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Paris Rhetoric Culture

Paris offers a huge Cultural, Intellectual and Artistic choice so rich that it entails its
own contradictions and rhetoric.
We will focus on the values which have made of Paris the Cultural centre of Europe
and ,at the same time, the most inclined to live in its past. Participants will be
presented with the Historical and controversial backgrounds of the five
archaeological and cultural areas mentioned below.

Le MARAIS : The Old and the Modern
The old Paris where the nobles and Bourgeois of France resided and had their
Private Hotel-residence. Ex . Hotel du vieux Saule , le musée Carnavalet, Musée
Underneath the basement of Marais lies the old prison of La Bastille liberated on
14th July 1789.In 1983 upon decision of Mitterrand and his architect Carlos OTT, a
modern opera de la Bastille has sprung out of its basement to produce the most
famous opera of AIDA, NORMAN.
Peter Brook characterised it as a place where all the cultures become universal for
at least a few moments.
Within few meters away, president Pompidou ordered the construction of the famous
centre Beaubourg based on an open architecture.

Place des Vosges :

A confrontation of ‘Les Miserables’ and the Royal Splendour
Henri IV made of this place the Place Royale with houses mounted on the
arcades, 9 houses on each side. Louis XIII extended this place and his prime
Minister Richelieu lived at No 21 from 1615 to 1627.
In 1800 , Napoleon renamed it Place des Vosges in gratitude to the people of
Vosges who paid their taxes.
Victor Hugo moved to Hotel Rohan-Guéménée(1832-1848) and admitted to
Académie Française in 1841.
Victor Hugo wrote : The controversial HERNANI 1830, rather the famous Bataille
d’HERNANI, where the two lovers poisoned one another.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame 1831 with Quasimodo the bellringer of the Towers of
Notre Dame. It was V. Hugo’s campaign to restore the towers falling into ruins.
Les Miserables 1862. He treated Social injustice by depicting a Jean Valjean
committing minor crimes to save innocent people.
Revolutionary in 1848 to overthrow the Monarchy , he was elected member of the
Constitutional and legislative assembly .,V.Hugo promoted the abolition of death
penalty. When Power was seized by Napoleon III in 1851, V.Hugo flew to Jersey
and Guernsey to return in 1876.
Died in 1885 , he was given national funeral and buried in the Pantheon, later
transferred under the Triumph arch.

ILE DE LA CITE: A Roman legacy of 1st Century BC
Made of small streets and the Eight Bridges leading to it.

Notre Dame de Paris : Built on the ruins of an old Basilica , it started in 1200 and
lasted over the 13th century. Of gothic Style , it is worthwhile to walk up the
twisted Gargoyles to the towering bells. Just opposite is the Palais de Justice
formerly seat of the government in the 13th century hosting the Sainte Chapelle
of Saint Louis, it turned to be a prison during the revolution. Louis XVI , Marie
Antoinette and revolutionaries were kept prisoners.

Latin quarter: Latin privileged over French

Use of latin in the middle ages gave it the name of Latin Quarter.
A roman designed area with Aqueducts , Theatres, Thermal baths and main roads.
Musée Cluny is still the ruins of a thermal Bath.
Its international fame came from Robert de Sorbon who built the first school for the
It encloses an old Church of St Germain and the oldest Café Procop (1686) where
revolutionaries met.
Painter Eugene Delacroix had his workshop at the famous Place Furstenberg
surrounded by Henri IV’s architecture.

Opera Garnier: Crime and Chastisement
1858 Napoleon III on his way to Opera Le Peletier escaped an attempt where 80
people were Killed. He ordered immediately the construction of a new opera for more
Splendour and security; Lakes and water sources found on excavation delayed the
project and inspired Gaston Leroux ‘Phantom of Opera’

Place Colette: Fall and Rise of Colette

The Area which surrounds Place Colette is the centre of all the artistic development
of Paris and depicts the classical of the 17th -18th century.

The place is named after Sidonie Gabrielle Colette the famous Moulin Rouge
Pantomime raising scandals by her relationship with Marquise De Belbeuf.
She suffered the rejection of the Church. However, grown to be a famous author with
Le Blé en Herbe , she was accorded state funeral upon her death in 1954.

Comédie Française :The Volte-face of Louis XIV

On Colette’s place stands the famous Comédie Française started under Louis XIV in
1680 upon the death of Molière in 1673. The plays depicted the two visions of
French monarchy. Molière who made a sarcasm of the formal Institutions and
Corneille who claimed rigors;

The Palais Royal :From Opera to Debauchery

The palais de Rambouillet was acquired by Cardinal Richeleieu , Louis XIII prime
Minister. He made it a theatre forum for Molière and Corneille and an Opera house
for JB Lully. In 1636 , it was offered to Louis XIII by Richelieu , who converted it into

the Palais Royal, later to become an area of shops and debauchery in the 1790’s
under Philippe Egalité a descendant of Louis XIV’s Brother.

