Showing posts with label La Tuile à Loup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La Tuile à Loup. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pictures to Embrace: Notre Dame

This post on NOTRE DAME de PARIS (translation: "Our Lady of Paris") 
is the second of three about Chartres Cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, and the Basilica of Saint-Denis.   I had the privilege of visiting them last year and wanted to document each within the scope of a blog post.  Pictures to Embrace: Chartres Cathedral explains the starting point and impetus of these visits.

Some  seven  million  people  visit  Notre  Dame  de  Paris  each  year.   
Located on a small, center-city island, Notre Dame is a Gothic Cathedral whose construction began in 1163 and lasted into the 1240's.  And as the Mona Lisa (across the river from Notre Dame in the Louvre) is called "the most recognized painting in the world," so may be Notre Dame the most recognized cathedral.  

There's something magical about Notre Dame.  Whether I see its flying buttresses rising towards the sky from the back side or its unmistakable dual towers, I've always a sense of awe.  During my January 2010 trip to Paris, I encountered Notre Dame on several occasions.  One sunny Sunday morning I purchased a favorite street food, a "crêpe jambon-gruyère" and "un coca" (a ham and cheese crepe with a coke :), amongst the touristy shops of rue d'Arcole near Notre Dame.  I then turned onto the medieval rue Chanoinesse and took my time ambling along, enjoying my lunch.  Then all of the bells of Notre Dame unexpectedly began to chime.  Layer upon layer of sounds rang loudly, one on top of the next, lasting for several enchanting minutes.  Services must have been concluding as it was about noon.  So there I was,  just me and my crepe, walking through a street concert!  It was definitely one of those "happiness is" moments!  


People  (Americans, at least)  most  often  associate  NOTRE DAME de PARIS 
with  Victor Hugo's  1831  novel,  The  Hunchback  of  Notre  Dame.  
 In the story, an epitome of the French Romantic period of literature, 
Quasimodo ("the Hunchback") rings the cathedral bells 
and falls in love with a dancing gypsy girl, Esmérelda.


From 1685, there were originally two "great bourdon bells of Notre Dame," known as “Marie” and “Emmanuel.”  During the French Revolution “Marie” was dismantled and melted down, but the 13-ton  “Emmanuel” 
The North (left) Tower includes eight bells, the South Tower includes two large bells, with seven bells in the spire and three for the chiming of the clock, creating

THE “EMMANUEL” BELL is also associated with the FRENCH NATION
having  marked  all  major  liturgical  festivals
the  Te  Deum  for  the  coronation  of  kings
the  funerals  for  French  heads  of  state,  and 
the  ends  of  major  conflicts  including  the  two  world  wars, 
 as  well  as  upon  September  12,  2001.


Along with Hugo's Hunchback, people (tourists) associate Notre Dame de Paris with its famous gargoyles (defined as "carved stone grotesques with spouts designed to convey water from a roof...away from a building").  Contrary to popular belief, these gargoyles are not the work of Medieval craftsmen who built Notre Dame in the 1200's.  They are 19th-century additions to the cathedral, installed during major renovations from the 1840's to the 1860's.  
In The Gargoyles of Notre Dame, author Michael Camille portrays Notre Dame de Paris as a medieval icon "wrenched by 19th-century bureaucrats" into their own era in attempts to glorify the French state.  A review:


On the day my friend Michel got into town it didn't take long for us to end up at Notre Dame.  And as it was Michel's first visit there, he excitedly proposed we begin by climbing the tower.  (I immediately tried to think up a polite way to say, "Forget it!")  The grueling climb up 387 steps, on my first visit to Notre Dame so many years ago, was still clear in my mind.  And while the views from the top were beautiful, I'd sworn never to climb those stairs again!  I'll always recall how each step was worn down and shorter in the center from hundreds of years of wear...I'd never seen anything like it!

My encounters with this great landmark tend to be more haphazard and unplanned, although with no shortage of delight on my end.   One time, as I headed into Paris via an early am taxi cab, I looked up to recognize Notre Dame from behind...flying buttresses like slender fingers reaching towards the sky.   What a smile it put on my face!   Perhaps it was that same trip when I discovered my hotel room had a beautiful view of Notre Dame's towers, a mile or so away.   Each night, before turning in, I opened my windows and just took in the night air and the view.


