Aug 31, 2009

Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité

Île Saint-Louis

Walking from Notre Dame to Île Saint-Louis through the garden at the back of Notre Dame, and reaching the main street,the Rue St.Louis en l'Ile in Ile saint Louis, I was continously imagining the ice cream Berthillon. In this rue, there are boulangerie, cafes, grocer, hotels, restaurants, shops, and ice cream store. There are restaurants such as La Reine Blanche, L'Ilot Vache, and Le Tastevin, the most popular attraction is Berthillon ice cream shop, 31, rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile. This ice cream shop draws many visitors to it even in the height of wintertime!


The Île Saint-Louis is named after King Louis IX of France (Saint Louis).The island is connected to the rest of Paris by bridges. There are Pont de la Tournelle from the Rive Gauche, Pont Louis-Philippe from the Rive Droite, Pont Marie from the Rive Droite, Pont Sully from the Rive Droite and the Rive Gauche, Pont Saint-Louis from the Île de la Cité. Most of the island is residential.

The Station on Paris metro : Pont Marie

Aug 30, 2009

Pont d'Arcole links Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville with the Quai Montebello on Rive Gauche

Quai de Montebello on Rive Gauche

Pont Notre Dame links the Quai de Gesvres on the Rive Droite with the Quai de la Corse on the Île de la Cité

Quai de La Corse

Aug 26, 2009

Pont au change links the Île de la Cité to the north side of the river

Still in the Île de la Cité, Quai des Orfevres

Aug 23, 2009

Exterior of La Sainte Chapelle

In Paris, there are many churches to visit. Each church has different beautiful chapel. Eglise La Sainte Chapelle, located at 4, boulevard du Palais in the Île de la Cité, 1 st arrondissement, is the high points of French High Gothic architecture. The interior gives a strong sense of fragile beauty, reducing the structural supports to a bare minimum to make way for huge expanse of exquisite stained glass. I had a feeling of being enveloped in light and color.

Upper chapel

Lower chapel served as parish church for all the inhabitants of the palace. This chapel, which is rather plain, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. A souvenir stand often occupies most of the chapel today.

Lower chapel

The most beautiful aspects of the chapel, and considered the best of their type in the world, are its 6,458 square feet of stained glass windows of the upper chapel, surrounded by delicate painted stonework. The windows are in deep reds and blues and illustrate 1,130 figures from the Bible. The rose windows added to the upper chapel in the 15th century.

Stained glass in upper chapel

Rose window

Founded by King Louis IX of France, who constructed it as a chapel for the royal palace and to house precious relics. The palace itself has otherwise utterly disappeared, leaving the Sainte-Chapelle all but surrounded by the Palais de Justice. . In 1239, he purchased the crown of thorns from the impoverished Latin emperor at Constantinople, Baldwin II, for 135,000 livres (the entire chapel, by contrast, cost 40,000 livres to build). A piece of the True Cross was added, along with other relics, making Sainte-Chapelle a valuable reliquary. In addition to properly sheltering his holy relics, Sainte-Chapelle was a result of Louis' political ambition to be the central monarch of western Christendom.

At the time Louis's royal chapel was constructed, the imperial throne at Constantinople was occupied by a mere Count of Flanders and the Holy Roman Empire was in uneasy disarray. Sainte-Chapelle was planned in 1241, started in 1246 and quickly completed: it was consecrated on April 26, 1248. Just as the Emperor could pass privately from his palace into Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, so now Louis could walk directly from his palace into the Sainte-Chapelle. King Louis IX died of the plague on a crusade, was later canonized by the Pope, and is now known as Saint Louis. Most of Louis' precious relics were lost or destroyed in the French Revolution; the few that remain are in the treasury of Notre-Dame. In the 19th century, Viollet-le-Duc restored the Sainte-Chapelle. The current spire is his sensitive deign. The Sainte-Chapelle has been a national historic monument since 1862.

