Maison de Verre, courtyard of 31 rue Saint-Guillaume
Pierre Chareau, 1931
The happiest surprise of the thirties in Paris, tucked away in a courtyard near Saint-Germain, barking like an indomitable terrier at the much larger stuccoed backsides which butt in on every side. Just what it says; a complete glass front, iron-framed, with a few clear panes and the rest made up with squares like bottle-ends. An epigram anyway, and beautifully maintained in a way that doubles the effect: see, this man was mad enough to build it and we are mad enough to keep it up. It represents ‘the modern movement’ – the witty and sardonic reversal of established values -better than any of Corb’s villas.
What is the best area to stay in paris? Institut de France Le Vau, 1663-8
The academy of academies11 lives in a surprisingly rough building. It represents the exact point at which classical detail began to be mobilized to serve an autocratic purpose and, compared with the disastrous smoothness of the next century, it is refreshingly forthright. The end pavilions go bump on the ground, the central pediment goes thump, the dome squats down behind – and all in consort, recognizably parts of the same building, and one which would fit equally well into London or Amsterdam The academy had roots in earth after all.
Best Area To Stay In Paris Photo Gallery
(Directly across the Seine from the Louvre.) Pont des Arts L. A. de Cessart, 1801-3
This is the funny metal footbridge that runs from the Louvre to the Institut de France and like so many ordinary objects in Paris it is elevated by sheer atmosphere into being one of the most precious bridges in the world. The whole of this stretch of the Seine has the fairies on it. But it also has a very peculiar property: there are eight openwork arches resting on seven tall stone piers. The ironwork is spindly and complex, combining diagonal ties with a central boss above the apex of the arch. As you walk along the quay you see each arch at a different angle and apparently with a completely different system of construction: it seems impossible to correlate the sparseness of the first bay, seen in elevation, with the criss-cross intricacy at the other end. The sequence has the same serial precision and detachment as Monet’s observations of Rouen Cathedral in the Jeu de Paume, a mile away – or of Simenon, patiently stalking human frailty in a hundred novels.
Where To Stay in Paris Tabac des Beaux Arts
On the quai Malaquais, opposite the Ecole des Beaux Arts with its strange courtyard (14 rue Bonaparte) embroidered with architectural fragments from Anet and Gaillon. So it is full of art students, yet without being either arty or undergraduate. The place is buzzing with life but allows you to be quiet if you want. It sells everything from postage stamps to steak frites. For a summary of the reasons why Paris is such a splendid and liberating city it would be hard to beat; you feel here that being an intellectual can be something honourable and enjoyable.
Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin, west front
Original design by Pierre Bullet, 1682.
Faqade finished 1769
The ordinary made special, like the occasional plain Georgian house where everything has gone exactly right. From the moment it gives you a nod at the end of its short street up from the boulevard Saint-Germain, you feel overpoweringly drawn to it. There is nothing remarkable at all: a classical Jesuit front, one-above-three like hundreds of others, provided with a tiny semicircular space in front that has now put on an endearingly fussy 1900 dress. But it is outstandingly appropriate: it had to be in just that position and of just that shape.