As mentioned in Pictures to Embrace: Chartres, Chartres' construction began in 1205, whereas Notre Dame's cornerstone was laid almost forty years earlier.  Chartres exhibits uniformity of its period (early 13th century) as it was built relatively quickly.  Notre Dame displays more of a combination of early and high Gothic elements.  The buttresses at Chartres are heavier, seeming almost unrefined in comparison to the slender  flying buttresses of Notre Dame.  The plans for Chartres, however, were the first ever to include flying buttresses; original plans for Notre Dame did not.


Notre Dame's main-west façade includes three portals telling the story of the Life of Mary.  The 1st, Left Portal: "The Life of the Virgin Mary," includes a coronation scene and an astrological calendar.  The 2nd, Center portal: (photo above) "The Last Judgement," depicts a reigning Christ and resurrection of the dead.  This is a shift from earlier Romanesque architectural carvings which focused on man's condemnation.  The 3rd, Right portal: is "The Portal of Saint Anne."  It depicts the Life of Christ, Christ's genealogy, and Mary sitting on the throne, the Christ Child in her arms.  This portal is called "Notre Dame's oldest and finest," as it's the only to survive from the 12th century.

The  Gallery  of  Kings,  above  Notre  Dame's  portals,  includes  28  statues  depicting  the  Kings  of  Israel.   Current statues are replicas.  The originals were decapitated during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries viewed them as political symbols.  The whereabouts of these original carved heads remained unknown until 1977 when 21 were discovered in the foundations of a Paris bank, just miles away from the cathedral.  They had been carefully and respectfully buried by a Royalist who had purchased them in 1796.   Said to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in several hundred years, they are now on display in Paris' Medieval Museum, The Musée de Cluny.    The Rose window, above the Gallery of Kings, is "the largest rose window ever attempted when it was conceived," and measures over 32 feet in diameter.  The perfect circular form is said to symbolize the perfection of God.

"This essentially Early Gothic building has a High Gothic silhouette in which only the slender crossing spire interrupts the long horizontal roof line that extends eastward behind the massive towers.  The façade of Notre Dame seems to waver between the old and the new... careful  balancing  of  vertical  against  horizontal  elements  has  achieved  a quality  of  restful  stability  that  makes  this  façade  one  of  the  most  satisfying  and  memorable  in  Gothic  architecture." 
- Gardner's Art Through the Ages.  

A renowned sculpture of The Virgin Mary (introduced circa 1220) sits inside Notre Dame.  Mary holds the Baby Jesus in her arms, and the folds and direction of her gown incorporate what was called the "Gothic-sway."  Remember that the carved statuary at Chartres was a breakthrough at its time in portrayal of more life-like, "moving" figures.


Point Zero is a landmark in front of Notre Dame's main entrance.  In 1768, geographers decided to make it the location from which all distances in France would be measured.  Countries throughout the world use such markers (e.g. 
"All Roads Lead to Rome."), and although they exist in Washington, DC and Chicago as well, they are not used in the United States. (Michel and I  looked and looked for it, finally determining that it must be underneath the twenty-foot Christmas tree still on display during the last week of January.)

Located beneath the square in front of Notre Dame, this is one of the largest archaeological spaces in Europe.  Until Baron Haussmann's grand-scale renovations of Paris in the mid-1800's, the area in front of Notre Dame was full of small medieval streets.  As buildings on these streets were torn down, remnants of Gallo-Roman Paris were uncovered.  This small island, called the Île de la Cité, is the original site of Paris' first settlers (called "Parisii") believed to arrive circa 52 B.C.  "Remains of alleys, streets and houses reveal details about life in the Roman city of Lutetia and also about Paris during the High Middle Ages. The remains of the medieval basilica of Saint-Etienne can also be seen, a building that predates the current cathedral."

Inaugurated in 1962, this memorial is located at the eastern tip of the island, behind Notre Dame cathedral.  It commemorates 160,000 French individuals deported during WWII to German death camps.  Slightly further afield is the Shoah Memorial, unveiled in 2005, accessible by crossing two nearby bridges, the Ponts Saint-Louis and Louis-Philippe, to the Right Bank, turning right on rue de l'Hotel de Ville and then left onto rue Geoffroy-l'Asnier to no. 17.

