13 October 2013

Paris walls and illusions

It's really cold this morning — 3ºC (the 30s F). These colds we've got are ticking along. Walt just told me that the weather is supposed to warm up again this coming week, but it's also supposed to rain for three days.

I'm still enjoying looking back at photos I took in July in Paris, and dreaming about the nice hot weather we had then. The sun was magnificent, and skies were blue. We really needed that two-month break in the weather.

What's behind these shuttered windows at the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan?

I'm posting two photos of walls in Paris. The first is one wall or "wing" of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in the Marais. The building is named after our town of Saint-Aignan because not many years after it was built in the 1600s, it was bought by the Duc de Beauvilliers. His main residence was the Château de Saint-Aignan, just down the road from our house, and he had this pied-à-terre in Paris.

An architectural "veneer" stuck onto an old wall.

When you look into the courtyard, you have the impression that you are seeing a building with three sections — a main section at the back, plus left and right wings. In fact, the building has only one wing off the main section. On the left, windows and shutters were built up against an old wall that had enclosed the city of Paris in an earlier era. There's nothing but an old wall behind the windows. It's an illusion. You can tell when you notice the more modern buildings sticking up into the air above the courtyard.

Finally, here's a photo of a massive wall near the Place de la République. I think if the wall were blank it would be oppressive. Somebody else must have thought so too, because it has been painted. I wonder what it's like to live in one of the apartments in the building on the right. How much of the paining can people on those balconies really see?


  1. That would have been a nice pad to be had in Paris at that time . Even today, a couple of rooms would be a extraordinary pied-à-terre.
    Hope your cold is getting better - here we are above the mid-teens this morning and the sun is trying to come out. First year, since I landed in Montréal some decades ago, that I am wearing short-sleeves and sandals during the Thanksgiving WE

  2. Wow!
    And-- double WoW that your temps are so cold. Yikes.
    Stay warm and kick those colds.

  3. Interesting that someone should live mainly in the Loire and have a maison secondaire in Paris, albeit a few hundred years ago.
    If only...............

  4. Hi Beaver, what a strange weather year we've been having. Thank goodness we had hot sunny weather in July and August, because we'd all be pretty depressed here if the winter and spring rains had continued through the whole summer. The rains are back, it seems, with flood warnings in upper Normandy and along the Channel coast towards the Belgian border.

    Judy, we're doing our best and I'm feeling better. Walt isn't up yet. I hope he finally got a good night's sleep.

    Jean, the Duc de Beauvilliers was a close adviser to Louis XIV, so I guess he needed a place in Paris. He found an interesting one, I think.

  5. Looks like those apartments are facing the wrong way for much of a view.


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