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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors bits and pieces of Paris

Some other doors that took my fancy

Now a historic hotel. I think Boutet made guns.
Obviously down to earth British designers in Paris
Unfortunate angle on this photo
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Le Marais

The old Jewish quarter is achingly hip nowadays. Jim Morrison was living there when he died. The shopping is fantastic, the markets full of the freshest and most expensive fruit and vegetables, the restaurants catering to all tastes.

Solid doors.
Tall doors
Plain doors
Grey doors
Scarlet doors
National Archives
Purple doors
Woodend doors with metal strips, in the Places des Voges
Sully Hotel gardens with impressive door
Close up
One of the wider streets in the Marais
Paris is for lovers, whatever their ages
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thurday Doors Grands Boulevards

Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann cleared the slums of central Paris to lay out a grand design of long wide avenues in the mid 19th Century. Napoleon III had returned from exile in London in 1848 and was disgusted by the filthy, overcrowded centre of Paris. So he appointed the Baron to renovate the city, with modern sewerage (les egouts), clean air and plenty of light. The plans incorporated new railway termini, an opera house and street lighting so that flaneurs and prostitutes could walk the streets in the evening in comparative safety. The wide pavements allowed restaurants to place tables outside on the street, for drinking and dining en plein air. The plan included parks, clean water supplied by reservoirs; 100 miles of boulevards constructed over 17 years, costing the modern equivalent of US$ 75,000,000,000.

One district escaped from his plans – Le Marais, (marsh) a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood which is now gentrified. See next week’s Doors.

Etoile, the star, with the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees.
Dior, being renovated. There were queues outside Louis Vuitton, too.
Rather grand
The Town Hall, Hotel de Ville
The doors of the Spice Union… “all for one and one for all” reminds me of the Three Musketeers.
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors view of a Flaneur

A flaneur, is a boulevardier, someone who enjoys strolling round town. We walked for miles around Paris, observing the different localities, some posh, some down at heel. And I photographed some doors.

Robert Zimmerman and a zebra either side of an exploding door, at the art & technical school
And the next door along…
What a pretty door
How very French. The French Federation of the Aperatif. A little something to get your gastric juices flowing before a meal.
Very smart wooden doors, with polished brassware, under a fancy ironwork Juliet balcony.

Posh number 72.
Engineers and firemen work here. The doors seem very narrow to allow a modern fire engine to exit.
Number 74 needs a bit of tender loving care.
Le pet shop beside the Parc Canin. La Laisse means the leash.
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in the Graveyard

Walking down the hill from Montmartre, I passed the cemetery. Most graves have narrow plots with a stone pillbox containing the family ashes.

They all have DOORS.

Doors of tombs at a cemetery.
I am not sure how the Migeons are related to the Viellards, perhaps they are higher up the social scale. This doesn’t really matter when you are dead.

The most famous and largest graveyard in Paris is Pere Lachaise. It covers 110 acres of a hilltop in north-east Paris. For fans of “Emily in Paris”, there is a scene in which Luc takes Emily there, to show her the tomb of Honore de Balzac. It took us ages to find it. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors and member of the 27 club (rock stars who died aged 27), is interred in the cemetery, as is Edith Piaf, Chopin, Proust, Sarah Bernhardt, Moliere, etc.

Gates of Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Napoleon declared the cemetery open in 1804, saying that any citizen had the right to be buried there, regardless of religion or race. It now holds the remains of over a million dead. After the Paris Commune was overthrown, 147 communards were lined up against a wall in the cemetery and shot.

Outside the cemetery, there is a monument to Parisians who died fighting in World War One, with thousands of names written on metal plaques.

Rossini’s corpse was exhumed from Pere Lachaise and taken to the Basilica Santa Croce in Florence
Another sepulchre in Pere Lachaise.
Rather ironic – “mure” means mature in French, together with the Grave family.

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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Villa Leandre

Just off Avenue Junot, there is a tiny cul-de-sac called Villa Leandre. It features a dozen charming houses off a cobbled street.

Spot the cat
On Number 4, the glass door has a wrought iron windmill design. There is also a windmill over the mailbox. Windmills were used to crush the grapes making wine. The plant at side of the door looks like an old wisteria.
More cats, in the net curtains
Charles Leandre was a painter and humorous caricaturist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The plaque outside number 10 claims that this is Downing Street. Very drole.
Around the corner from Villa Leandre, some fine wrought ironwork on glass doors.
Another example.
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Monmartre

The white dome of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is perched on the top a hill in the northern 18th arrondissement of Paris, Montmartre. Unless you are are hemmed in by the narrow streets of Paris, you can usually spot its gleaming white dome. Montmartre is also renowned for its nightlife in Pigalle. In 1860, the village of Montmartre was swallowed up as the city of Paris expanded. But you can still find vineyards and windmills (not just the Moulin Rouge) there.