One last unintentional encounter I had with Notre Dame last year was on the same day as my visit to Chartres.  After returning to the city, I'd headed to the Latin Quarter to visit La Tuile à Loup (more about this store in my post: Paris 2010: Favorites) then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering up rues Monge and Cardinal Lemoine until reaching the end of the Boulevard Saint Germain.  I'd had a couple of addresses to check on the latter, and ended up meeting the river at Quai de la Tournelle around six pm.  It was dark, and I was treated to an unobstructed view of Notre Dame in all of her glory, lit up for the night.  And though I was worn out and cold, I decided to continue walking...across the Pont au Double, directly in front of Notre Dame, and eventually...finally on past to the Right Bank, where our apartment wasn't far behind.  So these are the mental pictures I hold onto.  Touristy?  Yes, but with good reason.



PHOTOS: 1. Rose Window of Notre Dame 2. Notre Dame, west facade at dusk  
3. aerial photograph and 4. map of Paris' Île de la Cité with marker designating its location
5. aerial photo of Notre Dame, Google Maps  
6. VICTOR HUGO (1802-1885), giant of French literature (LEFT), flickr
7. "QUASIMODO," as portrayed by Charles Laughton in 1939 (RIGHT), starstills
8. Notre Dame's "Emmanuel" Bell, via wikipedia  9. and 10. Notre Dame's gargoyles, via flickr
11. spiral staircase of Notre Dame's South Tower, via flickr 
12.  Notre Dame eastern side,
13.  Notre Dame, ribbed ceiling vaults, unknown
14.  Resurrected Christ in the Last Judgement Portal, Notre Dame, via sacred destinations
15. 16. 17. head of King David, circa 1145, unidentified King, and head of King Judah, circa 1220-30,
respectively, all original to the Gallery of Kings, Notre Dame, Cluny Museum
18.  West facade of Notre Dame, France Tourism
19. Notre Dame, interior Lee Sandstead Photography
20. Point Zero, Panoramio  21. Notre Dame South flank at night, Fotopedia


Monday, April 19, 2010

Paris 2010: Favorites

Several  friends  and  family  are  headed  to  Paris  so I thought I'd post my favorite spots from this last trip...hoping you'll enjoy them too!

handmade  white  china  and  ceramic  pieces
" Blink and you’ll miss this small shop.   It’s one of the most special spaces in France.  It sells a look and a way of being and a mishmash of objects displayed to thrill your heart.  The business revolves around hand-thrown whitewear/dishes and other objets d’art. "     -  Suzy Gershman
These  items  are  classic,  special  and  hand-made.
I am normally wary of über-chic spots such as this, but found these pieces to be charming, quirky and fun.  The shopkeepers were not snotty (at either location) and that was a plus.  I love the pieces I purchased and know I'll always use them, and recall my time in Paris when I see them.  Astier de Villatte is also known for their scented candles and they sell John Derian découpage as well.
173,  rue  Saint - Honoré   75001   Metro :   Palais  Royale
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11AM –7:30PM, and    
4,  rue  de  bourbon  le  château  75006  Metro : Saint-Germain-des-Prés)

and    Le  BONHEUR  des  DAMES
If  you  embroider,  knit,  cross - stitch  or 
do needlepoint, don't miss these shops...I hadn't done any for years, 
but visits to each of these prompted me to begin again!
Entrée des Fournisseurs ("Suppliers' Entrance") You will love this shop because it's full of specialized fabrics, trims, specialized buttons, kits, books, etc.    8, rue des Francs-Bourgeois 75003  Metro: Saint-Paul, (take rue Sevigné to rue F-B)  Hours: Monday: 2:00-7:00 pm, Tues-Sat: 10:30 am-7:00 pm

Le Bonheur des Dames ("Ladies' Happiness") specializes in embroidery kits, samplers, and associated accessories.  It is located in the charming and historic 19th-century Passage  Verdeau (which leads to Passage  Jouffroy), and also has shops carrying antique cameras, comic books, and engravings.  In visiting here, you'll experience two of Paris' Passages...charming though lesser-known spots...and you'll not be disappointed!
8, Passage Verdeau 75009  Métro : Grands Boulevards or Richelieu Drouot  Hours:  Monday 11:30 - 2:00 and 2:30 - 7:00; Tuesday-Saturday: 10:30 am - 2:00 pm, and 2:30 - 7:00pm

Bakelite,  Lucite...chic,  fun  vintage  jewelry
" French and American vintage jewelry from the 1920s to the 1970s "  New York Magazine calls Tiany Chambard  " a  jewel  box  of  a  store.... filled  with  Lucite  and  Bakelite  jewelry  from  the  forties  through  the  eighties "   It's located behind the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés,  steps  away  from  Café  de  Flore,   Ladurée,  and  Place  Furstenberg  (areas you won't want to miss!)
The shop is run by Tiany's son, Jean-Pierre;  an  English - speaking  gentleman 
who happily shows any piece of interest.
32,   rue   Jacob
75006    Metro:  Saint-Germain-des-Prés 
Hours: Monday - Saturday 2:00 - 8:00 pm

4.     La   TUILE   à   LOUP
handpainted  crockery  and  charming  stoneware 

I could not get over this fantastic shop!  It lived up to everything I'd heard about it...." hand - painted  crockery  and  charming  stoneware  from  such  traditional  manufacturers  as  Quimper  and  Malicorne  and  from  small - scale  producers  in  the  Savoie  Alps  and  Alsace "   -   Frommer's.

