Buildings and Landmarks

Three Paris Gardens in the late 1700 and early 1800s

Paris has always been a city of many types of public recreations. Among these recreational places were three Paris gardens in the late 1700 and early 1800s that were more popular than others. These gardens — Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries), the Garden of the Plants (Jardin des Plantes), and the Garden at the Palais-Royal…

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Mid-nineteenth Century Jardin des Plantes

The mid-nineteenth century Jardin des Plantes or the Jardin des Plantes de Paris was France’s main botanical garden. It was founded in 1626 and originally known as the Jardin du Roi. However, in 1635, Louis XIII’s physician, Guy de La Brosse, planted medicinal herbs in it, and it opened to the public in 1640.

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The Asylum Pitié-Salpêtrière in the Georgian Era

On the eve of the French Revolution, what had originally been a gunpowder factory and arsenal became the largest hospital and asylum in Europe. It was called Pitié-Salpêtrière. Professor of History Mark Micale noted that “this remarkable hybrid institution housed for over two centuries every imaginable form of social and medical ‘misfit’ from the lowliest…

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Thirteen Well-known People Buried at Montparnasse Cemetery in the 1800s

Because of health concerns, cemeteries were banned inside Paris beginning in 1786 when the Cimetière des Innocents closed. In the early nineteenth century, new cemeteries began to open and replace the closed ones. Among the new cemeteries were Montmarte Cemetery in the north, Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east, and  Montparnasse Cemetery in the south.…

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Le Chat Noir or The Black Cat Cabaret of Victorian Times

Le Chat Noir or The Black Cat was the first cabaret in the modern sense and was established by an unsuccessful painter named Louis Rodolphe Salis. Salis’s father was a wine merchant in Chatellerault and wanted his son to be a tradesman. As Salis was unsuccessful in his chosen career, he began thinking about the…

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Parc-aux-Cerfs and Tales of Louis XV’s Harem

Fifteen-year-old King Louis XV married a pious woman by the name of Marie Leszczyńska in September 1725. She was the daughter of the deposed King of Poland and 21 at the time. After their marriage, similar to most French kings, Louis XV took several mistresses. Among the most famous of all his mistresses, was his…

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France’s Perfume Center: The History of Grasse or the Scented Slut

France is famous for its perfume. One area in France that became a prospering perfume area was picturesque Grasse, located in the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera. However, before Grasse perfume became famous, Grasse was famous for its leather and tanneries. Leather gloves produced there had bad odors, so a tanner named Galimard came…

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Places of the French Revolution: Place Louis XV

Among the places of the French Revolution was the Place Louis XV (later called the Place de la Concorde). It was located between the Palais des Tuileries and the Champs Élysées. The square, which was originally a spot where market-gardeners grew cabbage and lettuce, was established and named in honor of King Louis XV. Ange-Jacques…

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Places of the French Revolution: Hôtel de Ville

Administration for the city of Paris has been located in the same spot — the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, formerly called the Place de Grève — since July of 1357. At that time, Paris’s provost of merchants (essentially mayor), Étienne Marcel, bought the maison aux piliers (House of Pillars) in the name of the…

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