Erik Satie’s front door for 8 years. The museum in Honfleur, Normandy, is well worth a visit.
Art Deco doors
Pretty blue door of Number 2
You can squeeze into a Citroen Deux Chevaux at the top of Montmartre for a guided tour around the district. I used to have one of these, 20 years ago. It was painted Lavender Blue, so we called it “Dilly Dilly”. A wheel bearing went and the subframe was held together by rust, so I sold it to a dealer instead of keeping it for posterity.
What a pleasant glass porch on Number 9
“French doors” behind a romantic balcony, covered in creeper.
Splendid wooden door on Avenue Junot, behind which General Jean-Andoche Junot, the Duke of Abrantes lived during the Napoleonic Wars. He was Napoleon’s aide-de-camp but following a serious head injury in Italy, his character and personality changed. He fought at Austerlitz, Borodino (invasion of Russia) and the Peninsular War, when he captured Lisbon. He was defeated by the Duke of Wellington and fled to France in disgrace. It is thought that he committed suicide by slashing at his injured leg which became infected and he died of blood poisoning.
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Paris Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Gay Paree

Ah, Paris in the spring! What could be more romantic? It seems like aeons since we last travelled overseas, so les portes de Paris beckoned and I snapped away.

The Public Baths in the 4th Arrondissement (opposite the Pompidou Centre). Boring new doors without much character – the originals must have been splendid
From the ridiculous to the sublime. The western door to the Bourse (Stock Exchange)
You can’t see the door because of the creeper, but the facade is beautiful, fin de siecle, neo classical architecture, Place Saint Georges
Of course, Paris would not be Paris without excellent small restaurants, “Joy for Food” on the Rue Truffaut
And a set of doors from the Louvre, with the I M Pei pyramid reflected in the glass
The doors are wide open at the Florida Bar, by Les Halles and St Eustace’s church. I suppose the doors are always wide open at this bar, not just as a precaution against coronavirus.
Presto Fresco is an Italian restaurant, with kitschy and homestyle decor, but I could only get the top of the doors in the picture because of the street market stall in front.
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Gilmorton

Gilmorton is an ancient village in South Leicestershire with a population of about a thousand souls. When William the Conqueror commissioned the Domesday Book in 1086, the village had just 140 inhabitants. The name means “Golden Town on the Moor”. Now, the nearest moor is at Bradgate, 20 miles to the north. The fields around the village are as flat as a pancake.

We went for a walk with some friends from the village and I noticed the plethora of little people, gnomes.

This is the strange gateway to the churchyard. Look for the gnomes at the very top of the pyramid
Magnified magnificent gnomes
Here is a gnome on top of a Royal Mail pillar box. He is even wearing a Royal Mail hat.
This green door has a fancy portico, upon which there are some gnomes on display. And another on the window sill.
A closer view
Spot the gnome

Apparently there is an activity called “gnoming”, where gnomes are stolen/ taken from their gardens and photographs of their adventures are sent back to their owners. Occasionally, this makes the national news, especially when the prodigal gnome returns home (“Gnome at Last”).

In France, there is an organisation called the Front de Liberation des Naines de Jardin (Garden Gnome Liberation Front). Activists kidnap gnomes and release them into the wild or even more bizarrely, hang them from a bridge in a mass suicide pact.*

In the 2001 film “Amelie” (starring Audrey Tatou), her father is bereaved and to cheer him up, she gives one of his garden gnomes to a friend who is an air stewardess. She sends him photographs of his gnome in exotic locations which he has never been able to visit.

Wikipedia says the practice began in the 1970s when Henry Sunderland took two of his own garden gnomes, Harry and Charlie, to Antarctica where he photographed them in the snow.

Enough of gnomes, more doors:

White House Farm (1801) used to be one of the half dozen active farms in the village. Only two remain.
This is Gilmorton Farmhouse, rather splendid with white pillars and iron arrow fencing
Naturally, farms have farmyards, accessed by wide white gates.
The Old Homestead

Finally, I thought that the brick lettering above this shop was more interesting that the door beneath it.

Clayton Willey Grocer – who needs a sign writer when you have brick art like this?

Merry Christmas to you all!

*Talking of mass suicide pacts, those of you with a Netflix subscription can check out the True Crimes series of the Burari Hangings – gruesome, but just a few miles from where I worked at the Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic in North Delhi four years ago. Well worth a watch.

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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors – Angel Finale

To end this series of doors in Islington, I present the spectacular folding doors of the Fire Brigade.