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Parisian school in an aristocratic mansion

2013-11-09

clichy-1.jpgA public primary school in the street rue de Clichy, number 10 in the north of Paris is a normal school as many others, with 12 classes from the CP (first grade) to CM2 (5th grade). However it has a special feature, it is located in the premises of an aristocratic Wendel mansion built in the years 1856-1864.

Children do not realize the romance of spending their breaks in the yard with a restaured historical fountain, close to the impressive St Trinity church, or rushing with their school bags on the wounding stairs with a decorated metal stair rail, opening the windows and doors with old fashiclichy-2.jpgoned handles. However, many teachers would welcome to have the staffroom with an antique fireplace, goldened decorations on the ceiling and marbre statues.

After passing under the 5 metres high gate which in the 19th century enabled to horses with carriages to get to the yard, you will find yourself in the covered gallery with snow white walls, high arcs with decorative stone fresco paintings with the loose tiny pine wood paving tiles joyfully dansing under your steps.

Fasade of the building is decorated with a big "W" letter, the initial of the name "Wendel". Wendel was the original owner of the building, a representative of one of the most renown industrial dynasties in France, known by their steal industry. The initials of the Wendel family can be seen also in the school yard, on the left in the brick part there used to be the stables for horses and domestic animals. On the entrance gate your hand is attracted by a big goldened doorknocker with a lion head. A rich furniture was a noble addition to this aristocratic building, together with a lclichy-3.jpgot of art works, especially paintings of French, Flamish and Dutch school from 17th and 18th century.

In the 20th century a private mansion behind the St Trinity church looses its glory, in 1985 the premises were used by an insurance company.

Couple years ago the city of Paris bought the Wendel mansion for 11 million euro and to the price of the present architectonic treasure we have to add 12 million euro that were necessary for reconstruction works which lasted 16 months. The site is easily accessible also to physically handicapped pupils or visitors. On weekends, in the evenings and during school vacation the school premises of the mansion change their face and go back to their glorious past. The school lends the premises for various concerts, conferences, workshops or cocktails.

M.D.D., Paristep