15 July 2015

Around Saint-Sulpice

I'm not sure how interesting to how many people these photos will be, but they mean a lot to me. I worked at the Alliance Française in the 6ème arrondissement of Paris for two years starting in 1980. The Alliance is a big language school for foreigners who want to learn French.

The Alliance "campus" is on the Boulevard Raspail, sort of halfway between the enormous Eglise Saint-Sulpice and the even more imposing Tour Montparnasse. I didn't live in the neighborhood but I certainly spent a lot of time in it. My job was (officially if not really) part-time and I made enough money to spend some in cafés and restaurants. I had a lot of French friends and also a lot of American friends, including Walt.

When I was in Paris about six weeks ago, I took a sentimental walk around Saint-Sulpice. I was taking photos with a new camera, and the area seemed like a good place to try it out. The weather was beautiful.

I took some photos inside the church, but it was fairly dark in there and most of the photos weren't that good. Above and below are three of the better ones, I think. There's always something to take pictures of in an old church.

The Eglise Saint-Sulpice took several centuries to build — it was finished in 1870 but then was damaged during the Franco-Prussian War. The façade was recently cleaned, and it looks better than ever. The two towers are different, and the north tower is taller.


  1. Oooh, ooooh, love Saint-Sulpice and that whole area :) Good memories :)

  2. I've never seen the Alliance before, but have been in the neighborhood several times.

  3. Blue sky in Paris? Awesome!

    1. You wouldn't believe the summer we are having. Remember 2003? This is nicer because it's not so scalding hot. But it's nearly 90 this afternoon with perfectly blue skies. Mornings are cool, afternoons warm if not hot. Reminds me of Sunnyvale, but without the traffic.

  4. If you hadn't mentioned that the two towers are different, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Completed at different times, no doubt.

    Alliance is quite an attractive building...early 20h century? I could probably use one of their beginner courses, as I rarely have cause to speak French here, lol.

  5. St Sulpice, which has a well-known pipe organ and a distinguished roster or organists (Dupre, Roth, et al.) , also enjoyed a celebrity refresh status thanks to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Today you can see tourists from all parts of the world visit the church in the hope of finding the famous "rose line" mentioned in Brown's novel. Good luck.

  6. Personally, I like to "walk" with you wherever you go.

  7. It brings back more recent memories to me of Alliance Française as I took about 6 months of classes there a few years ago. I too find that neighborhood so interesting and alive.


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