Posted in Architecture, Around Town

Architectural Tour of Paris: Centre Pompidou

 Fun Fact: When I was in Paris during my HS French trip (too many moons ago) I saw Michelle Lee (of Knots Landing fame) in front of the Centre Pompidou. That has always stuck with me, and is probably dating myself if you know how long ago that show was popular. Somewhere, buried deep in a box in my parents attic is the photo of her I took.

The thing that fascinated me about the Centre Pompidou when I saw it was the bright colors and how weird it was to have the air ducts, elevators, escalators, and pipe systems outside. Turns out… it was an architectural choice when it opened in 1977:   Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, and enabled them to create huge uncluttered space inside. You can see why it’s nickname is the “Inside-Out Building”.

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Four strong colours – blue, red, yellow and green – clothe the structure and enliven the façade, their use governed by a code laid down by the architects:

  • blue for circulating air (air conditioning)
  • yellow for circulating electricity
  • green for circulating water
  • red for circulating people (escalators and lifts)[1]

To find out more, see information pack on the architecture of the building.

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Place Georges Pompidou – 75004 Paris
Le Marais – 4e Arrondissement

If you go visit, you should find something else to do on Tuesdays, and May 1st, because Centre Pompidou is closed.

Fun Fact #2: The Place Georges Pompidou in front of the museum is noted for the presence of street performers, such as mimes and jugglers.

Did You Know? 

  • It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building.
  • A fifth floor room of the building featured as the office of Holly Goodhead in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker, which in the film was scripted as being part of the space station of the villainous Hugo Drax. 

[1] https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en/The-Centre-Pompidou/The-Building
Featured Image by © INSADCO Photography / Alamy
Posted in Architecture, Around Town

Architectural Tour of Paris: Carousel in Montmartre

One of the oldest Carousels in Paris is located on the tiny Place St.-Pierre in Montmartre, in the 18th arrondissement on the Rive Droite (Right Bank), near the Eiffel Tower.

When I was in high school, I went on a class trip to France and Switzerland (and drove through the Italian border on the bus so we could say we were in Italy).  I remember vividly the tour of Sacré-Coeur and sitting on the steps of the Basilique. We also rode the Carousel at the foot of Sacré-Coeur.  Imagine my surprise today when I came across this photo of the Carousel in the winter, with snow falling from Pinterest, it transported me right back to Paris, exploring.

Somehow, the snow in the image just makes it so much more magical, and intensifies the beauty. Hard to believe that Paris can be more magical,  but to me, it just is.

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I went searching for more photos of the Carousel, and found the stunning juxtaposition on Flickr of the carousel and Sacré-Coeur by eagle1effi that you can see in the Featured Image up top.

Untapped Cities tells us the history of the Carousel:

Carousels were born from tragedy: A jousting accident killed King Henri II, Catherine de Medici’s husband, in 1559, driving knights to practise a safer alternative to these tournaments, such as spearing suspended rings with their lances. For the birth of the Dauphin, Louis XVI held a carousel festival in 1662 in front of the Tuileries. In true Sun King fashion, it was all pomp and fanfare: 15,000 guests watched knights on their horses participate in jeu de bagues compétitions. The celebration which took three months to organise lasted only three days, but the Sun King did himself proud because the memory of this grandiose fête still lives on: the location where it was held is known today as Place du Carrousel.

Map of Montmartre:

Have you been to Paris? Did you ride the Carousel? Have you visited Sacré-Coeur and sat on the steps of the Basilique? What’s your favorite architecture in Paris?  What other architectural tours would you like me to write about? Tell me in the comments, or on Twitter @bookdoctordara.

For more about other carousels in Paris, check out Carrousels – Merry-go-rounds around Paris by Travel France Online.

Featured Image:
“Auf dem Karussell, on the Carousel: dreaming about : Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur ,”basilique du Sacré-Cœur ” , Amélie auf dem Karussell” by eagle1effi taken May 2008.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/eagle1effi/2465636575