Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 14, Part 10 - Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, Rue Monge, Paris

The cafe Le Cardinal at 5 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. I didn't realize this part of the city was so complex or interesting until I got home and started trying to organize a few photos from these two streets. Then I got out the maps, started checking Google Earth and Panoramio, the guidebooks, and various web sites. It's like an onion with a lot of layers. In hindsight, I'd be more than happy to go back and take a few more photos :) The top one is just a nice cafe at the corner of Rue du Cardinal Lemoine and the Boulevard Saint Germain. I'm sure that it, too, has hundreds of years of history, but I didn't even try to research it.

This picture is most amazing for what I left out. I can't believe I did this. I didn't notice the famous cabaret on the left, and homed right in on the plaque, which says that this building used to be part of the College du Cardinal Lemoine. Now click here to see what's on the left. Was it closed up or something? And since we were walking near the wall, maybe I missed the huge marquee overhanging the sidewalk. ????? One web site says, "The Paradis Latin, built by Gustave Eiffel, is a national landmark and the most Parisian of the great cabarets." On the other side of the door is one of the oar-shaped plaques that talks about the history of the neighborhood, the Bievre River, and pieces of the ancient wall of Philippe-Auguste that show up in various parts of Paris, including here - sometimes hidden inside of buildings.

I don't know what the building is in the picture above, but I liked it enough to take a photo. It's located at about 32 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine. It's the only one in the neighborhood that's set back from the street, giving it a more aristocratic or diplomatic air, but I haven't found out what it is - probably just some rich person's home.

At the intersection of Rue du Cardinal Lemoine and Rue Monge was the doorway above. Now a suite of doctors' offices, it had been the home of Andre-Marie Ampere from 1818 until he died in 1836. (See the plaque below.) Wikipedia says Ampere "was a French physicist and mathematician who is generally credited as one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism." The word ampere, or amp comes from his name. This part of town is deep in the heart of the science quarter and very close to the Sorbonne and connected buildings. In fact, I'm not sure where the Sorbonne ends and other science academies begin. We're still in the Latin Quarter, which was named for the Latin-speaking students of earlier years.

The photo above is the boulangerie, or bakery, on the corner of Rue Monge and Cardinal Lemoine. Below is a better picture of the bakery itself. There are five streets that make up this intersection, and two of them come together in such a way as to leave only a narrow space for the end of the building. Rue des Boulangers (Street of the Bakers), goes off to the left (below).

Now we're standing in front of the bakery, and looking down Rue Monge approximately back toward the river. The trees are at the edge of the Square Paul Langevin, and the brown building just before the trees is the end of the very famous Ecole Polytechnique, the Polytechnic School, ranked among the most prestigious engineering schools in the world. Thanks to Napoleon, students also had to take a year of military training and wore elaborate uniforms in public parades. Apparently the exam to get in was quite gruelling. The school existed in this building from 1794 until 1976, when it moved to the southern part of Paris. Here is a view on Flickr from an earlier date. Nice photo. Rue Monge was named after Gaspard Monge, who helped found the school and taught descriptive geometry there. His varied career included expeditions for Napoleon in Italy, Syria, and Egypt.

This building is 46 Rue des Boulangers, still at the same intersection. I may have taken the picture because I was looking for a building where there had been a house shared by the Pleaide poets Ronsard and de Baif, and where Rabelais was a frequent visitor. This is what was in my notes. But notice there's a paddle-shaped plaque in the center of the photo? It talks about the lightning rod invented by Benjamin Franklin and about a writer named Sebastien Mercier who saw one here in 1782 and thought that such a large apparatus was an unusual site in the capital city.

Here's a nice blue doorway on Rue Monge just past the location of the lightning rod.

And a shop window, also on Rue Monge. With all of the classy preserves and wines they are selling, much of the window is take up by a Coke ad. It says something like, "Show that you have good taste with lunch." Coke, huh? I thought this was Paris, where classy food is inbred. But we have infiltrated.

And here. As if the sign on the window for "soupe a l'oignon maison and escargots bourgogne" is not enough, I guess we must be told in English that they serve French food.

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