Friday, January 27, 2012

Henry James' A Little Tour In France - Paris

Paris, France

Paris' most recognizable feature - the Eiffel Tower

Most of this book, originally published in 1884, focuses on lesser traveled areas but I thought I'd start with France's "favorite child" city, mainly because I found some pretty cool antique images I wanted to share ( I have a secret love of old tintypes and the like).

Henry James

Much of James' focus on Paris is centered (understandably) around the artists who flocked there for inspiration.     The city is famously known for its period of expatriate writers claiming the City Of Love as their own between the 1920s-1950s, but even earlier than that, painters took up residence to capture the light, loves, and overall energy of this beautiful city.

Some of the famous architecture James tours:

"Concord and Rue Royale Paris 1900" by Edouardo Leon Cortes

Rue Royale, Paris 1900

Arc de Triomphe
Pre -1900s

"Le Palais de Justice 1883" by Karl Giradet
Basically the local courthouse - but I love the courthouse being called "Palais de Justice"
Sounds so much more formal and serious!

Pont de L'Archeveche - "Love Lock Bridge" - 
I thought this was so sweet! People attach locks to the links
in the bridge as a symbol of their love and commitment
 to their special someone!
(BTW - that's Notre Dame chapel in the background)

"Rose Window" in Notre Dame Chapel

pre 1900s shot of Notre dame interior - see the Rose Window?

inside Theatre du Gymnase

 Hard to imagine being in Paris and NOT trying to see this place!
The Louvre - a must for art lovers!

I came across this crazy pic during my research... 
1895 trainwreck at Montparnasse Station, Paris
You can read about the wreck here, which has been referenced 
in numerous modern works, including the 3-D film HUGO
that came out last year. James probably came through this station
(which is still operating) during his visit. 

 Fontainbleau - the famed estate of Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI -
Fontainbleau features the artwork of numerous painters and sculptors 
of the period

Inside Fontainbleau - I believe this is Marie's theatre where she and her friends put on shows,
Marie had a great love of performing arts

the drool-worthy library at Fontainbleau :-)
Funny - I've read a number of books about this couple and 
I don't remember much about either of them being avid readers.... 
but I know where I'd be hanging out if I were one of their visitors 
back then!

Just a couple of the artists featured at Fontainbleu - Francesco Primaticcio and Giovanni Battista di Jacopo, nicknamed "Il Rosso"  or "Rosso Fiorentino"("The Red Florentine") for his red hair. 

 "Odysseus & Penelope" by Francesco Primaticcio

Primaticcio self portrait

"Angelic Musician" by Il Rosso

Other artists James made note of:

"The Reapers" by Julien Dupre
Dupre lived in Paris but became famous for his incredibly lifelike
paintings of rural life in and around 
Brittany and Normandy farms

one of my favorites of his, "Midday Break" by Julien Dupre

portrait of Julien Dupre

I just picture her saying, "Seriously! Can someone
please turn the heat on?!"
"Half Figure of a Bather" by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

"Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere" by Jean Ingres

 Ingres Self Portrait... Anyone else see a bit o' Zac Braff there??

Zac Braff

"Narcissus At The Bath" sculpture by Paul Dubois

The other piece of Paris history that James may have experienced while touring the area - he didn't mention it specifically in the book, but it was a yearly event --  was the time of the Paris Universal Exposition, a World Fair event (similar to the one held in Chicago) that, as far as I can tell, ran at least from 1855-1900. It featured the newest and coolest in arts, theatre, science and inventions, and of course architecture (to get the people in the doors in the first place). I would have loved to walk around this place back then but at least with these cool pics, we can pretend we were there and had the chance to see these amazing architectural designs!

 Main Entrance to the Paris Universal Exposition

 Mademoiselle Gabrielle The Half Woman -
started her show business career at the Paris Universal Exposition

The Illuminated Palace at the Exposition

Salle des Fete, Exposition

Trocadero Building, Exposition

Pretty cool stuff, eh? :-)

Just wanted to share these cool pics  -- next up is the more rural, less tourist - heavy areas James visits.