Friday, April 20, 2012

R = Rue de Rivoli - A to Z Challenge

The Paris Metro sign. . .

Art Nouveau Paris Metro sign, rue de Rivoli, by DG Hudson

Rue de Rivoli

It's one of the most famous streets in Paris, a pleasant commercial street whose shops include the most fashionable names in the business.  The length runs through the 4th and the 1st arrondissements.  This street bears the name of one of Napoleon's battles, Rivoli, 1797.

Napoleon and the rue de Rivoli

Napoleon I decided to build a street from the Place de la Concorde along the Tuileries and the Louvre, across the Place de la Bastille (a wasteland after the 1789 Revolution), all the way to the Faubourg Saint Antoine.  For the first time, a handsome, regular, wide street would face the north wing of the old Louvre Palace.  The architecture was to be symmetrical, sober, and incorporate pedestrian-friendly passages and arcades that would eventually extend for almost a mile.

The long line of massive buildings that make up the northern side of the rue de Rivoli, with their covered and columned arcades, are a result of Paris' reconstruction in the early 1840s. These buildings now house the quarter's most tourist-oriented shops, boutiques and night-clubs. This walkway can get crowded, so keep valuables close and out-of-sight.

North of the rue de Rivoli, at the point where the Grands Boulevards crossed an enormous new square, the Opera Garnier was built. Behind the opera house today, you can find the largest department stores, the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.


 On Marais market day. . .

Marais Street Market on the rue de Rivoli, by DG Hudson

Our rented apartment in the Marais was right on the rue de Rivoli, four flights up, with the bedroom facing a quiet courtyard.  I won't forget the sounds of the city - the traffic, the motorcycles, the polite but persistent honking - that drifted up to our 1800s style windows.  Every morning, I opened those large windows so I could hear the hum  of Paris.

Further along the rue de Rivoli, there's the Hotel de Ville (Paris City Hall), the Louvre Museum, and beyond that, the Tuileries gardens.  The BHV (Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville), is a large French department store where we shopped a few times.  East along the rue de Rivoli, at the Place des Pyramides, is the gilded statue of Jean d’Arc (Joan of Arc) situated close to where she was wounded. See J = Jean d'Arc

Add cafes and sidewalk food carts in strategic places to the above and you'll have a good image of this historical street.


A former palace, the Louvre. . .

The Louvre North Wing faces the rue de Rivoli, by Green Eye


On the rue de Rivoli. . .the Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville in the Evening, Paris, by DG Hudson

DG's Theme:  Paris, Etc.  (Art, Film, Places, and People)

Have you heard of the rue de Rivoli?  Did you know Napoleon was responsible for having it built?  Please share any comments.