Thursday, July 31, 2014

St. Germain-en-Laye: le chateau

Kim and Dave departed Monday morning. Noting we had only four days left of our visit in Paris, we studied our to-do/see list, prioritized, and took the RER out to St. Germain-en-Laye and the royal chateau there, which houses the National Archaeology Museum. It's been many months since we had a good paleolithic or neolithic experience. The chateau was built in the 12th-13th centuries, mainly by Louis IX. Perhaps the most remarkable part, and the only part remaining of the high Medieval castle not scourged by the Black Prince, is its chapel, by Pierre de Montreuil, which pre-figures the latter's Saint-Chapelle in Paris. One look at it and you figure it was the same architect and the same purpose as Saint-Chapelle. The Crown of Thorns was delivered here and resided here until Saint-Chapelle could be completed. The windows at St. Germain-en-Laye are gone, but it's still a rayonnant wonder. The rest of the castle was rebuilt in the 1360s. Oh yes, the chateau at St. Germain-en-Laye was an official haven for Jacobites in the late 17th century, and James II is buried in the town. Alas, we did not see much of St. Germain-en-Laye, the town, which looked very appealing.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Les fontaines du Château de Versailles

Vicki had wanted to see the fountains at play, so we met Dave and Kim at Versailles Saturday afternoon after they had toured the big house, and enjoyed the water show together. Nowadays, they do the fountains four times a week, including a night show.
The Eiffel Tower from the Javal Metro, where we had to go
to get the RER to Versailles (construction closures)

Vicki and I skipped the Chateau this time

And concentrated on the gardens and fountains

We had never seen the Mirror Fountain before--clearly the
star of all the scores of fountains at Versailles...videos (but
of course you have to see the videos) are at and

Interesting Dying Gaul at Versailles

Looking toward the Grand Canal

Apollo's Grotto; all kinds of Apollo stuff at Versailles...the
Sun King was fond of the Sun God

Up closer

Our party

Assorted other fountains


The ever-popular Encelades

Great topiary

Great gardens, great, it makes you feel so good
about revolution and regicide

A final geyser

And the crowd-pleasing Neptune Fountain finale

Les églises du Marais

The churches of the Marais don't get a lot of attention. There are too many other things of note in this district. I had a return to make at the BHV ("eternal return" is not a myth), and most of the other things I had hoped to see in the area didn't pan out. So, I visited a few of the churches I had noticed on previous visits.
Nave of the church of St. Gervais

Elevation...Gothic on the inside

Not at all Gothic on the facade; actually we
saw this a bit in the Cistercian churches in
Portugal...austere Gothic on the inside, over-
the-top Baroque on the outside

We had walked past and noted Hector Guimard's Rue Pavee
Synagogue previously; I read later that, although it is
generally closed, if one knocked at the door and asked
politely, the caretaker might permit a look around--Guimard
did all the interior ornamentation as well as the exterior

I asked, but the attendant rather curtly
said "no visit!"; the latest Gaza war is going
on, quite a few Jewish businesses have been
vandalized in Muslim protests around Paris,
and I might have known it was not going to
work; I understand; maybe next time; the
Germans dynamited this synagogue and six
others in Paris on Yom Kippur in 1941;
the French rebuilt and restored it, opening
it finally in 1989 as a "national monument"

St. Paul's, on Rue Rivoli; famous for its
namesake Metro stop (?)

If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it

Later that evening Kim and Dave took us out for dinner at
Chez Rene--the company was so entertaining I forgot to
take pix--but we walked past the Orient Express exhibit/
restaurant on Boulevard St. Germain

Thus; at the Arab Institute

And enjoyed a gorgeous view of Notre Dame from the Pont
de Sully on the way back home

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hector Guimard

Guimard is not to Paris as Mucha is to Prague or Gaudi to Barcelona. But close. And if you know a bit of Art Nouveau and Belle Epoche, etc., you know his name and look for his structures here. We've seen many and wanted to see a few more while we were here. The first is the Metro entrance at Porte Dauphine, one of two remaining full-scale entrances, c. 1900. The second was Guimard's own home, the Hotel Guimard, at 122 Avenue Mozart in the 16th, done in 1908. A bonus was the Villa Flore across the street, one of his last works, done in about 1924, well after Art Nouveau was over.

PS: Getting from Porte Dauphine to 122 Avenue Mozart allowed us to walk nearly the length of the Bois de Boulogne, which we'd been wanting to revisit. I'll post a few pix in the next out-takes. Although there is much to like in the B de B, it's still pretty seedy, in parts, by day as well as by night.

PPS: I'm not counting, but Google is...this is my 2,000th blog post on The Road Goes Ever On.

Built on a triangular corner lot--a weird  building

The signature is barely readable and the whole place seems approaching disrepair

Art Nouveau downspout

Unmistakable Guimard graphic

He was doing some form of Art Deco by 1924

Still Guimard