On my return to home from Scotland I stopped over in Paris for two days and stayed at the home of my friends who house sit for me here in the country. I moved to Paris from London in 1978 so I know the city better than most French people although is has changed considerably and not for the better!
On my stay I came across a homeless guy I see from time to time. He sells on the pavement things he finds in the trash and is always happy in nature. I found these treasures from him and leaving both of us with huge smiles on our faces , me because I found lovely things and he because he got a handful of cash!
The first thing I saw and bought was this 18th century tea caddie complete with its key! It has had a hard life, I can sympathise, but still remains in my eyes beautiful. He asked me for ten euros, I gave him more of course.
It even has its original inner lids which is rare indeed. The linings have gone and one back foot is missing but I love it, I have always had a passion for wooden boxes for some reason.
You can see the centuries of grime around the lock. I will clean it up with a restoration product without trying to make is fully as was. It must retain its wrinkles.
I walked a lot around the city as usual and as it was a beautiful May the first it was quiet for a change. I took a picture of this building/monument thinking that it could make a good story. It is the main town hall ' Mairie de Paris ' as it is today but most people do not know that this is the rebuilt version after a fire in 1871.
This is what was left of the original building after the fire that took place during an uprising in Paris between 1871 and 1873. This 'revolution' began when Napoleon III was captured by the Prussians during the Franco Prussian war in 1870. Short version, the movement was radical-socialist and when the third republic moved its base to the city of Tours a new rule took place and many were killed in the two year period. As with the main French Revolution it was a chance for many to impose their ideas but it didn't last. During this period many major buildings and monuments were burnt. This building had an amazing interior fill of glitz and cristal and many works of art, all gone.
Here you can see a rendition of the great burning of the Tuilleries Palace or Royal Residence dating from 1564 onwards. It was part of the same structure as what we now know of as the Louvre, the part which survived. This was a truly amazing building full, again, of incredible architecture and works of art along with the royal collections of furnishings.
This is the view of the building before the fire.
This is the Palace after the fire. It was gutted and what could be pillaged was done in the years following the fire before its demolition in 1883. the fire lasted several days and was deliberate using petrol and tar to make sure that nothing was left. It seems incredible today that Nothing was done to rebuild it as the walls were in good condition. It has recently been said by an architect/historian that we could easily rebuild it as the revenue it would bring would make it pay over the years.
This is a view of the interior of the palace. Its architecture closely ressembles that of the Louvre for those of you who have visited it.
I cannot write about the burning of monuments without mentioning the Notre Dame Cathedral. We are all still in shock over this tragedy indifferent of religious beliefs. You cannot really get close to it now of course as the streets have been closed off and many many people are involved with securing and cleaning up the area. When the central spire fell it was an Arrow in our hearts.
As I walked around the area I noticed this building that I must have passed a great many times but this time I saw it as for the first time. It used to be a company that specialised in signage and I just noticed the decor remaining on the walls. Typical of Paris, you can always see Something 'new'. We have a saying in Paris, 'Tourists look up and Parisians look down' , avoiding the dog poo !
I will finish with a few more bits bought from the homeless guy. I love and collect bits of carvings and these pine-apple décorations were right up my street. The pineapple in architecture and design is symbolic of welcome. I will find somewhere to position these one day. He asked me for five euros but I gave him ten as it seemed too cheap and I wanted to feel good about acquiring them.
These bronzes came with his story. I initially just wanted the keyhole décorations ' escutcheons' but he insisted on fishing out all the pieces and selling it as a lot. He told me he found a Louis Something chest in the street ( Parisians throw out everything! ) and he spent ages dismantling all the bronzes before it want to the trash! I can only imagine what it was like. I ALSO have quite a collection of bronze trims from furniture, all ages. He asked me again for ten euros and again I gave him more.
Well that is todays story, some of you might find it interesting.