What a beautiful chapel!

Station on Paris metro: Cité

Aug 22, 2009

The Palais de Justice, contains the ancient structure of the Conciergerie, a former prison, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before being executed on the guillotine. The exterior includes sculptural work by sculptor Jean-Marie Bonnassieux. It's artistic building.

Located in the Île de la Cité, built on the site of the former royal palace of Saint Louis, of which the Sainte Chapelle remains. The Palais de Justice houses paris court of large claims and the associated paris correctional court, court of appeal,cour de cassation (highest jurisdiction in the French judicial order).

Station on metro Paris: Cité

Aug 20, 2009

The story begins during the Renaissance in 1482, the day of the Festival of Fools in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools. Esmeralda, a beautiful gypsy, 16 years old, with a kind and generous heart, captures the hearts of many men but especially those of Quasimodo and his adopted father, Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to get her. Quasimodo is caught and whipped and ordered to be tied down in the heat. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, offers him water. It saves her, for she captures the heart of the hunchback.......(novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo) The novel always related to Cathedral de Notre dame Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement.On the spot where this majestic cathedral now stands, the Romans had built a temple to Jupiter, which was followed by a Christian basilica and then a Romanesque church (the Cathedral of St. Etienne, founded by Childebert in 528).Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, decided to build a new cathedral for the expanding population, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Although construction started in 1163, it was not completed until roughly 180 years later in about 1345. Built in an age of illiteracy, the cathedral retells the stories of the Bible in its portals, paintings, and stained glass.

The appearance of the interior was radically transformed in the mid-13th century when the small clerestory windows typical of the Early Gothic style were enlarged downward and filled with High Gothic tracery. The enlargement caused the removal of the unusual triforium. Originally the interior had the four-story elevation common to many Early Gothic churches, and the triforium had large round openings instead of the normal arcades.

Seen from the exterior, the building appears to be High Gothic. Notable features include the profusion of colonnettes and tracery screens, the horizontal and vertical ordering of the facades, the imposing size of the rose windows, and the delicacy of the flying buttresses.

The upper parts of the church, the river, and much of Paris, climb the 387 steps to the top of one of the towers. The south tower holds Notre-Dame's 13-ton bell, which is rung on special occasions.

station on Paris metro:Cité

Aug 17, 2009

La Conciergerie et Le Pont de Nôtre Dame

La Conciergerie(The Conciergerie) is a section of the Palais de Justice which was used as a former royal palace and prison in Paris. Located on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.Thousand of prisoners were taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the Guillotine at a number of locations around Paris in revolutionary times.The most famous prisoners (and victims) included Queen Marie Antoinette, the poet André Chénier, Charlotte Corday, Madame Élisabeth, Madame du Barry and the Girondins, who were condemned by Georges Danton, who was in turn condemned by Robespierre, who was himself condemned and executed in a final bout of bloodletting. En route to the tumbrils, the victims walked through the Salle Saint-Louis, (Saint Louis Room), which acquired the nickname of the Salle des Perdus, the "Room of the Doomed".

The buildings which form this prison still retain the hideous character of feudal times. The préau presents a kind of area or court, one hundred and eighty feet in length by sixty in breadth, round which is a gallery leading to the cells, and communicating by stairs to the upper storeys. It was partly constructed in the thirteenth century, and partly rebuilt in modern times, and is ten or twelve feet below the level of the adjacent streets; it serves as a promenade for the prisoners. The dungeons, which have not been used for the last thirty years, are twenty-three feet in length by eleven and a half in height.

Interieur de La Conciergerie

Escalier en colimacon de La Conciergerie

Marie Antoinette's cell was converted into a chapel dedicated to her memory

Station on Paris metro: Cité

Pont Neuf

The equestrian statue of Henri IV

The Pont Neuf(new bridge) is the oldest bridge in Paris now, inaugurated it in 1607 by Henri IV. The bronze equestrian statue of Henri IV was commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Medici, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla in 1618. The sculpture originally rose from the river on its own foundations, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island, which is planted as the teardrop-shaped Parc Vert Galant in honour of Henri IV, the "Green Gallant" King.

