VOL. 16 NO. 2
Now in our 16th year. . .
|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter|
|GUIMARD'S MÉTRO LEGACY . . .|
IN THIS ISSUE:
Ici et Là
Do You Dream
About Living in Paris?
Dog Trots Globe
The Pays de la Loire
The Magic of Joan of Arc
"Outside of Paris, there is no hope for the cultured."
Molière: Jean-Baptiste Poquelin - 1622-1673
Ups, Downs, Outs & Ins of Hector Guimard's Paris Métro Entrances
Many (perhaps most) visitors to Paris are intrigued by the Art Nouveau street-level Métro entrances that abound in the French capital. Like their design, their century-old history has known many a twist and turn. Here we will recall some of that history's main episodes.
Some Ups - Selection circa 1900 of Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard's swirly Art Nouveau design for the street-level entrances to stations of the brand new Paris Métro (subway) brought a lilting departure from the very staid Haussmannian architectural style then dominating the French capital. Despite criticism, there was international acclaim from avant garde creators and fans. Here, for example, is the Porte Dauphine kiosk in Paris.
. . .and Some Downs - By the middle of the 20th century, Art Nouveau's swirls were definitely 'out', and a number of Guimard's Métro entrances were destroyed. The Etoile Station was demolished in 1962 and the Bastille Station as late as 1969. A bit earlier, when after World War II Guimard’s American wife Adeline returned to France offering to donate his archives, she couldn't find a taker!
Outs - Yet foreign appreciation had not waned very much and led the Museum of Modern Art, for example, in New York City - where Guimard died in 1942 - to acquire part of the dismantled Raspail Station as early as 1958. It is visible there today with a broader array of Guimard’s creations (a letter opener, a door handle, an armchair, etc.)
A similar acquisition was made in 1960 by Munich's Staatliches Museum für Angewandte Kunst (State Museum for Applied Art). Later, in 1967, Montreal's Subway built a replica, with the help of Paris Métro spare part stocks used to repair the still-existing entrances in that city.
. . .and some Ins - Foreign admiration of Guimard's handiwork probably contributed to turning the tide in France itself, and seven of his Métro entrances were listed as historical monuments in 1965. The remaining 79 became similarly recognized, and protected, in 1978. In recent years, the turned tide has overflowed in the form of gifts from France of Guimard Métro entrance replicas to subway systems abroad (most recently in 2007 to Moscow for its Kievskaya Station) in cities such as Lisbon, Montréal, Chicago and Mexico City.
[Mouse over photos for descriptions and credits.]
inside. . . with a click
> to find out how to have your very own upscale Paris apartment at a fraction of what you'd expect to pay.
> to see Paris and Provence from a Sheltie's viewpoint; you'll want to read our review of Dog Trots Globe!
> because if Provence is your destination in July, you may want to catch the 52nd annual Jazz Festival in Antibes / Juan les Pins.
> to see the special offers from Rail Europe when traveling within France or to and from Paris by train. If you've never seen France from your seat on a TGV, this may be the perfect time to do so.
> to travel with us to the Pays de la Loire of northwest France and visit five delightful châteaus where you could be a guest.
> for more news from Marlane O'Neill as she tells us about all the newcomers and other changes taking place near her home in this issue's Notes from Narbonne.
ENIGMAS . . . A Quiz on Your
Knowledge of Historic Paris
by Arthur Gillette
Question from the last issue: When the Paris Métro began at the end of the 19th century, the private company in charge decided that the entrances should have distinctive street-level architecture and organized a project competition. The commission went to Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard, and many of his entrances are still there for us to enjoy today. Guimard, however, had not entered the competition. How then did he get the job?
Answer: An official version has been that the competition jury rejected all submissions and decided to invite Guimard to make a proposal. What that explanation forgets is that Guimard had already done the decoration of the country home of the Métro company's CEO who was very pleased by the result. Might there have been a little nudge there?
Our new question: What did 'The Marriage of Figaro' have to do with the American Revolution?
Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
[See the answer
to this edition's question revealed in our Summer 2012 issue.]
SPONSORING THIS ISSUE
to Provence? Don't miss a visit to Saignon - a stunning hilltop
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