25 November 2011

Chateaubriand at the Vallée-aux-Loups, Aulnay, Châtenay-Malabry, Hauts-de-Seine (92), France: Literary Île-de-France #41

The first person to build at the Vallée-aux-Loups was André—Arnoult Acloque, a brewer and soldier of the national guard who wanted to live closer to his uncle. He built a small one-storey house there, but was forced to sell up with the fall of the monarchy in 1792.

Retreating from Paris (as he'd wished for a few years before) after an article in the Mercure de France, in which he compared Napoleon to Nero, François—René de Chateaubriand and his wife Céleste bought La Vallée-aux-Loups in 1807 pretty much as Aclocque had left it. Chateaubriand began transforming the former inhabitant's 'gardener's house', and this is what it looks like today.


The portico with caryatids, recalling Chateaubriand's journey to Greece.

Aclocque had built a pavilion in the grounds, which Chateaubriand named 'Tour Velléda' from his book Les Martyrs. It is here that he began Mémoires d'Outre—Tombe.
Chateaubriand also occupied himself with the garden, which he wanted to serve as a memory of the places he'd visited. This was essentially an English garden, with for instance cedars reminding him of the east and catalpas of North America. Above is a cedar planted by him.


Above is an example of a very well preserved 18th century ice house with an underground tank 5.5 meters across and six meters in depth, giving 150 tonnes of ice.

After the fall of the Empire things had begun to look politically promising for Chateaubriand with the publication of his De Buonaparte et des Bourbons in 1814, but two years later, after writing a post scriptum to his De la monarchie selon la Charte, his work was seized, he was struck off the list of ministers of state and his pension withdrawn. He was forced to sell La Vallée-aux-Loups between 1817 and 1818. The Montmorency wing here is named after Matthieu de Montmorency, who was the next owner of the property.

The La Rochefoucauld wing. After Montmorency died in 1826, it became his daughter Elizabeth's, who was married to Sosthènes de la Rochefoucauld, Duke of Doudeauville, who appears to be best known for the mockery he received by lengthening the skirts of dancers at the Opéra and for puritanically covering up the particular anatomical parts of statues that obviously offended him. A digression: that has no direct relation to the La Rochefoucauld wing.


Sosthènes's property passed to his two sons in 1841, although it wasn't until 1849 that 'Sosthènes II' fully came to the property as the single owner of it. A rich and very active social networker of the day, Sosthènes' II soon added a wing on the opposite side to the Montmorency wing, sandwiching Chateaubriand's original property.

The house was opened to the public in 1987.

This plaque lists the works Chateaubriand wrote while he lived here between 1807 and 1818.

'CHATEAUBRIAND
VÉCVT ICI DE 1807 À 1818
ORNA LA DEMEVRE
PLANTA LE PARC
ÉCRIVIT

LES MARTYRS
L'ITINÉRAIRE DE PARIS À JÉRVSALEM
LE DERNIER ABÉCÉNERAGE
MOÏSE
COMMENCA LES ÉTVDES HISTORIQUES
LES MÉMOIRES D'OVTRE-TOMBE'

'LA VALLÉE-AVX-LOUPS, DE TOVTES
LES CHOSES QVI ME SON ÉCHAPPÉES,
EST LA SEVLE CHOSE QVE JE REGRETTE'
                    MÉMOIRES D'OVTRE-TOMBE

The Museum of Romantic Life / Le Musée de la vie romantique, 9th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #40

'Histoire de Paris

Hôtel Renan-Scheffer

Sur les terrains de l'ancienne maison religieuse de Saint-Lazare, vendus comme biens nationaux en 1792, d'habiles spéculateurs avaient créé, vers 1815, un vaste parc d'attractions dont les "Montagnes russes", les premières en France formaient le clou. Vendus vers 1820, ces terrains furent lotis en petits hôtels avec jardins qui attirèrent la jeunesse romantique un peu fortunée de l'époque. Le peintre Ary Scheffer s'installa dans la rue Chaptal nouvellement ouverte et aménagea autour de son petit hôtel un atelier et un jardin d'hiver avec fontaine en rocaille. Peintre d'histoire et habile portraitiste, Scheffer recevait ici toute la société artistique et littéraire de son temps : Chopin et George Sand, ses voisins du square d'Orléans, Franz Liszt et Pauline Viardot, Lamennais et l'historien Augustin Thierry. Ce dernier y amenait Ernest Renan, qui devait épouser Cornélie Scheffer, nièce du maître de maison. Transmis par la famille Renan à la Ville de Paris, ce lieu conscré au monde artistique et littéraire des années 1820 à 1860 est devenu le Musée de la vie romantique.'

'History of Paris

Renan-Scheffer Hotel

On the grounds of the former religious house of Saint-Lazare, sold as national property in 1792, smart speculators had created, by about 1815, a huge amusement park whose Big Dippers, the first in France, formed the main attraction. Sold in about 1820, these lands were divided into small hotels with gardens that attracted the quite wealthy romantic youth of the day. The painter Ary Scheffer settled here in the newly built rue Chaptal and arranged around his little hotel a workroom and winter garden with a stone fountain. A historical painter and a gifted portraitist, Scheffer welcomed here the whole artistic and literary world of his time: Chopin and George Sand, his neighbors from the square d'Orléans, Franz Liszt and Pauline Viardot, Lamennais and the historian Augustin Thierry. Thierry brought here Ernest Renan, who would marry Cornélie Scheffer, the niece of the master of the house. Given to the City of Paris by the Renan family, this site dedicated to the artistic and literary world of the years 1820 to 1860 became the Museum of Romantic Life.'