At Square du Vert Galant, there is the Bateaux Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf for sightseeing cruise. It's better try it in the summer that you can enjoy the cruise calmly under the sun.

If you find the steps behind the statue and follow them down to the vaulted arches of the bridge, you will find yourself facing a small green park on the western tip of the island. This tiny sanctuary is the best place to go in Paris if you don't own a boat. By sitting on the stone embankments, surrounded by water, you can almost pretend you are sailing down the river.

Aug 11, 2009

Sometimes I went to Place Dauphine, located at the Île de la Cité . It's calm and beautiful, a place to visit to escape the madness of St. Michel. There's almost no traffic on the little cobblestone street and the trees and benches provide wonderful respite from the chaotic boulevards nearby.The Place Dauphine is a small and a little residential park surrounded by some very expensive apartments and a few small shops and cafes. This is the perfect place to have a sandwich or a drink in one of the quiet bistros without being subjected to the usual crowds and tourists. The place Dauphine has somehow managed to avoid being overrun by noisy groups and visitors. In the 18th century, the artists Boucher and Chardin used the area to exhibit paintings. If you walk through the west gate you will find yourself facing an equestrian statue of Henry IV.

From the Place Dauphine, triangular in shape, can access the middle of the ancient bridge called the Pont Neuf. The bridge connects the left and right banks of the Seine by passing over the Île de la Cité. A street called, since 1948, Rue Henri-Robert, forty metres long, connects the Place Dauphine and the bridge. Where they meet, there are two other named places, the Place du Pont Neuf and the Square du Vert Galent.

What a calm place!

Station on Paris metro: Pont Neuf or Cité

Aug 10, 2009

Île de la Cité is one of two natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris, the other being Île Saint-Louis. The land between the two was, until the 1850s, largely residential and commercial, but since has been filled by the city's Prefecture de Police, Palais de Justice, Hôtel-Dieu hospital and Tribunal de Commerce. Only the westernmost and northeastern extremities of the island remain residential today, and the latter preserves some vestiges of its 16th century canon's houses.

The Île de la Cité remains the heart of Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the "zero kilometer" point located in the Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, the square facing Notre-Dame's west end-towers.

Aug 9, 2009

Eglise de Saint-Eustache colonne

Eglise de Saint-Eustache vitraux

Eglise de Saint-Eustache retable vierge

Eglise de Saint-Eustache orgue (organ)

I used to spare my time to go to organ concerts each summer in Église de Saint-Eustache ( Saint Eustache Church), commemorating the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Messiah. With 8000 pipes, the organ is the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ was originally constructed by Ducroquet and later modified under the direction of Joseph Bonnet. The present instrument was designed under the direction of Titular Organist Jean Guillou and dates from 1989 and was built by the Dutch firm of Van den Heuvel retaining a few ranks of pipes from the former organ. Believe me, you really like to listen the concerts. It felt like I live in other century, with the very different life, culture, habits. How far imagining!

Located at the entrance to Les Halles and the beginning of the famous rue Montorgueil, the Église de Saint-Eustache is a a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here two decades later. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there. Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name "Saint-Eustache" refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general who was burned with his family for converting to Christianity.

Station on Paris metro: Les Halles

Aug 6, 2009

Les Halles at night

La maison stohrer, one of the city's oldest and most revered patisseries (pastry shops) and caterers. The shop on Rue Montorgueil is the oldest and opened in the early 18th century.

The Rue Montorgueil neighborhood,a vibrant pedestrian area in the heart of Paris. Some of the city's best produce, meat and fish markets can be found here, along with renowned pastry shops like La Maison Stohrer, cozy bistros, boutiques, and bars diverse enough to please hipsters and traditionalists alike.

