, rue du Faubourg Saint-honore 75008, Paris

Hôtel Perrinet et de Jars
33, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
35, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL)
38, rue du Faubourg Saint-honore 75008, Paris

Hôtel de Pontalba, now the residence of the Ambassadors from the United States
41, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Christian Dior
46, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Palais de l’Élysée , official residence of the President of France
55, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Offices of the Paris edition of Vogue magazine in the Publications Condé Nast Building.
56, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Gianni Versace
62, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Ministry of the Interior (on the Place Beauvau.)
96, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Dalloyau, a Parisian luxury gastronomic brand name
101, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Hotel Le Bristol
112, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Residence of Canadian Ambassador
135, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008, Paris

Jul 3, 2009

Palais de la Decouverte is the city's science museum. It focuses on subjects such as the earth, astronomy, matter, energy, math, geology, chemistry,physics and life forms.

Located on Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, 8 th arrondissement. Created in 1937 by Jean Baptiste Perrin (awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, 1926) during an international exhibition on "Arts and techniques in modern life". In 1938 the French government converted the facility into a new museum, which occupies 25,000 square meters within the west wing of the Grand Palais (Palais d'Antin). In 2007 plans were announced to merge the museum with the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie.

When I went to the Palais de la Decouverte, I was surpised. It’s not a traditional museum, but more like “school”, I can learn different things about science (which also includes maths, biology, chemistry, physics). I can do some experiments, go to the planetarium or look at unknown insects. There are also some very educational presentations.

Station on Paris metro: Franklin D.Roosevelt

Jul 1, 2009

As a city museum, Petit palais was built at the same time as the Grand Palais.Located at Avenue Winston Churchill, 8 th arrondissement.Petit Palais has a magnificent main doorway with rich sculptural decoration, ionic columns, grand porch. There are ancient artifacts, medieval objects, rare manuscripts and books, dutch painting from the seventeenth century including interesting western art from Egyptian era to the present.

The Petit Palais was opened on December 11, 1902, between the Champs-Elysees and the Avenue Alexandre III. The collection includes Poussin's The Massacre of the Innocents, Ruben's Prosperpina, and Rembrandt's Self-Portrait with Poodle. There are also Impressionist selections from the nineteenth century by Pisarro, Morisot, Cassatt, Manet, Renoir, and Gauguin. The museum has also more than 12,000 prints.

After enjoying the collection of painting, I went to the beautiful interieur garden, with the embroidery mossaique basin and a café restaurant to have my favourite expresso.

Station on Paris metro: Champs Élysées Clemenceau or Concorde