Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pont d'Austerlitz

The first Austerlitz bridge across the Seine was built of iron and commemorated in 1805 for Napolean's victory at Austerlitz (one of his greatest victories, also known as the Battle of the Three Emporers).

But this arch bridge was deterioriating 50 years later and was re-engineered out of masonry by Jean-Marie-Georges Choquet, Guiard, Zoroastre-Alexandre Michal and Jules Savarin in 1854.

It is 174 meters long and 30 meters wide.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Marquis de Lafayette

This French soldier was a passionate joiner in the American Revolution against Britain. He became lifelong friends with George Washington, even naming a son George Washington Lafayette.

This statue near Quai de Albert I and the Champs-Élysées was erected by the “schoolchildren of the U.S.”

"A small subscription magazine booklet: The Mentor, Lafayette by Albert Bushnell Hart published in January 1918. It has a photograph of Paul Wayland Bartlett's statue. The statue is of the identical design to that which was placed at Metz by the Knights of Columbus in 1920. The caption with this photograph reads:

'The Childrens Statue of Lafayette. This statue, designed by the sculptor, Paul Wayland Barlett, was a gift to France in 1908, from five million American school children. It stands in a court of the Louvre, Paris.'

However, the statue was removed a few years back to make space for a modern pyramid of steel and glass cover to a staircase leading to a lower level entrance to the museum. The new location of this statue is along the Cours Albert 1er [right bank of the Seine], between the Pont de l'Alma and the Pont des Invalids, not far from the statue of Bolivar. It served as the focus of one of the 2004 Alliance Day Commemorations in Paris.”

Monday, November 06, 2006

Liberty Enlightening the World (La liberté éclairant le monde)

Tensions between France and the U.S. have not always existed. For one, there's the help with the American War of Independence.
For another, there is the Statue of Liberty. I have seen two Statues of Liberty in Paris. The top image is the one in the Luxembourg Gardens. The other is a figurehead on a boat in the Seine. Perhaps there are many more?

I did not see the most famous one in Paris, which is mounted next to the Pont de Grenelle, a bridge crossing the Seine, 1.5 km south of the Eiffel Tower.

The Statue of Liberty Revisited edited by Wilton S. Dillon, 1994, page 155 (as quoted here):

"On July 4, 1889 the American community in Paris offered the French people a gift of a bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty; it still stands now, on an island in the Seine River, downstream from the Eiffel Tower. In a symbolic sense, this recently restored American gift closes the circle of gift giving that was launched by the French in the 1860's with the gift of Miss Liberty. In a deeper sense, though, the American replica in Paris serves to extend and strenthen the chain of reciprocity between the two peoples that has existed since before the founding of the American Republic and that promises to continue well into the future.

This magnificent exchange of gifts illustrates a declaration delivered by French ambassador Jule J. Jusserand on the occasion of the 1916 ceremony at which Liberty's torch was first lighted with electricity: 'Not to a man, not to a nation, the statue was raised. It was raised to an idea - an idea greater than France or the United States: the idea of Liberty.'"

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Place Dauphine

If you click on the photo you can see a surprise painted on the roof of the apartment building.

Place Dauphine is a small "square" (more like a triangle) almost at the western tip of the Ile de la Cité, the island on which the Notre Dame cathedral sits, at the opposite end. It is lined with 17th c. houses. There is a wonderful tavern called Henry IV at the opening. Henry IV had this place built and named for the "dauphin" - - Louis XIII. Have you seen "Marie Antoinette" yet?

Place Dauphine by Michel Delacroix

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tour d'Argent restaurant

I have never eaten at this restaurant. I love how it looks. It is one of the finest restaurants in Paris, sits on the Seine, and from its windows on an upper floor you can look at the sun setting behind the Notre Dame. Enter its web site, and you will experience the extravagance shown in the movie Marie Antoinette that I saw last week. I have been fortunate enough to eat at some fine restaurants in Paris, a once in a lifetime experience for most of us. If you ask me, almost anywhere you eat in Paris is wonderful, even the humblest café. The food is better than anywhere I've been. I have a theory that the omelettes are better in Paris because they do not refrigerate the eggs as we do in the U.S.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Le pont du Carroussel

I couldn't stay away.

Here are a variety of views of Le pont du Carroussel, the bridge that crosses the Seine from the Left Bank to the Right where the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre meet.

Click on images for larger views.

Looking north toward the Louvre and Tuileries

Looking northwest
Looking northeast

Looking southwest toward the Left Bank and the top of the Eiffel Tower

Looking west on the walkway down by the Seine

Looking at the Louvre

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I'm running out of good photographs of Paris since my last trip in May 2006. If you haven't visited Paris Deconstructed before, I hope you'll browse the posts that are here. But for now, I will not be posting until my next visit to Paris, unless I get inspired!

I have much to learn about Paris, but without my own exploration and photographs to post, the sharing will have to wait.

In the meantime, I hope you'll visit my other blogs:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Église de la Madeleine

Looking north from the Place de la Concorde, past this fountain, you can see the church dedicated to Mary Magdalene, at the end of rue Royale. Louis XVI was beheaded with the guillotine just near here in the square.

The Neo-Classical Église de la Madeleine is affectionately called "La Madeleine" by Parisians. There are 52 Corinthian columns around the edifice.

This statue inside is of Mary Magdalene's ascension. It was built in 1837 by Charles Marochetti.

The painted frieze shows Jesus and the disciples.