They specialize in the
most  beautiful,  creative  pieces  from  all  over  France...
You'll  wish  you   could  bring  the  entire  store  home  with  you!
"It has a slightly out of the way location, but you can easily wander into the 6th from here. If it’s a market day, Wednesday or Friday, stop by place Monge too." - Suzy Gershman from Fodors' "Do You Have a Favorite Splurge Purchase?"  One look at their website and you will be on your way!
35,  rue  Daubenton   75005
Metro :   Censier - Daubenton
Hours: Monday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 1:30/ 2:30 -7:00 p.m.

A  museum  of  decorative  arts  and  interior  design

Following   a   $46  million,   decade - long   renovation,
the   Musée  des  Arts  Décoratifs   reopened   in   2006.
"It’s a unique institution in France, in that its vast collection of some 150,000 objects—from medieval prie-dieus to Sèvres porcelain to an entire Art Deco Pullman car—was  built  almost  exclusively  from  private  donations.   The 6,000 pieces currently on view are spread out across 10 floors and arranged in roughly chronological order..."

 Hélène  David - Weill,  the  institution’s  president,
emphasized   the   intimate   nature   of   each   donation :
" People   gave   the   museum,   for   the   most   part,  
what   they   had   lived   with   and   loved."

"Despite the national focus, the museum’s pieces show a history of constant exchange across borders, as Flemish, Chinese, and Italian influences (among others) have been absorbed and tempered by Gallic sensibilities....consider a marvelously delicate writing table that once belonged to Madame de Pompadour, where the royal paramour may have sat writing love notes to King Louis XV. Its lacquered surface, inset with Orientalist scenes, imitates the Japanese, but in a blue that is classically French."

" The  veil  that  the  French  discreetly  draw  over  their  private  lives  is  ever  so  slightly  lifted  in  the  museum’s  newly  reconstructed  period  rooms.   But visitors can marvel at the luxurious bedchamber commissioned in the 1830’s by the Baron William Hope, a Dutch-English banker so wealthy he lent money to King Louis-Philippe."

"The changing whims of fashion are highlighted in the Cabinet des Fables, an elegant 18th-century boudoir intended for the wife of a wealthy tax collector in Paris. The paneling’s pale-green and rose-colored moldings, which surround illustrations of scenes from La Fontaine’s Fables—monkeys negotiating with foxes and the like—were covered in gold, and the entire ladylike confection rendered at once bolder and more vulgar. 
(Restorers have left evidence of both stages.)"

Lanvin   private   apartments
"Time   stands   still   in   the   private   apartments
of   couturier   Jeanne   Lanvin  :
a bedchamber, boudoir, and bathroom created between 1922 and 1925, with the designer Armand Albert Rateau, as a cloistered refuge where this consummate artist and businesswoman could retire in private or with intimate friends and relations. The silk wall coverings in her signature shade of blue have been re-embroidered by Jean-François Lesage (son of the celebrated couture embroiderer); the perfect geometries of her bathroom, with its sculpted deer above a marble tub and its black-and-cream tiles, gleam once more."   -  Travel  +  Leisure   Magazine,    May  2007

Last but not least,  the  headset - guide  is  included  in  the  ticket  price.
Don't miss the five-stories of furniture
showcasing home styles and furniture from the 1950s - 2000s,  by  floor!
Views  from  the  top  floors  are  worth  the  ticket  price  alone,
and    the   museum   gift  shop,    107   RIVOLI,   is   a  must - see !

TripAdvisor  REVIEWS  of  the  Musée  des  Arts  Décoratifs
107,  rue  de  Rivoli  75001
Metro: Palais Royale    Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.


R E L A T E D       P O S T S  :

Paris   Favorites :  2012

Paris   Treasures : 
musée   Nissim   de   Camondo 

Pictures   to   Embrace:  Notre   Dame