The Museum of Romantic Life.

Bust of Ernest Renan, by Léopold Bernhard Bernstamm.

Mme Ernest Renan, born Cornélie Schaffer, by Ary Schaffer, 1837.

Cornélia Marjolin-Scheffer, by her father Ary Scheffer, 1857.

Balzac and statue, 8th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #39

Hôtel Balzac (formerly rue Fortunée where Balzac's last home was) is on the street of the same name.

And it's just on the corner of rue Lord Byron.

Balzac's statue stands on place Georges-Guillaumin by the junction of the avenue de Friedland with rue Balzac . It was erected in 1902, and built first by Alexandre Falguière, then finished by Paul Dubois.

Place des Vosges, 4th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #38

Victor Hugo moved into the second floor of the Hôtel Rohan-Guéménée, 6 Place des Vosges, with his wife and four children in 1833. This was to be his longest stay in one place, and he left in 1848.

And I think they tend to over-emphasize the point, but:

'VICTOR HUGO
HABITA DANS CET HÔTEL
DE 1833 À 1848'

There's a great deal of information about Louise Michel in the museum, such as a booklet in the anteroom that reproduces a verse from Hugo's poem 'Vito Major', written after the fall of the Commune, in which he praises her hatred for inhumanity and her care for children, seeing a great tenderness beneath her anger:

'Ta bonté, ta fierté de femme populaire,
L'âpre attendrissement qui dort sous ta colère,
Ton long regard de haine à tous les inhumains,
Et les pieds des enfants réchauffés dans tes mains.'

The letters between them were many. The anarchist and the republican evidently had their differences, but they both believed in justice, equality, freedom for children and women, and a free and non-religious education system.

Two examples of Michel's novels are shown in the museum, La Misère (1882) and Les Mépriseés, both of which were co-written with Victoire Marguerite Tinayre (1831—95), writing as 'Jean Guêtré'. Tinayre led free schools in the Second Empire and took part in the Commune when she was the school inspector for the 12th arrondissement. La Misère was a popular success, and concerns the question of prostitution, a theme also taken up in Les Mépriseés, which was heavily influenced by Hugo's Les Misérables.
Madame Paul Mauride by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. Mauride was a republican who visited Michel in her prison in Versailles.

The marble bust of Hugo is by David d'Angers (alias Jean-Pierre David), and was made in 1938. The two had met in 1927, and Hugo dedicated two poems to him.
During Hugo's exile in Guernsey, his mistress Juliette Drouet lived in La Farrue, a house close to Hugo's family, for seven years before moving to rue de Hauteville in 1864, the very place where Hugo had spent his first year in exile. It was called Hauteville Fairy, and Hugo took care of the décor.

These two photos show a reconstruction of Drouet's Salon chinois at Guernsey, which was installed here for the inugural ceremony of the museum in 1903. It is, entirely, a work of Hugo's imagination.

A reconstruction of Hugo's salon, rue de Clichy.

Next door, there's a plaque to remind that Théophile Gautier once lived there:
'LE POÈTE
THÉOPHILE GAUTIER
A VÉCU DANS CETTE MAISON
DE 1828 À 1834'

A little further along is another plaque, telling of the birth of Madame de Sévigné:
'DANS CET HÔTEL
EST NÉE
LE 6 FÉVRIER 1626
MARIE DE RABUTIN CHANTAL
MARQUISE DE SÉVIGNÉ'

Beyond the Place des Vosges, at 62 rue St-Antoine, is L'Hôtel de Sully. Here in 1725, when Voltaire was dining, a servant entered to tell him that someone wanted to see him outside. It was Guy-Auguste de Rohan-Chabot, who had insulted Voltaire for not using his real name, Jean François-Marie Arouet. Rohan-Chabot's servants beat him up with sticks. Voltaire never got his revenge.


Today, the hôtel is home to the national archives.

Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor, 1st/7th arrondissements, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #37

The original name for this bridge was Pont de Solferino.

However, on the centenary of the birth of the Senegalese poet, who was the president of Senegal for twenty years, it was renamed the Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor.


A curious thing about the bridge is the custom of lovers leaving locks there with their names, and there must be several hundreds of these locks along the bridge.


But this is not a new phenomenon and exists in several other countries. Love padlocks, or love locks can, for example, be found on the Ponte Milvio in Rome, a custom which is attributed to Federico Moccia's book Ho volgia di te (I Want You), which was later turned into a movie.

Most of them are written on with highlighter.

Many are presumably been there a long time from the rust on them.

And some couples make the effort to have them engraved.

