Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Institut de France

All this talk lately of new words being added to the English Dictionary (the verb unfriend via facebook?) reminded me of the Academie Francaise which has been in charge of the official French dictionary since being founded by Cardinal Richelieu in 1635. The 5 acadamies of the Institut de France (of which the Academie Francaise is the most famous) have been headquartered since 1805 in an amazing Baroque Palace from 1688 which dominates the skyline of St. Germaine along the Seine. It was originally built as the College of four Nations (a college meant for only 60 young noblemen from 4 acquired provinces) with money bequeathed to Louis XIV by Cardinal-Minister Mazarin.In the above photos, you see the front facade which faces the Seine. The amazing dome or cupola and public square were designed by the architect Louis Le Vau to relate with and complement the Louvre directly across the river.The rear portion is not as imposing but no less grand. These small streets curve around it and are full of lots of treasures to discover: parks, restaurants & charming shops.We always knew we were close to the hotel (and a Laduree snack break!) when we saw the beautiful dome.In these close up shots, you can see a building that is designed in a most refined manner and wears its' age and the building techniques of the 17th century well. The rear of the building is quite plain with the fine carving being reserved for the front facade (detail seen below).We had a direct view of this dome from our hotel room, 2 blocks away, and it was an amazing site to wake up to every morning....And watch during the sunset in the evening. Yet another reason St. Germaine was my favorite neighborhood!


Greet said...

These are just stunning pictures! Saint Germain is one of my favorite quartiers of Paris! Thank you for your wonderful pictures!

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I have always loved that building.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Greet, thanks so much :-) Always hard to take a bad picture of a beautiful place!
AAL, I can see why -it was my favorite building in Paris. On my next trip I plan on staying in that same hotel just for the view (and location)

Merilin said...

HI! :) I was looking on you blog if there was written somewhere your email address and I couldn't find it. I wanted to ask few things from You personally, if you don't mind, is it possible to have your email?
Thank you and best wishes,

ArchitectDesign™ said...


Michael Mattison said...

This write-up is definitely Paris-for-connoisseurs; excellent choice of subjects, Stefan.
Always a pleasure checking in to your blog here.
à bientôt!