I posted about Mary Magdalene in May, just as the movie "The DaVinci Code" was being released. I mentioned this church briefly then.

Two separate plans for this church were scrapped, the first in 1776 and the second in 1790.Then Napoléon thought Paris needed a temple to his army, and commissioned it to be completed as that honorary building. However, that too was scrapped for the Arc de Triomphe instead. In 1814 Louis XVIII decided it needed to be a church, but it was almost redesigned into Paris' first train station in 1837. Since 1842 it's been a church. (Information found at

In 1969 the Catholic Church admitted quietly that there was no biblical basis for Mary Magdalene being a prostitute.

Every day except Monday there is a flower market around the church.

Edouard Leon Cortes(1882 - 1969) Flower Market at the Madeleine, Oil on canvas

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rouge de Paris

Studies in red. Les études dans rouge.

Warning: I used a free online translator, so if some phraseology is BAD, pardonnez moi!

Click on photos for larger views.

Red curtain - rideau rouge

Strawberries and yogurt - fraises et yogourt

Window dressing on rue Montaigne - la fenêtre s'habille sur rue de montaigne

Petit-pont - Petit-pont

Dinner cruise on the Seine - la croisière de dîner sur la Seine

Red stool in antique market - le tabouret rouge dans le marché antique

Red awning - auvent rouge

Red dress in the Tuileries - la robe rouge dans le Tuileries

Top of stone wall facing Notre Dame cathedral where painters set up small easels - Le sommet de mur de pierre faisant face à la cathédrale de Dame de Notre où les peintres établissent de petits chevalets

Good parking spot - le bon endroit de parking

Trash is trash in any language - les déchets sont des déchets dans n'importe quelle langue

Louvre pyramid - Louvre pyramide

Fancy bike - vélo luxueux

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An island: Île de la Cité, part one

Click on photos to enlarge.

Map of Paris

Map of Île de la Cité

As you can see in the map of Paris, top, there are two islands in the Seine. The larger of the two, the one on the left, is the Île de la Cité. The smaller one, to the east of it, is the Île Saint-Louis. On maps, they resemble ships in the water.

There is so much to be found on the Île de la Cité alone, it's too much for one post. So this time I'm just going to hit on some views of the southern side of the island, mainly of the bridges connecting the Left Bank with the island.

This view is looking east, toward the tip of the island, and at the Pont Neuf. Keep in mind that pont means "bridge," which you probably would figure out after a while. As you can see, Pont Neuf spans the Seine all the way across the tip of the island.

Pont Neuf across the tip of Île de la Cité

The next bridge walking east and on the south side of the island is Pont St-Michel. This view is looking west and shows the Palace of Justice, within the walls of which is housed the Ste-Chapelle chapel, one of the must-sees with its 800-year old stained glass windows. An intimate concert there with a chamber orchestra at night is pure heaven.

Pont St-Michel

Walking east you'll come to the Petit Pont, or "little bridge." In this view, again looking west, you are looking at the Prefecture of Police, where famously the French Resistance held out against the German Nazis in August 1944, the beginning of the Liberation of Paris.

Petit Pont

Then comes Pont au-Double. "The first bridge at this location was built as a two-story building, an annex to the Hötel Dieu ( a hospital). First requested in 1515, it was finally constructed in 1634. The floor that served as a passageway for the hospital staff was envied by pedestrians annoyed by the congestion at the Petit Pont. So the passage-way was opened to the public in exchange for the payment of a 'double-denier' from which the current name was derived.Payment for passage continued until the Revolution. The bridge collapsed in 1709, was reconstructed in its original form, then in 1803, when the smaller branch of the Seine was opened to navigation, was replaced by the existing structure, with a single arch." (from

Pont au Double, looking east

Pont au Double closeup

When you get to the Petit Pont, the bridge before last, you see this view of the Notre Dame cathedral looking east. The Notre Dame is at the stern of the "ship" of the Île de la Cité.

Notre Dame cathedral with Petit Pont in foreground, looking east

There, you've walked the whole southern (larboard) side of the Île de la Cité!

The Notre Dame looking west:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shakespeare & Co, part deux

Click on images for enlarged views.

I posted about Shakespeare & Co in the first post on this blog back in April 2006. Don't confuse this bookstore with the bookstore chain in NYC that is not connected but borrowed the name. My daughter happened upon it this summer.

This one is across the Seine from the Notre Dame cathedral on the Left Bank. Mr. George Whitman is a character and a half in his 90s who has lived in Paris most of his life. He owns this quirky bookstore and keeps it as earthy and vibrant as he seems to keep himself. (Does he really "trim" his hair with flames from a candle?)

George Whitman (photo from the Shakespeare & Co website)

If you click and enlarge this image of a blackboard, you can read what George Whitman has written.

He and his daughter Sylvia run the place. They invite nomadic writers and students to sleep in a bed upstairs and sweep up or tidy piles of books for their keep (and you must read a book a day).

They also invite famous writers to read from their works, Henry Miller among them some time ago.

In May 2006 I visited the bookstore as I do whenever I visit Paris. This time I joined a poetry group upstairs for a reading. The stairs are treacherous. There were probably 30 people in this little room. The pew I sat on against the wall was falling apart. I met a film attorney from LA who said she'd come speak to our film students, and listened to some terrific poetry.

Upstairs room for readings

Cecilia Woloch and a group of her poetry fans and students. (Click on her name and read a poem or two on her site; she's very good.)