Mango, Zara, H&M, La cité, sinequanone, etc. You can find many store in Les Halles, located in the 1er arrondissement, just south of the fashionable rue Montorgueil. It is notable in that the open air center area is below street level, like a pit, and contains sculpture, fountains, and mosaics, as well as museums including the Musée Grévin - Forum des Halles (a wax museum). Beneath this lies the underground station Châtelet-Les-Halles, a central hub of Paris's express commuter rail system, the RER.

In 1183, King Philippe II Auguste enlarged the marketplace in Paris and built a shelter for the merchants, who came from all over to sell their wares. In the 1850s, the massive glass and iron buildings (Victor Baltard Architect) Les Halles became known for were constructed. Les Halles was known as the "stomach of Paris".

Station on Paris metro : Châtelet

Aug 2, 2009

The Louvre at night

The Louvre Palace

The pyramid

The inverted pyramid

The ceilings in the Louvre Museum

When the first time I went to the Louvre, I fell in love directly. I couldn't imagine how they built the Louvre with the most beautiful concepts in the world. It's perfect for me. The Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum or Great Louvre, or simply the Louvre)is the largest national museum of France, the most visited museum in the world, and an historic monument, with over 35,000 pieces of art housed in a gigantic, 60,000 square foot building. Located along the banks of the Seine, the glass pyramid outside the Louvre is a memorable landmark, and an often photographed view of the museum. Descend below to enjoy the large collection of works, including Leonardo da Vinci"s Mona Lisa.

Built by Philippe-Auguste, the Louvre in the late 12th century as a fortress on the edge of the city to protect Paris from Anglo-Norman invaders. The Louvre was retrofitted into a residence for Louis XIV in the 16th century, and remained a palace for several centuries, but also began to showcase the works that France had been collecting. The history of the Louvre museum took a dramatic turn in the late 18th century when the art collection took over entirely, and thus the modern Louvre was born. Different rulers build different sections as part of the palace expansion. King Henri IV built the Grande Galerie, which is over a quarter of a mile long, and at the time was the longest building in the world. Louis XIII completed the Denon Wing during his rein. Even Napoleon had a hand in the history of the Louvre museum, adding a wing in the 1850s.

The Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace) is an almost rectangular structure, composed of the square Cour Carrée and two wings which wrap the Cour Napoléon to the north and south. In the heart of the complex is the Louvre Pyramid, above the visitor's center. The museum is divided into three wings: the Sully Wing to the east, which contains the Cour Carrée and the oldest parts of the Louvre; the Richelieu Wing to the north; and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south.

When I went to the entrance by the escalator from the pyramid, I really adore the design of the glass pyramid. How creative is architect I.M Pei ! After went down, I saw the inverted pyramid. It's so beautiful, especially when the sun shined. French President François Mitterrand proposed the Grand Louvre plan (1983) to renovate the building and relocate the Finance Ministry, allowing displays throughout the building. Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid for the central courtyard.The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, La Pyramide Inversée (The Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. As of 2002, attendance had doubled since completion.

A Louvre tour seeing every piece of work in the collection would take weeks. The Louvre is divided into eight collections.The Collections of the Louvre include: egyptian antiquitie, near eastern antiquities, greek, etruscan, and roman, islamic art, sculpture, decorative arts, painting, prints and drawings. I didin't have much time when I went to Louvre. So I only chose several collections to see. The painted ceilings in the Louvre are very beautiful. An obligatory stop on the Louvre tour is at the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, also known as the Mona Lisa. It is on display (First Floor/denon/room 13), behind a glass case, roped stanchions, and a throng of museum goers. Stop by for a look, then head off to another section to become more engulfed in the works. Other famous works include the ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo, dating to around 130 B.C., and the Virgin and Child with St. Anne by da Vinc. The painting depicts St. Anne, her daughter the Virgin and the child Jesus.

How great Louvre !

Station on Paris metro: Louvre