Cour du Louvre : President Mitterrand ‘s Pharaonic dream
Louvre , a 12th century Fortress to be converted into the king’s palace in the 16th.
Louis XIV and Anne d’Autriche lived there before settling at the above Palais Royal.
In 1793 it was made a public museum to host the oldest collection of Egypto-Greco-
Roman sculptures, later the Renaissance paintings up to modern times.

However, in 1983 President Mitterrand entrusted to the Sino-American architect Ieoh

Mong Pei to impose a glass replica of the Egyptian Pyramids of Keops and Kephren
as the hall of entry.

The Emperor dreamed of a Triumphant Route, The President of a Perspective

The 1808 Carrousel Arch , copied from the Constantine Arch of Rome , was
designed to inscribe the victories and treaties of emperor Napoleon.
From underneath the Carrousel Arch , Napoleon wanted to see in a straight line the
Obelisk of Concorde and the1836 Triumph Arch at the end of Champs Elysées.

Mitterrand wanted to extend this perspective to be beyond the Triumph Arch, so he

built in a straight line the Grande Arche de la Défense.

Place De la Concorde: Execution of Crowned heads and Republican’s festivity

Called place de la Révolution , however a place for the execution of more 2000
people including French revolutionary Robespierre, and crowned heads Louis XVI,
Under the July 1830 Monarchy , it became Place de la Concorde celebrating festival
of Music on 22nd June each year.
A place which is now mounted with the Egyptian Culture of the Obelisk from Luxor
overlooking the Napoleon’s Triumph Arch and Mitterrand’s Arch Northwards, the
Napoleon’s Carrousel triumph Arch Southwards, the People’s National Assembly
Westwards and the Napoleon’s temple of Glory Magdalena Eastwards.

1900 Universal Exhibition :
Clash between the Classical Art School and the outburst of Impressionism
The Grand Palais and the Petit Palais were especially built for the 1900 Universal
Exhibition to better depict Paris as the Artistic centre of Europe as opposed to the
one held in UK previously .Entrance to the Palais was commanded by the famous
Alexander Bridge built to commemorate the visit of Nicholas II in remembrance of
his father the Tsar Alexander III.
However the impressionists (Césanne, Pisarro, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet ,
Berthe Morisot ) ,not being recognised at the state-sponsored Annual exhibition of
the Salon , broke away to hold their own exhibition in a photographer’s studio and
created the first school of thought ‘The Impressionism’. Instead of the Classical fine
arts drawn from Greek and Roman traditions , the impressionists felt like painting the

trees violet , the woman’s torso a mass of decomposing flesh , the sky of fresh
butter colour.

Napoleon’s Tomb , Dome des Invalides : A Pyrrhus’ Victory

‘I thought of the orphans and widows he hade made ; of the tears that had been
shed for his glory and of the only woman who had ever loved him pushed from his
heart by the cold hand of ambition’ quote Robert Ingersoll.

Nevertheless ,Napoleon’s Body or Bones returned from Saint Helena 1840 to rest at
the Invalides. His tomb was completed in 1861 and his body transferred to the
present tomb.

Rodin’s Dilemma :Wife Rose Beuret and Muse Camille Claude

The greatest Sculptor of the 19th century was torn between his love for Rose Beuret
who gave him a son and a newly born baby and future Muse of Rodin Camille
What a Maestro! To have given to the world the THINKER (1882) , to the town
council of Calais THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS (1885) , and to the Universal
exhibition the KISS(1889). Now all these are housed at Rodin Museum , the ex-
Hotel Biron.
Historians may question whether the THINKER was destined to his wife Rose Beuret
It now commands their tomb at Meudon or whether the KISS was in memory of
Camille Claude who went mad in an asylum until death.

Parvis de Trocadero: The 1789 Human Rights were baffled.
The 1889-90 Eiffel tower is the summit of French architecture overlooking the Parvis.
France reminds us that she wrote Human rights ‘all men were born free and equal
in rights’. However , on the same Parvis, lies the Anthropology Museum where the
black Venus Hottentot was exhibited alive for public curiosity.

Liberty Statue :Away from France , Away from Liberty island , N.Y.
Over Pont Grenelle stands a replica of the Statue of Liberty offered by Auguste
Bartholdi and Eiffel to the Americans on 4 th July 1884 in remembrance of
independence day 4th July 1776. Installed on Ellis island , not on the neighbouring
Liberty island , French people do travel to visit the original whilst American visitors in
Paris can enjoy at the same time the Eiffel tower and the Replicata ?.

France: Cross road of two Oriental cultures : The Asian and the Arabo -Muslim
France situates herself as the cross road of the two vast cultures likely to pervade
or invade the world over next 20 years .

Musée Guimet is the Asian Museum in the world . Collections from ex-French
dominions are exhibited. The sleeping beauty of Buddha from China, Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos , the protruding belly of God Ganesha from India ,the dancing
fury of God Shiva from India , all these impregnate the visitors of a timeless world .
Institut du Monde Arabe is a permanent show of Arabo-muslim cultures from the
origins of Mesopotamia to the geo configuration of the Arabo-turco world.
The Mosquée situated next door is an invitation to refresh oneself with a cup of Mint