Returning to Senghor, to the south-east of Paris, at St-Maur-Des-Fossés in Val-de-Marne, is Avenue Léopold Sédar Senghor, where there is even a quotation:

'J'AI RÊVÉ D'UN MONDE DE SOLEIL
DANS LA FRATERNITÉ DE MES FRÈRES
AU YEUX BLEUES
LÉOPOLD SÉDAR SENGHOR
ÉCRIVAIN ET HOMME POLITIQUE
SÉNÉGALAIS 1906—2001'

23 November 2011

Arthur Rimbaud and the Vilains bonhommes, 6th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #36

At the corner of the rue Bonaparte and the rue du Vieux Colombier the literary group 'Vilains bonshommes' met on the first floor of what was then the Denogeant restaurant. These were such people as Paul Verlaine, Elzear Bonnier, Léon Valade, Émile Blémont, Jean Aicard, Ernest d'Hervilly, and Camille Pelletier, and it was here that 1871 Arthur Rimbaud read 'Le Bateau ivre' for the first time, or 'launched' it is without doubt a better expression.

In June 2010 a plaque was erected here by the Association des Amis d'Arthur Rimbaud:
 
'Ici
en 1871
le poéte
ARTHUR RIMBAUD
a lancé
le BATEAU IVRE
Les ami de RIMBAUD
16 juin 2010'

Les Deux Magots, St Germain des Près, 6th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #35

'"Histoire de Paris

Les Deux Magots

Ouvert en 1813, "Les Deux Magots" a connu très tôt les faveurs du monde littéraire : à l'origine magasin de nouveautés, l'un des premiers à Paris, il est cité par Balzac et Anatole France. Un café lui succède en 1881, bientôt fréquenté par Verlaine, Mallarmé et Wilde. En 1914, l'établissement prend l'aspect qu'on lui connaît aujourd'hui, et devient l'un des rendez-vous de l'élite intellectuelle. Les surréalistes en font leur quartier général : Jean Giraudoux, Paul Morand et Jacques Chardonne s'y croisent, ainsi que Joyce et Hemingway. En 1933, quelques habitués, dont Bataille, Leiris et Philippon, fondent le Prix des Deux Magots, pour la première fois décerné à Raymond Queneau. Les intellectuels d'avant guerre, les plus grands noms des Lettres, des Arts et du Spectacle fréquentent ses célèbres terraces : Camus, Genet, Giacometti sont présents, Jean-Paul Sartre et Simone de Beauvoir s'y installent chaque jour pour écrire.'

'"History of Paris

Les Deux Magots

Opening in 1813, "Les Deux Magots" experienced the favors of the literary world from very early on : originally a novelty shop — one of the first in Paris — it is mentioned by Balzac and Anatole France. A café followed it in 1881, soon to be patronized by Verlaine, Mallarmé and Wilde. In 1914 it took on the appearance that we know today, and became one of the meeting places of the intellectual élite. The surrealists made it their general quarters : Jean Giraudoux, Paul Morand and Jacques Chardonne crossed paths here, as well as Joyce and Hemingway. In 1933 some regulars, such as Bataille, Leiris and Philippon, established the Prix des Deux Magots, which went in the first year to Raymond Queneau. The pre-war intellectuals, the greatest names in letters, arts and spectacle : Camus, Genet, Giacometti were here, and Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir sat down here every day to write.'

22 November 2011

Rabelais at Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, Val-de-Marne (94), France: Literary Île-de-France #34

The so-called 'Tour Rabelais' ('Rabelais's Tower') in Parc de l'Abbaye in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés was built between 1358 and 1360 as an important fortification point of the abbey during the Hundred Years' War (`1337—1453).

Rabelais (1483(?)—1553) was the private secretary of Cardinal Jean du Bellay, the first dean of the secularized St-Maur-des-Fossés abbey in 1533. He was one of the canons and stayed here in 1536, 1537, and 1550, finishing writing his Quart Livre (Fourth Book here. He would have stayed in one of the abbey lodges and the castle built pour the cardinal by Philibert Delorme, but not in this tower.

The Rodin Museum / Le Musée Rodin, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France: Literary Île-de-France #33

The Rodin Museum was established in 1916 after three donations by Auguste Rodin (1840—1917) to the French state of his works, collections, library, letters, and manuscripts. It is where the former hôtel Biron was, which Rodin had rented from 1908.

A plaque stating that (the poet) Rainer-Maria Rilke lived there from 1908-1911.

The museum gardens have a number sculptures relating to literature. This in bronze (1902—04) is The Three Shadows (Les Trois Ombres), and is a representation from Dante's The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia), with its warning: 'Abandon hope all you who enter here'. The three figures are identical, and Rodin gives them back the hands missing from them at the top of his work The Door to Hell (La Porte de'L'enfer) (1880—1917).

Rodin worked on La Porte de l'Enfer for many years, drawing on the figures (over 200) here for the rest of his working life.

He died before seeing the full masterpiece put together in cast iron.

The Victor Hugo monument.

A detail of the monument to Hugo.

In a gallery of marble exhibits there are several representations of Hugo.

There is also a bust of George Bernard Shaw, made in 1906.

On the other side of the hotel is the statue of Balzac.
Finally, it would probably be a mistake to exclude Le Penseur (The Thinker).