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What is hidden behind the Saint-Germain Church?

2012-03-06

titul.jpgThe rule that does noe have any exception in Paris – when you start to stroll outside the main tourist points, you will never regret and you will have a feeling that some tiny street, obscure coffee place, windows of design shops or galleries, or a small square will belong for a while just to you. Walk along the Saint-Germain church by the street „rue de l’Abbaye“ to the street Fürtstenberg, which will lead you after several steps to the square „La Place de Fürtstenberg.“ The square is actually a street, the central part of which is widened, it is not really a square in the strict sense of meaning. Together with the square Place Dauphine on Ile de la Cité, it is often said to be one of the most romantic and charming squares of Paris. Its charm comes from the elegance of regular shapes of old buildings, „chic“ windows of the upholster shops, ramified branches of high trees in its central part. You get the strongest impression from the square after the sunset, when the five globes old lamps are lighted.

At the end of the XVIIth century this place was a front-courtyard of the Abbe2.jpgy palace, the remnants of which still can be seen at the beginning of the street. On the ground-floor of the buildings there were barns for carriages and horses and on the floors lived the servants, what explains the fact that the architecture of buildings is not of a very high quality. Although a big explosion in 1794 destroyed most of the abbey buildings, what we can find here today is still worth several minutes walk from the Saint-Germain church.

Another reason to come to see this square is the Museum of Eugène Delacroix. Parisian house with a charming garden carries also a history message. The painter lived here from 1857 till his death in 1863. In the private garden Delacroix created a workshop, room which is part of the museum visit.

The well-known 19th century painter moved to the apartment on the Fürtstenberg square from the street Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, with the aim to get closer to the Saint-Sulpice church, in which he had an order to paint the chapel „Chapelles des Saints-Anges“. The painter was already seriously ill and since he wanted to finish the painting of the chapel, he got closer to the church so that his way to work is as short as possible. In the painter’s room the visitors can see the portrait of his preceptress Jenny Le Guillou, who was with him at the moment of his death. 
 
The museum website tells a story, anecdote from 1845 of the writer George Sand, who was a witness of the painter’s first attempts: "I saw how Delacroix tried for the fir1.jpgst time to paint flowers. He studied botanics in his childhood, and since he had an incredible memory, he still remembered a lot (…). I surprised him excited in trance above a yellow lily, when he understood its beautiful architecture."
 
Till March 19th there is a temporary exhibition „Fantin-Latour, Manet, Baudelaire: Homage to Delacroix“. Museum is open daily from 9h30 till 5 p.m., except Tuesdays. Phone number for the group visit reservations: 01.40.20.58.32. Metro stop: Line 4 Saint-Germain-des-Près
 
Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep