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Travel: Paris, Pigalle Nov 1st/2019

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Place : Paris - Pigalle

Date: - Friday Nov. 1st /2019

The continuous drizzly annoying weather, not conducive for strolling in the outdoors parks, combined with our interest to visit the hotel/home/museum of the French painters Ary Scheffer and Gustave Moreau directed us to the Pigalle

At the foothill of the Monmarte and close by the religious somber du Sacre Coeur presence, Place Pigalle -square and its surrounding, is true to its reputation. Here is where the lively action is really happening, and where the tourists flock into, for having a "good time in town" at night.

It is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714–1785)

The square and the streets around it, are where, at the end of the 19c a community of painters' studios and literary cafés (most renowned was the de la Nouvelle Athènes - New Athens), was most striving, and for which few songs were dedicated ("Place Pigalle" song written by Alex Alstone and Maurice Chevalier)

It was at de la Nouvelle Athènes café were the impressionist Matisse, Van Gogh, and Degas had met. During the 1940s, the café was known as the "Sphynx", a striptease club frequented first by the French Nazis, and later by the French Resistance liberators.

The name - Nouvelle Athènes- was also given to the 9th district's neighborhood developed since 1820, for the rising professional classes of the new industrialist era, and where many neo-classical houses of writers, painters, musicians, and politicians were situated, like those of: Berlioz, Chopin, George Sand, Jean Cocteau, Delacroix and Guillaume Apollinaire.

Toulouse-Lautrec's studio was here. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Renan scheffer, Gustave Moreau, and Maurice Neumont also once lived here as did Andre Breton, and in 1928 Josephine Baker who opened her first nightclub next door to Breton's apartment.

A former red-light district, and once a home to sex shops, cabarets and hostess clubs, Pigalle has undergone a transformation over the past few years, becoming one of the trendiest spots in the city.

Yet, some neon signs, reminiscent of the area’s raunchy past, still flicker there. And of course the "Moulin Rouge" night club is the monopolizing entertainment symbol of the past, still alive and kicking its Can-Can steps.

Now a days, Hipsters are attracted to the area's hip boutiques

traditional bistros, and noisy cocktail bars, as well as to the theater row on Rue Blanch, which was once was an old road from about 1670 leading from the periphery villages to the quarries of the Montmarte.

The National School for Art Techniques and Theater - ENSATTL'École nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre

and "Theatre de Paris" - dates back to the end of the 18thc

As well as "International Visual Theater" - on the close by Chaptal st

is devoted to sign language.

Further down away from the square on Rue Chaptal is:

Painting of Ari Scheffer of him home

Hidden away from the street, the charming romantic house, built in 1830 in the recently then urbanized Athens area in Pigalle, is where the Dutch-French painter Ary Scheffer (1795-1858) once lived, and where now, the "Musée de la Vie Romantique" - (the Romantic life) is housed.

The house remained with the descendants of Ary sceffer and Ernest Renan (1823-1892) families until 1983 when it became the city of Paris museum

Ernest Renan was an expert of Semitic languages and civilizations (philology), philosopher, biblical scholar and critic, and historian of religion, who developed political theories, especially concerning nationalism and national identity

Renan is credited as being among the first scholars to advance the now-discredited Khazar theory, which held that Ashkenazi Jews were descendants of the Khazars, Turkic peoples who had adopted Jewish religion and migrated to Western Europe.

Ary Scheffer is known mostly for his painting works based on literature, of Dante, Goethe, and Lord Byron, as well as on religious subjects. An accomplished portrait painter (500) of famous and influential people (composers Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, the Marquis de la Fayette, Charles Dickens, and Queen Marie Amélie) afforded him to live a life of luxury for many years, also due to the strong ties, he had to King Louis Philippe I. Sceffer was employed as a teacher of the king's children.

The artist started exhibiting at the "Salon de Paris" in 1812.

He began to be recognized in 1817, and kept lifelong contact with George Sand, whose granddaughter contributed her grandmother's jewelry and memorabilia to the state, now on display at the museum .

Portrait of George Sand

The Scheffer-Renan Connection

Ary Scheffer's illegitimate daughter , Cornélia Marjolin-Scheffer. purchased her father's rented property after the death and lived there until her death in 1899. She bequeathed the home and part of its collections to her young cousin, Noémie Renan, the daughter of Ernest Renan and Cornélie Scheffer-Renan..

In 1956 Naomi Renan's daughter sold the estate to the State for a symbolic amount so that it could be used as a cultural establishment, and in 1987 it became a museum.

Scheffer illegitimate daughter - Cornelia

The ground floor of the museum is devoted to George Sand: portraits, furniture, and jewellery from the 18th and 19th c. On the first floor, Ary Scheffer's paintings are surrounded by contemporary works.

A quint seasonal tearoom operates from the garden's small menagerie

Musée national Gustave Moreau- 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld,

Unfortunately the Gustav Moroue museum

so recommended by few of my Travel Log's follower has been closed since mid Oct until the end of Dec , so we missed a visit there.

Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826–1898) dweled originally in this most impressive house, and upon his request, it was transformed in 1895 into a studio and museum of his work with his apartment remaining on the first floor. Today the museum contains Moreau's drawings, paintings, watercolors, and sculptures.

Hotel de Mademoiselle Duchesnois et Mars - 3 rue de la Tour-des-Dames

Just around the corner from Moroue's museum, there is a beautiful house, which once belonged to Josephine Duchesnois

(1777–1835) a classical actress who performed at Comedei Franceise.

She was also one of Napoleon's mistresses.

The house is now an affordable Youth hostel for young travelers.

We noticed that the hotel's entrance was one of the few, which had Halloween decorations.

Hostel Entrance

The celebration and decoration of this Holiday in Franc is very subdued. in comparison to the big hupla in the US.

To be Continued...


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