Thursday, October 20, 2011

of doors and george

Dear Reader,

The Reporter went rusticating, more on that in a later post. but before, the Reporter with her all enthusiasm for education,
went out to discover what is a most essential aspect of Paris : les portes cocheres, which translated could become the carriage entrance.

In the golden old days, when there were real and fake aristocrats, the wonderful architectural taste of the french, helped by a strong sense of the golden number, did elevate wonderful town houses which would sit between a yard where the coach could trot in and a garden destined to soothe the senses of this nobility. The yard was separated from the vulgarities of the street by a tall wall and a porte cochere. So in Paris today, we can still see those awesome portes cocheres under which the coach would noisily trot to drop a handsome lover or a lady of high or low nobility and mores.

So here, boys and girls, a little review of diverse styles.

First, a door, probably late 1700, of medium nobility, perhaps the door to the home of a Royal Accountant, or to a small chevalier, [ knight]

THis one of the same discreet style lets you see some small garden through,

We then tackle a beautiful blue, called duck blue, bleu canard, this is an old one, probably around 1750,

then we move forward, to Napoleon, so early 1800's, quite impressive though, classical dark green

we retreat to 18th century, a bit stark, but beautiful,

Much smaller, not a porte cochere per se, as no carriage could come through, this is a Directoire entrance, so right before Bonaparte becomes Napoleon, very typical of that empire style, small door, elegant, discreet,

we move forward again, to Napoleon III, this is now 1860, the beginning of the infamous bourgeoisie, and the pompous style
of that napoleon, nothing to compare with the first one. Tries to copy the 18th century, but it smells all fake, and ugly straight knobs,

We move back to Directoire, another charming one, with mail still in the door,

Hah, one of the loveliest town houses in the Faubourg St Germain, the Hotel de Chanaleilles, lovely simple door, classical,
a bit rundown if you want my opinion, but then, that is the grand old style of aristocracy, nothing showy,
and really, Chanaleilles, what an exquisite name,

We move sadly forward to Napoleon the third again, a small etriquee boring door with the ugly door knobs,

We move back to a beautiful faded red one, pure 17th, Louis XIV, probably 1684, beautiful, see the sculpture above it,

We are now in the 20th century, mid twenties, a non descript iron thing, but the following pic is the service door, and that one is pretty adorable,

Let's move back to 18th, and a breath of beauty,

And here one of the most beautiful 18th century in the whole of Paris, and that exquisite blue..

Moving to Napoleon,

a grey, 19th centrury,

moving terribly forward a little thirties, Picasso door,

and another 18th blue,


and then last but not least, a porte derobee, or in so many words, a stolen door, but not really stolen, meaning simply a discreet door which "steals " you from the public eye, that's where the cook's lover would sneak himself into the house,

So the Reporter was pretty tired after all this exploration of her portes cocheres, so to rest and delight herself, she went to have dinner with A. her long time friend, the most exquisite minded, funny, witty, elegant man in Paris. You could call that evening, my dinner with Andre, but we shall still call him A. and it fits him to a T.
So the Reporter went to meet him at le George, a restaurant on top of the Pompidou Center,

where you can see all of Paris at night, and the twinkling Eiffel but the Reporter didn't care as she was all looking and listening to A., her Alsacian friend she adores, hadn't seen for a long time, and who is the kindest of all. Then they left George, and before parting, they walked bras d'ssus, bras d'ssous, which means arms above, arms under, their delicate feet twisting on the cobbled esplanade of the Pompidou, sniffing the night parisian air and thinking life pretty sweet between the rain drops,

With love from the cobbled streets,
the Frog

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