Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The King's House. The Queen's House.

Henry IV built this little pad for he and his wife in 1605. 405 years ago. That just blows my mind. Place des Vosges, in the heart of the Marais, reminded me of Plaza Mayor in Madrid (but without all the tapas bars!). It's filled with cafes, art galleries, boutiques, and offices of architects. With it's peaceful park in the center, the huge statue of Louis XIII, fountains, sandboxes, and trees in bloom, it's hard to imagine that this once was the sight of jousting matches.

Victor Hugo lived in one of the "townhouses" and wrote "Les Miserables" while here.

I love history.

Two little asides: I was treated to an impromptu gymnastic show during lunch. And Rue St. Antoine and Rue Faubourg St. Antoine are not the same street. Just a reminder for the future.

Photos 1 and 2: Place des Vosges stables from Hotel Sully courtyard (Hotel just means really big house in French, by the way).
Phote 3: The Queen's House. If you look very closely, you can see the fleur de lys at the top, indicating a Royal Residence, so there.
Photo 4: Townhouses surrounding Le Residence Royale.
Photo 5: The Queen's House, again.
Photo 6: Louis XIII (the son of Henry IV).
Photo 7: More townhouses.
Photo 8: Ceiling detail.
Photo 9: The King's House.

It's funny, you're walking down the street (Rue St. Antoine, not the Faubourg one), past stores, cafes, tabacs, a McDonald's, turn the corner, and Hello! The King's house is right there. I just love the mushing together of the old and the new here. The appreciation for history and what was built before. Granted, it's a heck of a lot more pleasant to look at than the typical strip-mall. Maybe if we could have played in the sandbox in the Queen's backyard...

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